Use of capital punishment by country

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The following is a summary of the use of capital punishment by country.

Capital punishment in the world (by country not by population)[edit]

Capital punishment has been used in almost every part of the world, but in the last few decades many countries have abolished it. The use of capital punishment is usually divided into the four categories set out below. Of the 195 independent states that are UN members or have UN observer status:

  • 100 (51%) have abolished it.
  • 7 (4%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 48 (25%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed[by whom?] to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 40 (20%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.[1]

The information above is accurate as of 2014, when Lebanon and Tajikistan became de facto abolitionist countries because they had carried out no executions for ten years.

Legend
  Abolished for all crimes (100)
  Abolished for all crimes except under exceptional/special circumstances (such as crimes committed in wartime) (7)
  Abolished in practice (under a moratorium or have not used capital punishment in at least 10 years) (48)
  Retainers of the death penalty (40)
2013
The following 22 countries are believed by Amnesty International to have carried out executions in 2013: Afghanistan (2), Bangladesh (2), Botswana (1), China (+), India (1), Indonesia (5), Iran (369+), Iraq (169+), Japan (8), Kuwait (5), Malaysia (2+), Nigeria (4), North Korea (+), Palestinian Authority (3+, by the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza), Saudi Arabia (79+), Somalia (34+; 15+ by the Federal Government, and 19+ in Puntland), South Sudan (4+), Sudan (21+), Taiwan (6), USA (39), Viet Nam (7+), Yemen (13+).[2]
Execution of minors
Since 2009, Iran and Saudi Arabia have executed offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.[3]
Public execution
In 2013 public executions were carried out by the governments of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia.[2]
Extrajudicial execution
In some countries the practice of extrajudicial execution sporadically or systematically outside their own formal legal frameworks occurs. Information on this is not covered in this article.

Africa[edit]

Of the 54 independent states in Africa that are UN members:

  • 18 (33%) have abolished it.
  • 25 (46%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 11 (20%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.

The information above is accurate as of 2013, when Chad, DR Congo, and Zimbabwe all became de facto abolitionist countries because they had carried out no executions for ten years.

  • In 2011, Sudan was Africa's leading executioner. There have been recent moves toward abolitionism with six states prohibiting the death penalty in the last few years: Rwanda (2007), Burundi (2009), Togo (2009), Gabon (2010), Benin (2012), and Madagascar (2012).

Executions in Africa in 2013: Botswana (1), Nigeria (4), Somalia (34+; 15+ by the Federal Government, and 19+ in Puntland), South Sudan (4+), Sudan (21+)[2]

Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the Sort both.svg icon.

