27 February : the opening day broadcasted live

Descriptions of the day’s events can be found under the timetable table.
Find information on how to get to the Congress venues on the Useful Information page.

27 February : see the timetable


10am – 1pm

European Parliament Hemicycle

Watch the Official opening ceremony in live

Or watch the Ceremony live on the European parliament website.


The Opening Ceremony of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty is dedicated to the next steps towards abolition. It is the privileged place of expression for States and intergovernmental organisations willing to testify on their international commitment and progresses in their countries regarding the struggle against the death penalty.


Opening remarks by the co-sponsors of the Congress

  • Pavel Telička, Vice-President of the European Parliament
  • Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Kingdom of Belgium
  • Pascale Baeriswyl, State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Confederation
  • Audun Halvorsen, State Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Norway


  • Introduction by the moderator: Margherita Sforza, journalist


Introduction of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty

  • Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director of ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) & Aminata Niakate, Board member of ECPM
  • Video Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
  • Artistic performance : Vanessa Place, writer and attorney, United States


Messages in support of the abolitionist struggle – Panel of representatives of international organisations and governments

  • Video message of Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General
  • Navanethem Pillay, President of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty (ICDP) and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014
  • Message from Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of la Francophonie (OIF), read by Georges Nakseu Nguefang, Director of Political Affairs and Democratic Governance of OIF
  • Keynote speaker : Aramis Ayala, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, United States
  • Artistic performance : Typh Barrow, singer, Belgium


Next commitments towards abolition

  • Thalatha Atukorale, Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms, Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  • Jean-Claude Gakosso, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Congo
  • Cheick Sako, Minister of State, Minister of Justice, Republic of Guinea
  • Bessolé René Bagoro, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion, Burkina Faso
  • Abubacarr M. Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Republic of the Gambia
  • Mohamed Aujjar, Minister of Justice, Kingdom of Morocco
  • Djimet Arabi, Minister of Justice, Republic of Chad (TBC*)


  • Keynote speaker : Ndume Olatushani, former death row prisoner, United States


  • Presentation of the World Congress’s programme : Nouzha Skalli, member of the scientific committee of the 7thWorld Congress Against the Death Penalty


  • Launch of the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty by the video message of Robert Badinter, Honorary Chair of ECPM, Former Minister of Justice who abolished the death penalty in France in 1981, French Republic

3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

European Parliament Hemicycle

Plenary session: Business and the death penalty

Or watch the video on the European parliament website 

Can business become a new ally in the abolitionist movement? To encourage this collaboration, representatives from the private sector will demonstrate the various ways in which they are committed to combating capital punishment. This plenary session will also be an opportunity to consider the inclusion of abolition on the agenda of the business and human rights movements.

MODERATOR: Maya Foa, Director, Reprieve – United Kingdom

OPENING REMARKS: Antonio Panzeri, Chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights – Italy


  • Video message : Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, Founder of Virgin Group – United Kingdom
  • Carleen Pickard, Ethical Campaigns Specialist, LUSH Cosmetics – Canada
  • Nadia Benhida, Executive Director, Zino Mar – Morocco
  • Emmanuel Oudar, CEO, Tout terrain, ECPM Board member – France
  • Sune Skadegård Thorsen, CEO, Global CSR, expert in Corporate Social Responsibility – Denmark
  • Githu Muigai, Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
  • Video message : Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, European Union


Egmont Palace

Network Evening

It was a wish expressed at the Oslo Congress: time to meet, time to network and to present your actions. So, for the first time, ECPM is offering this exceptional evening in the prestigious Galerie des glaces of the Palais d’Egmont, around a cocktail and in the presence of those who bring abolition to life all over the world. Photocall, music but also artistic exhibitions will animate this unique evening.

  • Exhibition A walk through the gallows by Arthur Judah Angel
    This artist was sentenced to death in Nigeria. During his detention in appalling conditions, he began a series of drawings illustrating his experience. Realistic and poignant, his work allows us to imagine life behind bars on Nigerian death row, where no photographer can go. It is a rich and unpublished source on the daily lives of those sentenced to death.
  • Presentation of a new painting by Ndume Olatushani
    A former death row inmate in Tennessee, this American artist was able to benefit from a program during his detention that gave him access to painting equipment. In a survival reflex, he then undertook to represent the outside world as he imagined it. For this 7th World Congress against the Death Penalty, Ndume Olatushani wanted to present a new painting.


  • “Draw me the abolition” poster exhibition
    For its 4th edition, the “Draw me the Abolition” poster competition organized by ECPM brings together drawings by young people from all over the world. Selected by an international jury, the fifty best posters will be exhibited. During the Network evening, delegates will be asked to vote for their favourite drawings. The three winners will receive the Special People’s Choice Award.


  • Who deserves to die? Sofía Moro’s exhibition
    The exhibition, presented throughout the Congress in the projection room of the Palais d’Egmont, will be accessible during the Network evening.