First Deputy Prosecutor General Yury Biryukov said that the Prosecutor General's Office would not object to the restoration of capital punishment in Russia if the State Duma (the Lower House of the Parliament) passed an appropriate law. Answering questions in the State Duma on Wednesday, Yury Biryukov said: "We shall not object, we shall act in accordance with the new law." At the same time, pointed out the first deputy prosecutor general, the personal opinion of the stuff-members of the Prosecutor General's Office concerning this problem should not interest anybody. The moratorium on capital punishment was introduced in Russia in conformity with the presidential decree of May 1996. The document was entitled: On the Stage-by-Stage Reduction of the Use of Capital Punishment in Connection with Russia's Entry into the Council of Europe. At the beginning of June 1999 the President of Russia signed a decree on pardoning the last criminal sentenced to death. On April 16, 1997, Russia signed a protocol to the European Covenant on Human Rights which provided for annulling capital punishment. Now, to be in conformity with the norms of the Council of Europe, Russia must exclude capital punishment from its national criminal legislation. In September last year members of the deputies' group under the name of People's Deputy issued an address in which they stated that "it is inexpedient to observe the moratorium on capital punishment."