Key Country Year of last execution Executions 2013[2] Year abolished Notes
 Algeria 1993 n/a Death penalty for treason; espionage; attempts to change the regime or actions aimed at incitement; destruction of territory; sabotage to public and economic utilities; massacres and slaughters; participation in armed bands or in insurrectionary movements; counterfeiting; Terrorism; acts of torture or cruelty; kidnapping; aggravated theft, currently under a moratorium. On 20 December 2012, Algeria co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.[4]
 Angola *None since independence in 1975 1992 Abolished in 1992 by Constitution.
 Benin 1987 2012 On 6 July 2012, Benin acceded to the Second Additional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This makes Benin abolitionist because under Article 1, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Covenant, "No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed," and "Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction." (Sources: un.org, 5 July 2012)[5]
 Botswana 2013[6] 2 n/a Hanging. Death penalty for murder; treason; attempt on the life of the head of state; mutiny; desertion in the face of the enemy
 Burkina Faso 1988 n/a Death penalty for treason[7]
 Burundi 2000[8] 2009[9]
 Cameroon 1997[10] 2014 Death penalty for secession; espionage; incitement to war.[11] In February 2014, the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, commuted all persons condemned to the death penalty to life in prison. For the condemned who had originally received a death penalty, which had since been commuted to life in prison, the decree commuted their sentences to 25 years incarceration.[12]
 Cape Verde *None since independence in 1975 1981 Last execution when a colony of Portugal was 1835. Abolished in 1981 by Constitution.
 Central African Republic 1981 n/a Death penalty for treason; espionage; charlatanism; witchcraft; assassination; murder[13]
 Chad 2003[14] 2014 Death penalty abolished 2014."Le Tchad a un nouveau code péna" (in French). 15 September 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
 Comoros 1997[15] n/a
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 2003[16] n/a
 Congo 1982 n/a
 Ivory Coast *None since independence in 1960[17] 2000
 Djibouti *None since independence in 1977 1995
 Egypt 2014[18] n/a Hanging or firing squad. Death penalty for Rape, if accompanied by kidnapping of the victim; murder; treason; organized drug trafficking
 Equatorial Guinea 2010[19] n/a
 Eritrea *None since independence in 1993 n/a Last execution when part of Ethiopia was 1989.
 Ethiopia 2007[20] n/a Death penalty for murder, Treason, armed conspiracy, genocide, outrages against the constitution
 Gabon 1981[21] 2010[22] Abolition was made in February 2010, according to Hands Off Cain press release of 14 February 2011
 Gambia 2012[23] 9 n/a Death penalty for treason. Abolished 1993 but was reinstated by Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council in August 1995[17]
 Ghana 1993 n/a Death penalty for murder; treason; armed robbery[17] In 2014 it was agreed that a referendum would be held on several constitutional amendments including the abolition of capital punishment. [24]
 Guinea-Bissau 1986 1993 Abolished 1993 by constitution.
 Guinea 2001[25] n/a Death penalty for murder
 Kenya 1987 n/a Death penalty for murder, armed robbery,[26] treason. On 3 August 2009, the death sentences of all 4,000 death row inmates were commuted to life imprisonment, and government studies were ordered to determine if the death penalty has any impact on crime.
 Lesotho 1984 n/a
 Liberia 1995[17] n/a Death penalty for armed robbery, terrorism, hijacking. On 16 September 2005, Liberia acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, abolishing the death penalty, but re-introduced elements of it in July 2008.[27][28]
 Libya 2010[29] n/a Libya executed more people (18) in 2010 than any other African state. Current laws allow capital punishment for high treason; attempt to forcibly change the form of government; premeditated murder[30]
 Madagascar *None since independence in 1960 2012 On 24 September 2012, Madagascar signed the Second Additional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This will make Madagascar abolitionist (pending ratification).[31] Last execution when a colony of France was in 1958.
 Malawi 1992[32] n/a
 Mali 1980 n/a
 Mauritania 1987 n/a Death penalty for Sodomy;[33] apostasy[34] (no recorded executions).
 Mauritius 1987 1995
 Morocco 1993 n/a Death penalty for Terrorism.[26] In December 2013 a parliamentary opposition group filed a bill to abolish the death penalty in Morocco. The MP who introduced the bill said he was "optimistic" about the bill passing "in view of the current reform movement in Morocco".[35]
 Mozambique 1986 1990 Abolished November 1990 by Constitution.
 Namibia *None since independence in 1990 1990 Last execution when occupied by South Africa was in 1988. Abolished March 1990 by Constitution.
 Niger 1976 n/a
 Nigeria 2013[36] n/a Death penalty for sodomy,[37] kidnapping. Each of the 36 states has its own laws. In the north of the country, Sharia (Islamic law) is used. In Imo State, a bill that provided capital punishment for kidnapping was signed into law. Southern states of Nigeria have imposed a moratorium on the death penalty since 2004.[38]
 Rwanda 1998 2007[39] Since some of the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide fled to countries that refuse to extradite suspects to countries that use capital punishment, the Rwandan parliament voted to abolish capital punishment in 2007.
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha 2009[3] UK dependency
 São Tomé and Príncipe *None since independence in 1975 1990 Abolished September 1990 by Constitution.
 Senegal 1967 2004
 Seychelles *None since independence in 1976 1993 Abolished June 1993 by Constitution.
 Sierra Leone 1998 n/a Death penalty for treason;[40] Murder; aggravated robbery. Under the Special Court for Sierra Leone the death penalty is not a punishment for war crimes
 Somalia 2014[41] 6 n/a Hanging; Firing squad; Stoning. Somalia is the only African state that continues to carry out public executions. The Transitional Federal Government laws allowed for execution (in the limited area of the country it used to control) for murder and adultery.
 South Africa 1989 1995[42] The last execution by the South African government was on 14 November 1989. An execution occurred in the internationally unrecognised "homeland" of Venda in 1991.[10] Capital punishment was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court on 6 June 1995 in the case of S v Makwanyane and Another. In 1997 the Criminal Law Amendment Act formally removed the invalidated provisions from the statute-book, and made provision for the resentencing of prisoners previously sentenced to death.[43] On 25 May 2005 the Constitutional Court ordered that all remaining death sentences in the country be set aside and the prisoners resentenced as soon as possible.[44]
 South Sudan 2013[45] 5 n/a Death penalty for treason; insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism resulting in death; perjury in a capital case leading to wrongful execution; murder; attempted murder causing injury by a person sentenced to life for a previous murder; brigandage with murder; and drug dealing under aggravated circumstances.[46]
 Sudan 2013[6] 19 n/a Death penalty for sodomy;[47] Waging war against the state;[48] apostasy;[34] prostitution; treason; acts that may endanger the independence or unity of the state; murder; armed robbery; weapon possession and smuggling
 Swaziland 1983[49] n/a Death penalty for murder;[50] treason
 Tanzania 1994 n/a Death penalty for murder; treason
 Togo 1978[51] 2009[52]
 Tunisia 1991 n/a Death penalty for murder; violence and aggression; attacks against the external security of the state. On 6 January 2014 the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) voted for maintaining capital punishment in the upcoming constitution in Tunisia. The votes were by 135 yes against a total of 174.[53]
 Uganda 2005[54] n/a Death penalty for murder.[55] In 2009, the Supreme Court upheld a 2005 Constitutional Court ruling that although the death penalty was constitutional, its use as a mandatory punishment for certain crimes was not.[56]
 Zambia 1997 n/a Death penalty for murder; aggravated robbery; high treason. President Levy Mwanawasa stated in 2004 that "For as long as I remain President, I will not execute a death warrant."[32] (He died in office in 2008.)
 Zimbabwe 2003[57] n/a Current capital crimes are drug trafficking; treason; murder; mutiny.[58]

Americas[edit]

Of the 35 independent states in the Americas that are UN members:

  • 15 (43%) have abolished it.
  • 4 (11%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 14 (40%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 2 (6%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.

The information above is accurate as of 2013, when Cuba became a de facto abolitionist state by not having carried out an execution for ten years.

  • The United States was the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2013. The United States carries out more executions than any other liberal democracy (as defined by Freedom House) in the world. The only other country in the Americas which practices capital punishment is St. Kitts & Nevis.

Executions in the Americas in 2013: United States (39).[2]

Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the Sort both.svg icon.

Key Country Year of last execution Executions 2012[59] Year abolished Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda 1991 n/a Death penalty for murder
 Argentina 1916 2009 Constitution states "The penalty of death for political offences, all kinds of torture, and flogging, are forever abolished."[60] The Military Code of Justice (including the death penalty) was abolished on 6 August 2008 and into law six months later.[61]
 Bahamas 2000 n/a Death penalty for treason; Piracy; Murder
 Barbados 1984[10] n/a Death penalty for murder; Treason. Presently under review before the IACHR despite strong national support.[62][63]
 Belize 1985[10] n/a Death penalty for murder, except where extenuating circumstances can be proved[64]
 Bermuda 1977[10] 2000 Self-governing UK dependency
 Bolivia 1974 2007 Abolished for ordinary crimes 1997.

