Justice
Art 2. Right to Life

Definition

1. Everyone has the right to life.
2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

Legal Explanations

1. Paragraph 1 of this Article is based on the first sentence of Article 2(1) of the ECHR, which reads as follows:

1. 'Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law …'

2. The second sentence of the provision, which referred to the death penalty, was superseded by the entry into force of Article 1 of Protocol No 6 to the ECHR, which reads as follows: 
‘The death penalty shall be abolished. No-one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed’.
Article 2(2) of the Charter is based on that provision.

3. The provisions of Article 2 of the Charter correspond to those of the above Articles of the ECHR and its Protocol. They have the same meaning and the same scope, in accordance with Article 53(3) of the Charter. Therefore, the ‘negative’ definitions appearing in the ECHR must be regarded as also forming part of the Charter:
  
a)   Article 2(2) of the ECHR:
‘Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:

  • in defence of any person from lawful violence;
  • in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
  • in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.’

b) Article 2 of the Protocol No 6 to the ECHR:
‘A State may make provision in its law for the death penalty in respect of acts committed in time of war or of imminent threat of war; such a penalty shall be applied only in the instances laid down in the law and in accordance with its provisions…’.