40 NASTY MARIAN VLĂDOIU
7. Explanations of practical interest. Euthanasia is a murder committed under an
impulse of mercy in order to end physical torments of a person suffering from an
incurable disease, and whose death is, therefore, inevitable5. It is often
distinguished between passive euthanasia or ototanasia and active euthanasia. The
first represents the withholding life-prolonging measures and resources when
death is otherwise inevitable, while the second is the direct causing - death act of
the incurable patient, with his consent, in order to avoid further suffering6.
The difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide is the way to
accomplish this act. While, in the case of euthanasia, the doctor himself administers
lethal medication to a person, in the assisted suicide, the patient is the one who
administers himself the medication recommended by the doctor.
The feature that differentiate between the assisted suicide and other medical
decisions of life termination is that, in the case of assisted suicide, the medication
recommended by the doctor is able to precipitate death and reduce suffering as
much as (eg. not applying a therapy that would extend perhaps the life of a patient
in terminal condition)7.
In relation to this issue, starting from the concept of law, some authors have
concluded that we can not speak of a right to life in this situation, but it is rather a
general obligation of all other persons not to affect an individual’s life.
In the specialized literature, the situation of euthanasia compatibility with
Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights is controversial.
Frequently, the right to decide the moment of death was linked to the right to
dignity, a concept which does not appear in the text of the European Convention,
but it has been enshrined in the latest legal instruments, as for example in the first
article of the Charter of Fundamental Right of the European Union. The respect for
human dignity should include thus the right to live with dignity and to terminate
life by your own or ask the assistance of a third party in order to do it8. In the view
of those who see euthanasia as a way of not bearing the sufferings of an incurable
disease or the technical means of life prolonging, the question can be put even in
the realm of Article 3 of the Convention, which prohibits inhuman or degrading
punishments or treatment9.
We believe, however, that the use of the term „human dignity” is a trap,
whereas precisely human dignity gives the sacred and inviolable character of the
right to life. In this context, orchestrating the death of a person is an insult to the
supreme attribute of man.
5 G. Antoniu, C. Bulai, Ghe. Chivulescu, Criminal Legal Dictionary, Scientific and encyclopedic,
Publishing House, Bucharest, 1976, p. 107.
6 Ibidem, p. 266.
7 L. Hecser, Euthanasia – Medical, Social and Legal Reflections, in „Law” („Dreptul”) no. 11/2001,
8 P. Jordan, The Human Right to die with Dignity: A policy oriented essay, HRQ, 1995.
9 M. Beatrice, Le principe de respect de la dignité humaine et la Convention européenne des droits de
l’homme, La documentation française, Paris, 1999, p. 401.