"The death penalty does not exist"(Article 15).

 Brazil 1876 n/a

Brazil has always maintained the death penalty as part of its military code but capital punishment for civil offenses was abolished after Brazil became a republic in 1889, then reinstated and abolished again twice (1938–53 and 1969–78).[65][66][67][68] Only one person was ever sentenced to death during the Republican period, in 1969, and the execution was not carried out. The current Constitution of Brazil (1988) expressly forbids the use of capital punishment by the civil penal justice system.[69] For more information see Capital punishment in Brazil.

 British Virgin Islands 2007[4] UK dependency
 Canada 1962 (military c.1945) 1976 Abolished in 1976 for ordinary criminal matters; abolished 1998 for military offences (last used in 1945).

For more information see Capital punishment in Canada

 Cayman Islands 2009[5] UK dependency
 Chile 1985 n/a Abolished from civil justice in 2001.
 Colombia 1909 1910 Abolished in 1910
(by Constitutional reform)

Prohibited by the Colombian Constitution of 1991: "The right to life is inviolable. There will be no death penalty."

 Costa Rica 1859[70] 1877 Abolished 1877 by Constitution.
 Cuba 2003[71] n/a Death penalty for murder, attempted murder, hijacking, acts of terrorism, treason, political offenses, child rape, molestation of a child under 12 years of age with aggravating factors, rape of an adult with aggravating factors, rape of an adult that results in death, illness or grievous bodily harm, robbery with aggravating factors, drug offenses, production of child pornography, child trafficking, child prostitution, child corruption, piracy, . Abolitionist De Facto. The last execution took place on 11 April 2003. According to the Cuban Government, Execution sentences are carried out by firing squad in local state prisons, at sunrise, usually taking place on a Friday. In 2008, all but three of the existing death sentences were commuted to prison sentences.[72]
 Dominica 1986 n/a
 Dominican Republic 1966 1966 Abolished in 1966 by Constitution.
 Ecuador 1884 1906 Abolished 1906
(by Constitution)

For more information see Capital punishment in Ecuador.

 El Salvador 1973 n/a May be imposed only in cases provided by military laws during a state of international war.[73] Abolished for other crimes 1983.
 Falkland Islands 2008[6] UK dependency
 Grenada 1978 n/a
 Guatemala 2000[74] n/a Lethal injection
 Haiti 1972 1987 Abolished 1987 by Constitution.
 Guyana 1997 n/a Death penalty for terrorist acts;[75] Murder; mass murder; rape; willful murder; treason; torture. The constitution states that it must not be a mandatory punishment.
 Honduras 1940 1956 Abolished 1956 by Constitution.
 Jamaica 1988[76] n/a Death penalty for murder[77]
 Mexico 1961 – Military
1937 – Civilian
2005 Abolished for all crimes in 2005.[78]

See Capital punishment in Mexico.

Montserrat 2010[7] UK dependency
 Nicaragua 1930 1979 Abolished 1979 by Constitution
 Panama *None since independence in 1903 1903 Abolished 1903 by Constitution.
 Paraguay 1928 1992 Abolished 1992
(by Constitution)
 Peru 1979 n/a Death penalty for treason; terrorism; espionage; genocide; mutiny; desertion in times of war.[73] Abolished for other crimes 1979.
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 2008[79] n/a Death penalty for murder
 Saint Lucia 1995 n/a Death penalty for murder; Treason
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1995 n/a Death penalty for murder; Treason
 Suriname 1982 n/a Death penalty is de facto, but not de jure, as it was abolished by signing the treaty of San Jose in 1987. Aggravated or premeditated murder; treason[80] See Capital punishment in Suriname
 Trinidad and Tobago 1999 n/a Death penalty for murder; Treason[81]
Turks and Caicos Islands 2011[8] UK dependency
 United States 2014[82] 43 varies by state Methods vary by state, federal, and military policy, but include lethal injection, hanging, firing squad, electric chair, and gas chamber. Federal law provides the death penalty for many homicide-related crimes, espionage, treason, and drug trafficking.[83][84] 32 of the 50 states currently have the death penalty. As of January 2014, bills proposing death penalty abolition are being considered by the legislatures of 4 states.[85] Of the non-state territories, American Samoa still has capital punishment as a local statute,[86] and the others have abolished it. In practice, the death penalty is used only for murder-related charges. Sentences of death may be handed down by a jury or a judge (upon a bench trial or a guilty plea). See Capital punishment in the United States.
 Uruguay 1905 1907 Abolished 1907
(by Constitution)
 Venezuela *None since independence in 1830 1863 Abolished in 1863
by Constitution

Asia-Pacific[edit]

Of the 57 independent countries in the Asia-Pacific region that are UN member or observer states: (Note - Taiwan is not recognized by the UN as a country, so it is not counted in the statistics below, although it is included for information in the Asia-Pacific table)

  • 19 (34%) have abolished it.
  • 3 (5%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 11 (19%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.
  • 24 (42%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.

The information above is accurate as of 2013, when Qatar became de facto abolitionist by not having carried out an execution for 10 years.

  • In 2011, Asia had the worlds four leading practitioners of capital punishment – China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. China continues to execute more people than the rest of the world put together.

According to Amnesty International:

Executions in Asia in 2010: China (2000+), Iran (252+), North Korea (60+), Yemen (53+), Saudi Arabia (27+), Syria (17+), Bangladesh (9+), Taiwan (4), Japan (2), Iraq (1+), Singapore (1+), Malaysia (1+), Vietnam (5+), Bahrain (1).[87]

Executions in Asia in 2011: China (2000+), Iran (360+), Saudi Arabia (82+), Iraq (68+), Yemen (41+), North Korea (30+), Bangladesh (5+), Taiwan (5), Vietnam (5+), Afghanistan (2), Malaysia (1+), Syria (1+), UAE (1).[88]

Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the Sort both.svg icon.

