Last updated on: 3/1/2017 | Author:

Ivan Simonovic, PhD, LLM Biography

Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“No one can blame victims and their families for wanting revenge, including through the death penalty. In their pain and loss, they are entitled to that desire. However, laws exist to prevent individuals from pursuing vengeance and their own vision of justice. If they do anyway (if, for example, a victim kills a perpetrator) then they become perpetrators and pay the price, both legally and morally. Although we may feel empathy with such a victim seeking revenge, Nietzsche’s warning—that when fighting monsters you must take care not to become one yourself—should be remembered. Killing by the state is wrong as well, potentially even worse than killing by an individual…

In my view, the death penalty is morally, socially and politically wrong. Morally, killing is wrong. Killing on behalf of a state is wrong as well. Some may believe that the death penalty is a just and moral punishment for the most serious of crimes; victims and their families are morally entitled to long for revenge. However, the social, political and economic costs of such retribution are, in my opinion, too high…

No national interest can justify human rights violations such as the death penalty or torture.”

“Introduction: An Abolitionist’s Perspective,” Moving Away from the Death Penalty,, Aug. 31, 2015

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Special Adviser, United Nations Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Oct. 2016-present
  • Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2010-2016
  • Justice Minister, Republic of Croatia, 2008-2010
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Croatia 1996-1997 and 2002-2003
  • President, United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2001-2003
  • Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Croatia, United Nations, 1997-2002
  • Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Croatia, 1992-1993 and 1994-1995
  • Visiting Scholar, Yale University, 1993-1994
  • Member, Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)
  • Member, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
  • Former Professor, University of Zagreb
  • PhD, University of Zagreb, 1990
  • LLM (Master of Laws), University of Zagreb Law School, 1984
  • MA, Public Administration and Politics, University of Zagreb (year unknown)
  • None Found