p. 24813. The right to life
- Rhona K. M. SmithRhona K. M. SmithProfessor of International Human Rights, Newcastle University
This chapter examines African, American, European, and international jurisprudence on the right to life. It discusses the positive obligation incumbent on States to protect life; the permissible deprivation of life (the death penalty, death caused by national security forces, and death during armed conflict); and the issue of genocide. The chapter concludes that the right to life is of paramount importance in international human rights law. International law covers not only the straightforward human rights aspects, but also extends to the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.