Key Country Year of last execution Executions 2012[59] Year abolished Notes
 Afghanistan 2013[89] 14 n/a Hanging; shooting. Current laws allow capital punishment for apostasy,[90] homosexuality, and murder.
 Armenia *None since independence in 1991 1998 Abolished in 1998 by Constitution. The last execution when Armenia was a part of the USSR was on 30 August 1991.
 Australia 1967[91] 1985 Capital punishment was abolished in Queensland in 1922, Tasmania in 1968, The Northern Territory; Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth in 1973, Victoria in 1975, South Australia in 1976, Western Australia in 1984 and New South Wales in 1985. For more information see Capital punishment in Australia.
 Azerbaijan 1993 1998
 Bahrain 2010[92] n/a Death penalty for premeditated murder; plotting to topple the regime; collaborating with a foreign hostile country; threatening the life of the Emir; defiance of military orders in time of war or martial law
 Bangladesh 2013 1 n/a Death penalty for murder;[93] drug offences;[94] sodomy, trafficking in children for immoral or illegal purposes; trafficking in women for purposes of prostitution, terrorism, rape, armed robbery, perjury causing wrongful execution, treason[95] and war crimes Death sentences are carried out by hanging.
 Bhutan 1974[32] 2004
 Brunei *None since independence in 1984 n/a Last execution when a protectorate of Britain was in 1957. Death penalty for murder; unlawful possession of firearms and explosives; possession of heroin or morphine of more than 15 grams, cocaine of more than 30 grams, cannabis of more than 500 grams, syabu or methamphetamine of more than 50 grams, or opium of more than 1.2 kg[96] A new penal code that will go into effect on 22 April 2014 is expected to introduce the death penalty for the following offenses: same-sex acts, with a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for non-Muslims; rape; adultery; sodomy; extramarital sexual relations for Muslims; insulting any verse of the Quran and Hadith; blasphemy; declaring oneself a prophet or non-Muslim; and murder. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/brunei-gay-sex-law_n_5154960.html)
 Cambodia 1989 1989 Abolished in 1989 by Constitution.
 China 2014[97] 2000+[88] n/a Shooting; Lethal injection. China carries out far more executions than all of the rest of the world combined, and is notable as the only country in the world that regularly executes thousands of people every year.[98] On 25 February 2011 China's newly revised Criminal Law reduced the number of crimes punishable by death by 13, from 68 to 55.[99] Among these are embezzlement, rape (particularly of children), fraud, bombing, people trafficking, piracy, corruption, arson, murder, poaching, endangerment of national security and terrorism[100] (see Capital punishment in the People's Republic of China).

 Hong Kong and  Macau, have separate legal systems and have abolished the death penalty. In Hong Kong it was abolished in 1993 by the then British colonial government, and last used in 1966 (see Capital punishment in Hong Kong). In Macau it was last used in the 19th century and abolished in 1976 when Portugal abolished the death penalty on all its territories (see Capital punishment in Macau).

Cook Islands *None 2007 Associated Territory of NZ; see Capital punishment in the Cook Islands
 Fiji *None since independence in 1970 n/a Last execution when a colony of Britain was in 1964. Death penalty only for crimes under the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Act. Abolished for other crimes 1979.
 Georgia 1995[101] 2006 The death penalty was abolished for most offenses in 1997, but the constitution stated that the Supreme Court had the power to impose the death penalty in exceptionally serious cases of "crimes against life". On 27 December 2006, President Mikheil Saakashvili signed into a law a new constitutional amendment totally abolishing the death penalty in all circumstances
 India 2013[102] 1 n/a Hanging. Death penalty for murder; instigating a minor's or an idiot's suicide; treason; acts of terrorism; a second conviction for drug trafficking, aircraft hijacking, aggravated robbery, treason, aggravated rape and drug smuggling under aggravated circumstances;abetting sati,mutiny and its abetting;causing explosions which can endanger life or property and a few military offences like desertion, military offences may be punished with a firing squad. For more information see Capital punishment in India
 Indonesia 2013[103] n/a Firing squad. Death penalty for murder; Drug trafficking;[32] Terrorism;[104]

Capital punishment is regulated by state Law No. 2/1964, which stipulates that death sentences should be carried out by firing squad.[105]

