Marietje Schaake, on behalf of the ALDE Group – Madam President, in Iraq, the death penalty was suspended after the US-led invasion in 2003 but reintroduced in August 2004. Since then, hundreds of people have been sentenced to death and many have been executed. Bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to justice is crucial for a stable future in any country, and that includes Iraq. Politicians and former politicians should be no exception, as they bear ultimate and often direct responsibility for such violations. It is well known that the human rights violations in Iraq, under the responsibility of Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz and the like, assumed grave proportions. Fair trials and due process are indispensable in ensuring reconciliation and taking a constructive step towards a better future. The European Union is a community of values and a unique place in the world, especially when it comes to the death penalty, which we have abolished altogether. In relations with other countries, whether the United States, China, Iran or Iraq, we appeal to them not to deny people the ultimate right – the right to life – as a form of punishment. Jalal Talabani has stated that he will not sign the order for Tariq Aziz’s execution, and we welcome that sign. It should be part of a society based on the rule of law, in which the human rights of all citizens are respected, and the EU is ready to help the Iraqi Government develop in that direction and ensure the just accountability of human rights perpetrators. The stability of Iraq is fragile and may well be disturbed by state-endorsed executions. Signing and ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Protocol 13 to the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, would help to solidify Iraq’s stance against human rights violations. It would also be a welcome step towards its inclusion in the international community.