It is official: George Ryan is now a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Francis A. Boyle announced “I have today filed the Nomination by fax with the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway. StopCapitalPunishment.org will now focus its efforts on promoting and lobbying on behalf of Governor Ryan to be awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize.”
Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, a member of the Campaign to nominate George H. Ryan for the Nobel Peace Prize made good on his promise by completing and filing the nomination papers recommending ex Governor Ryan of Illinois for the Nobel Peace Prize late yesterday.
Professor Boyle noted that “By exposing the inhumanity of capital punishment in the United States, George H. Ryan has, in the words of Alfred Nobel, “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.””
The reasons to which Boyle referred are well documented and many. The highlights are the moratorium on the death penalty that Ryan declared in 2000, culminating with his courageous and historic exonerations of January 10th and the commutation of all the remaining Illinois death row prisoner’s sentences on January 11th, just two days before he officially left office.
Ryan’s actions have been the subject of both praise and bitter attack. But one thing is certain; the future of the Death Penalty in the United States has been irrevocably changed. George W. Bush who presided over the execution of more people in Texas than any other Governor in history – 156 souls by actual count – was rarely or ever questioned about this in his run for the Presidency. In the aftermath of George Ryan’s groundbreaking action it is hard to imagine this ever happening again.