 Iran 2014[106] 314 n/a Firing squad; hanging; stoning. Iran is second only to China in the number of executions it carries out—regularly killing hundreds every year[98] Currently the death penalty can be given for murder; armed robbery; drug trafficking; kidnapping; rape; paedophilia; homosexuality; espionage; terrorism; apostasy (no recorded executions)
 Iraq 2014[107] 129 n/a Hanging. Death penalty for murder; endangering national security; distributing drugs; rape; attacks on transport convoys; financing and execution of terrorism.[108] Suspended in June 2003 after 2003 invasion; reinstated August 2004.[109][110] A total of 447 people were executed between then and the end of March 2013, with 129 in 2012 alone.[111]
 Israel 1962 n/a Hanging; firing squad. Death penalty for crimes against humanity,[112] high treason, genocide, and crimes against the Jewish people during wartime. Only two executions: accused traitor Meir Tobiansky (posthumously acquitted) and high-ranking Nazi Adolf Eichmann. Abolished for other crimes 1954.
 Japan 2014[113] 7 n/a Hanging. Prosecutors push for the death penalty only in the case of multiple murders, or single murder with aggravating circumstances.[114] Judges usually impose death penalty in case of multiple homicides. Between 1946 and 2003 766 people were sentenced to death, 608 of whom were executed. For 40 months from 1989 to 1993 successive ministers of justice refused to authorise executions, which amounted to an informal moratorium. (See Capital punishment in Japan)
 Jordan 2006[115] n/a Death penalty for murder[116]
 Kazakhstan 2003[117] n/a Currently capital punishment for terrorism and crimes in wartime.[118] Moratorium since 17 December 2003. Abolished on 30 July 2009 for other crimes[119] On 28 March 2011 the Presidential Commission for Human Rights in Astana asked the government to abolish capital punishment.[120]
 North Korea 2014[121] 6 n/a Firing squad. North Korea performs public executions. Current laws allow the death penalty for prostitution;[122] "drug transactions"; plots against national sovereignty; terrorism; treason against the Motherland by citizens; treason against the people; murder, rape, armed robbery & grand theft.[123]
 South Korea 1997[124] n/a Death penalty for murder.[125] There has been an unofficial moratorium on executions since President Kim Dae-jung took office in February 1998.[126] Three bills to abolish the death penalty are currently awaiting consideration by the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in South Korea's National Assembly.
 Kiribati *None since independence in 1979 1979
 Kuwait 2013[127] n/a Death penalty for drug trafficking; rape; murder
 Kyrgyzstan *None since independence in 1991 2007 Kyrgyz authorities had extended a moratorium on executions each year since 1998. Abolished by constitution in 2007[128][129]
 Laos 1989 n/a Death penalty for murder, terrorism, treason[130]
 Lebanon 2004[131] n/a Hanging; Firing squad. Death penalty for murder[132]
 Malaysia 2013 n/a Hanging. Death penalty mandatory for trafficking in dangerous drugs; discharging a firearm in the commission of a scheduled offense; accomplices in case of discharge of firearm; offenses against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's person; murder. Discretionary for kidnapping; consorting with a person carrying or having possession of arms or explosives; waging or attempting to wage war or abetting the waging of war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri[133]
 Maldives *None since independence in 1965 n/a Last execution when a colony of Britain was in 1952. Death penalty for murder[134]
 Marshall Islands *None since independence in 1986 1986 Abolished in 1986
by Constitution
 Mongolia 2008 2012 After two years under an official moratorium, the State Great Khural had in 2012 formally acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This makes Mongolia abolitionist because under Article 1, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Covenant, "No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed," and "Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction." (See: Capital punishment in Mongolia)
 F.S. Micronesia *None since independence in 1986 1986 Abolished in 1986
by Constitution
 Myanmar 1993 n/a Death penalty for murder, terrorism, high treason[135]
 Nauru *None since independence in 1968 n/a Death penalty for treason; Piracy; Murder
   Nepal 1979 1997 Abolished 1997 by Constitution.
 New Zealand 1957 1989 Abolished in New Zealand in 1989. In 2007 the Cook Islands became the last of New Zealand`s overseas territories to abolish capital punishment. For more information see Capital punishment in New Zealand
 Oman 2007 n/a Death penalty for murder; Drug trafficking[136]
 Pakistan 2012 1 n/a Hanging. Death penalty for murder, drug smuggling, terrorism, rape, unlawful assembly and blasphemy. (See Capital punishment in Pakistan)
 Palau *None since independence in 1994 1994
 Palestine 2014[137] 6 n/a
 Papua New Guinea *None since independence in 1975[138] n/a Last execution when under Australian administration in November 1954. Treason; Piracy; Attempted piracy; willful murder. Papua New Guinea voted in 2013 to introduce the death penalty for crimes such as rape, robbery and sorcery-related murder.[139] For more information, see Capital punishment in Papua New Guinea.
 Philippines 1999[140] 2006 Abolished in 1987 under the present constitution, re-introduced in 1993, re-abolished on 24 June 2006 under Republic Act No. 9346. There are some organizations that want the re-introduction of the death penalty.[141][full citation needed]
Pitcairn Island 2010[9]
 Qatar 2003[142] n/a Death penalty for espionage;[143] Threat to national security;[144] Apostasy[34](no recorded executions)
 Samoa *None since independence in 1962 2004[145]
 Saudi Arabia 2014[146] 79 n/a Decapitation. Saudi Arabia performs public executions. Current laws allow the death penalty for many violent and nonviolent offenses, including homosexuality, pedophilia, atheism;[147] adultery, murder; apostasy;[148] drug trafficking; rape and armed robbery;[149] drug offenses; witchcraft; sexual misconduct. Method most often used is beheading by a sword. Bodies may be put on public display.
 Singapore 2014[150] n/a Hanging. Death penalty for murder; kidnapping; treason; certain firearm offenses; trafficking in more than 15 grams of heroin or morphine, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis[151] (see capital punishment in Singapore)
 Solomon Islands *None since independence in 1978 1978
 Sri Lanka 1976 n/a Death penalty for murder; perjury causing an innocent person to be executed; rape; drug trafficking. Moratorium since 1976.
 Syria 2013[152] n/a Hanging. Syria performs public executions. Current laws allow the death penalty for treason; murder; political acts such as bearing arms against Syria in the ranks of the enemy, desertion of the armed forces to the enemy and acts of incitement under martial law or in wartime; violent robbery; rape; membership of the Muslim Brotherhood; drug trafficking
 Tajikistan 2004 n/a Death penalty for murder with aggravating circumstances; rape with aggravating circumstances; terrorism; biocide; genocide.[153] Moratorium introduced 30 April 2004 by President Emomalii Rahmon
 Taiwan 2014[154] 6 n/a Single gunshot to the head or heart. Death penalty for treason; espionage; hijacking; murder; robbery with murder, rape, or arson; piracy; kidnapping. Between 2006–2010 death sentences were not carried out (see Capital punishment in Taiwan). Executions resumed in 2010. On 3 May 2011 Taiwan removed the death penalty clauses from its Military Law statutes[155]
 Thailand 2009[156] n/a Death penalty for regicide; sedition or rebellion; offenses committed against the external security of Thailand; murder or attempted murder of a foreign head of state; bribery; arson; rape; murder with intent; kidnapping; robbery resulting in death. For a full list see here (PDF)
 Timor-Leste *None since independence in 2002 2002[157] Death penalty suspended following UN administration in 1999 when still a province of Indonesia. Capital Punishment abolished by constitution 2002.[157]
 Tonga 1982[10] n/a Hanging. Death penalty for treason, Murder. See Capital punishment in Tonga
 Turkmenistan 1997 1999 Abolished 1999 by Constitution.
 Tuvalu *None since independence in 1978 1978
 United Arab Emirates 2014[158] 1 n/a Death penalty by firing squad for murder; drug offenses;[159] rape; treason; aggravated robbery; terrorism
 Uzbekistan 2005[160] 2008 President Islam Karimov signed a decree on 1 August 2005 that replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment on 1 January 2008[161]
 Vanuatu *None since independence in 1980 1980
 Vietnam 2014 [162] n/a Lethal injection. Death penalty for treason; taking action to overthrow the government; espionage; rebellion; banditry; terrorism; sabotage; hijacking; destruction of national security projects; undermining peace; war crimes; crimes against humanity; manufacturing, concealing and trafficking in narcotic substances; murder; rape; robbery; embezzlement; fraud[163]
 Yemen 2013[164] 28 n/a Shooting. Yemen performs public executions. Current laws allow the death penalty for murder;[165] Adultery;[166] homosexuality;[33][167] Apostasy[34] (no recorded executions)

Europe[edit]

Of the 49 independent states in Europe that are UN members or have UN Observer status:

  • 48 (98%) have abolished it (last in 2012 when Latvia abolished capital punishment in all circumstances).
  • 1 (2%) maintains the death penalty in both law and practice – Belarus.

Since 1997, Belarus is the only country in Europe to still carry out executions. 2009 is the only year in recorded history when Europe was completely free of executions.

Executions in Europe in 2010: Belarus (2).[87]
Executions in Europe in 2011: Belarus (2)

Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the Sort both.svg icon.

Key Country Year of last execution Executions 2012[59] Year abolished Notes
 Albania 1995[101] 2007 Ratification of Protocol No. 13 of ECHR took place on 6 February 2007, in effect by 1 June 2007.[168]
 Andorra 1943 1990 Abolished 1990 by Constitution
 Austria 1950 1968 Abolished in peacetime 1950. Completely abolished in 1968 by Constitution.
 Belarus 2014[169] 3 n/a Belarus is the last country in Europe to practice the death penalty. Laws allow capital punishment for acts of aggression; murder of a representative of a foreign state or international organization with the intention to provoke international tension or war; international terrorism; genocide; crimes against the security of humanity; murder with aggravating circumstances; terrorism; terrorist acts; treason that results in loss of life; conspiracy to seize power; sabotage; murder of a police officer; use of weapons of mass destruction; and violations of the laws and customs of war.[170] See Capital punishment in Belarus.
 Belgium 1950 1996 Last execution for common law crimes was in 1863. Last execution for war crimes was in 1950. Abolished 1996 by Penal Code; since 2005 in Constitution.
 Bosnia and Herzegovina *None since independence in 1992 1998 Last execution when part of Yugoslavia was in 1975. Abolished 1998 by Constitution
 Bulgaria 1989 1998
 Cyprus 1962 2002 Capital punishment for murder abolished in 1983.
 Croatia *None since independence in 1991 1991 Last execution when part of Yugoslavia was in 1987.[171] Abolished in 1990 for the Croatian Yugoslav Republic by the Constitution. Upon declaration of independence in 1991 Croatia removed itself from the jurisdiction of the Federal Yugoslav capital punishment statutes effectively achieving complete abolition.

Death penalty is prohibited by the article 21 of the Croatian Constitution.[172]

 Czech Republic *None since independence in 1993 1993 Last execution when part of Czechoslovakia was in June 1989. Abolished after the Velvet Revolution 1990 by the amendment to Constitution of Czechoslovakia. Upon independence on 1 January 1993 the Czech Republic became a new abolitionist state. For more info see Capital punishment in the Czech Republic.
 Denmark 1950 1978 Last execution for common law crimes 1892. Last execution for war crimes 1950. Capital punishment was retroactively carried out 1945–50 for crimes related to the German occupation in World War II, repealed in 1951 and confirmed in 1993. A similar rule was active 1952–1978 in the civil penalty law for war crimes committed under extreme circumstances. See Capital punishment in Denmark.
 Estonia 1991 1998 In Estonia the last execution took place on 11 September 1991 when Rein Oruste was shot with a bullet to the back of the head for the crime of murder.
 Finland 1944 1972 Last peacetime execution 1825. Last wartime execution 1944. Capital punishment was abolished on civilian crimes 1949 (all existing sentences commuted to life imprisonment) and on all crimes 1972. 1984 death penalty was outlawed in the Finnish Constitution. See Capital punishment in Finland.
 France 1977 1981 The death penalty was initially abolished by the Directory in 1795 but re-introduced by Napoleon in 1810. It was re-abolished in law in 1981 and by Constitution in 2007. See Capital punishment in France.
 Germany *None since reunification in 1990 1990 Prohibited in West Germany by the Basic Law since 1949. US military authorities carried out an execution on West German territory in 1956. The now defunct GDR abolished the death penalty in 1987, the last execution was held in 1981.
 Gibraltar 2006 [10] UK dependency
 Greece 1972 2001 Abolished in 1994 (Law 2207/1994) except for high treason in time of war; abolished completely with the Constitutional amendment of 2001
 Hungary 1988 1990 Capital punishment was abolished in 1990 and the last execution was of Vadász Ernő on 14 July 1988 for murder.
 Iceland *None since independence in 1944[173] 1928[174] Last execution in 1830 when a colony of Denmark.[173] Abolished in 1928;[174] reintroduction made unconstitutional in 1995 by unanimous vote of Parliament.[175]
 Ireland 1954 1990 See Capital punishment in Ireland. Abolished for most murders in 1964, and for remaining offences in 1990. Last death sentences passed in 1985; all since 1954 commuted to imprisonment. 2001 constitutional referendum prohibits reintroduction, even during state of emergency.
 Italy 1947 1994 On 30 November 1786 the Duchy of Tuscany (then independent, now a part of Italy) became the first state in the modern era to completely abolish the death penalty. The short lived Roman Republic of Feb–July 1849 abolished the death penalty before being overthrown by French troops. When the Kingdom of Italy was formed in 1861 all the constituent states except Tuscany allowed capital punishment until it was abolished from the penal code in 1889 – although it was maintained under military and colonial law. In 1926 Mussolini reintroduced the death penalty into Italian law. It was re-abolished from the penal code in 1944. Art. 27 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic (1948) completely abolished it for all common military and civil crimes during peacetime. The death penalty was still, formally, in force in Italy in the military penal code, only for high treachery against the Republic or only in war theatre perpetrated crimes (though no execution ever took place) until it was abolished completely from there as well, in 1994. Article 27 of Italian Constitution was changed, in 2007, to impede the reintroduction of death penalty in time of war too. See Capital punishment in Italy
 Latvia 1996 2012 Death penalty abolished for peacetime offenses 1999. Abolished for all crimes 2012.[176]
 Liechtenstein 1785 1987
 Lithuania 1995 1998
 Luxembourg 1949 1979 Abolished by Constitution 1979
 Macedonia *None since independence in 1991 1991 Last execution when a part of Yugoslavia was in 1988.[101] Abolished by Constitution 1991.
 Malta *None since independence in 1964 2000 Last execution when a colony of Britain was in 1943. Capital punishment for murder abolished in 1971; part of the military code until 2000.
 Moldova *None since independence in 1991 2005 Last execution when a part of the USSR was in 1985.[101] On 23 September 2005 the Moldovan Constitutional Court approved constitutional amendments that abolished the death penalty.[177]
 Monaco 1847 1962 Abolished by Constitution 1962
 Montenegro *None since independence in 2006 2006 Last execution when a part of Yugoslavia was in 1992. Capital punishment abolished by Yugoslavia Federal Republic in 1995. When Montenegro declared independence in 2006 it became an abolitionist state.
 Netherlands 1952 1982 Last execution for peacetime offences 1860. Abolished for peacetime offences in 1870. Abolished in Netherlands by Constitution 1982. Last Netherlands overseas territory to abolish was Netherlands Antilles in 2010.[178]
 Norway 1948 1979 Abolished for peacetime offences in 1902, last execution for peacetime offences 1876. Last executions of wartime offenders conducted on 37 men convicted of treason or war crimes in WWII in 1945–48.
 Poland 1988 1997 A criminal law reform including reintroduction of death penalty was proposed in 2004 by Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, but lost its first reading vote in the Sejm by 198 to 194 with 14 abstentions. It is said that this was only populism, as Poland was in the European Union and so this initiative hardly had a chance.[32]
 Portugal 1846 1911-1916; 1976 Capital Punishment was abolished for political crimes in 1852, civil crimes in 1867 and war crimes in 1911.[179] In 1916, capital punishment was reinstated only for military offenses that occurred in a war against a foreign country and in the theater of war.[180] Capital punishment was completely abolished again in 1976.[181] See Capital punishment in Portugal.
 Romania 1989 1990[182] The last people to be convicted and executed in Romania were the former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife, Elena, following the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Their accusations ranged from crimes against humanity to high-treason. Abolished in 1990 and banned by Constitution in 1991.
 Russia 1996 2009 Russia retains the death penalty, but the regulations of the Council of Europe prohibit it from carrying out any executions. There have been 4 brief periods when Russia has completely abolished the death penalty, in the 18th century Russian empress Yelizaveta Petrovna abolished it, but it was restored by the Next emperor, Peter III of Russia; then, on 12 March 1917 to 12 July 1917 following the overthrow of the Tsar, 27 October 1917 to 16 June 1918 following the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, and 1947–1950 after the end of the Second World War (Joseph Stalin abolished it in 1947, but he had restored it back in 1950, and for this short period, the strictest punishment in USSR was penal servitude in GULAG for 25 years). Currently the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation envisages the death penalty for five crimes: murder with aggravating circumstances, assassination attempt against a state or public figure, attempt on the life of a person administering justice or preliminary investigations, attempt on the life of a law-enforcement officer, and genocide.[183] On 16 April 1997 Russia signed the Sixth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, but has yet to ratify it. There has been a moratorium on executions since 1996; no executions in the Russian Federation since August 1996 (except one in 1999 in the Chechen Republic, a former limited recognition state). In November 2009, the Constitutional Court extended the moratorium indefinitely pending ratification of the Sixth Protocol. This has effectively severed death penalty provisions in the Criminal Code. See Capital punishment in Russia.
 San Marino 1468 1865 Capital Punishment was abolished for civil crimes in 1848. The Death penalty was completely abolished for all crimes in 1865.
 Serbia *None since independence in 2006 2006 Last execution when a part of Yugoslavia was in 1992. Capital punishment abolished by Yugoslavia Federal Republic in 1995. When Serbia became independent in 2006 it became an abolitionist state.
 Slovakia *None since independence in 1993 1993 Last execution when a part of Czechoslovakia was in 1989. Abolished 1990 by Constitution when still a constituent part of Czechoslovakia. Upon independence on 1 January 1993 Slovakia became a new abolitionist state.
 Slovenia *None since independence in 1991 1991 Last execution when a part of Yugoslavia was in 1959. Abolished in Slovenian Yugoslav Republic 1989 by Constitution. Upon declaration of independence in 1991 Slovenia removed itself from the jurisdiction of the Federal Yugoslav capital punishment statutes effectively achieving complete abolition.
 Spain 1975 1995 Abolished in 1978 by constitution except for military laws during wartime. Abolished from the military penal code in 1995.[184]
 Sweden 1910 1973 Peacetime offences 1921, Wartime offences 1973. Constitutionally prohibited since 1975. See also capital punishment in Sweden.
 Switzerland 1944 1992 Capital Punishment was abolished in 1874, but reinstated in 1879. It was practiced by a few cantons (nine executions up to 1940). Abolished by popular vote in 1938, except for wartime military crimes, for which it was abolished in 1992. Banned by the 1999 constitution.
 Turkey 1984 2004 Abolished in 2004 by Constitution
 Ukraine 1997[185] 2000[186][187] Abolished February 2000 after the Constitutional Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in December 1999.[186][187] New criminal code passed in April 2000.[186][187][188]
 United Kingdom 1977 (Bermuda)
1964 (UK)
1998 Last execution in the UK was in 1964. The last execution on British Overseas Territory occurred in Bermuda in 1977. Abolished for murder in 1969 in Great Britain and 1973 in Northern Ireland. Abolished for all remaining offences (high treason, piracy with violence and offences under military jurisdiction) in UK in 1998. European Convention, Thirteenth Protocol ratified in 2003 confirming total abolition. See Capital punishment in the United Kingdom. The last British Territory or Crown Dependency to completely abolish capital punishment was Jersey on 10 December 2006 (see Capital punishment in Jersey).
 Vatican City 1870 (as Papal States)[189] 1969 Never used within the Vatican and only carried out in the Papal States by local authorities where the sentences were handed out.

Abolition chronology[edit]

The table below lists in chronological order the 100 independent states, that are either UN members or have UN observer status, that have completely abolished the death penalty. In the hundred years following the abolition of capital punishment by Venezuela in 1863 only 10 more countries were able to maintain abolition – although more tried but failed to prevent re-instatement after an initial abolition. From the 1960s there has been a growing momentum towards abolition worldwide. In the 1960s 4 countries abolished (a record up to that time for any decade), in the 1970s a limited momentum was achieved when 10 countries abolished, the 1980s saw a further 9 countries abolish, but it was the fall of Communism in 1989 which turned the trickle into a torrent – no fewer than 34 countries abolished in the 1990s, the individual years 1990 and 1998 are especially notable because 8 and 7 countries respectively abolished in those single years. This momentum is continuing as a further 26 countries abolished in the first decade of this century. Since 1985, there have been only four years when no country has abolished the death penalty: 1988, 2003, 2011 and 2013.

Note: Where a country has abolished, re-instated, and abolished again (e.g. Philippines, Switzerland, Portugal) only the later abolition date is included. Countries who have abolished and since reinstated (e.g. Liberia) are not included. Non-independent territories are considered to be under the jurisdiction of their parent country – which leads to unexpectedly late abolition dates for the UK, New Zealand and the Netherlands, where Jersey (UK), the Cook Is (NZ), and the Netherlands Antilles, were the last territories of those states to abolish capital punishment, and all were rather later than the more well known abolitions on the respective mainlands. Defunct countries such as the GDR (East Germany), which abolished capital punishment in 1987 but was dissolved in 1990, are also not included. References are in the continental tables above and not repeated here.

Year abolished Country Countries per year Running total
1863  Venezuela 1 1
1865  San Marino 1 2
1877  Costa Rica 1 3
1903  Panama 1 4
1906  Ecuador 1 5
1907  Uruguay 1 6
1910  Colombia 1 7
1928  Iceland 1 8
1949  Germany (FR) 1 9
1956  Honduras 1 10
1962  Monaco 1 11
1966  Dominican Republic 1 12
1968  Austria 1 13
1969  Vatican City 1 14
1972  Finland 1 15
1973  Sweden 1 16
1976  Canada  Portugal 2 18
1978  Denmark  Solomon Islands  Tuvalu 3 21
1979  Kiribati  Luxembourg  Nicaragua  Norway 4 25
1980  Vanuatu 1 26
1981  Cape Verde  France 2 28
1982  Netherlands 1 29
1985  Australia 1 30
1986  Marshall Islands  F.S. Micronesia 2 32
1987  Haiti  Liechtenstein 2 34
1989  Cambodia  New Zealand[190] 2 36
1990  Andorra  Czech Republic  Slovakia  Hungary  Ireland  Mozambique
 Namibia  Romania  São Tomé and Príncipe
8 44
1991  Croatia  Macedonia  Slovenia 3 47
1992  Angola  Paraguay  Switzerland 3 50
1993  Guinea-Bissau  Seychelles 3 53
1994  Italy  Palau 2 55
1995  Djibouti  Mauritius  South Africa  Spain 4 59
1996  Belgium 1 60
1997    Nepal  Poland 2 62
1998  Armenia  Azerbaijan  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Bulgaria  Estonia  Lithuania
 United Kingdom
7 69
1999  Turkmenistan 1 70
2000  Ivory Coast  Malta  Ukraine 3 73
2001  Greece 1 74
2002  Cyprus  Serbia  Timor-Leste 3 77
2004  Bhutan  Samoa  Senegal  Turkey 4 81
2005  Mexico  Moldova 2 83
2006  Georgia  Montenegro  Philippines 3 86
2007  Albania  Kyrgyzstan  Rwanda 3 89
2008  Uzbekistan 1 90
2009  Argentina  Burundi  Togo  Bolivia 4 94
2010  Gabon 1 95
2012  Latvia  Benin  Mongolia  Madagascar 4 99
2014  Chad  Cameroon 2 101

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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