Document - The death penalty: list of abolitionist and retentionist countries

EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: ACT 50/01/91

Distr: SC/DP/PO/CO/GR

No of words: 1567

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Amnesty International

International Secretariat

1 Easton Street

London WC1X 8DJ

30 January 1991United Kingdom




@THE DEATH PENALTY

LIST OF ABOLITIONIST AND RETENTIONIST COUNTRIES



A record-breaking number of countries abolished the death penalty in 1990. Seven countries - Namibia, the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), Ireland, Andorra, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mozambique and Hungary - abolished the death penalty for all offences. One country, Nepal, abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences.


Following the establishment of the South West Africa Peoples' Organization (SWAPO) as the majority party of government in Namibia, a draft constitution was drawn up for discussion by the Constituent Assembly in which the death penalty was abolished. The final draft was approved unanimously by the Constituent Assembly on 9 February. Article 6 (Chapter 3) of the constitution states: "The right to life shall be respected and protected. No law may prescribe death as a competent sentence. No Court or Tribunal shall have the power to impose a sentence of death upon any person. No executions shall take place in Namibia."


On 3 May, the Czechoslovakian parliament adopted an amendment to the penal code abolishing the death penalty for all offences. This law took effect on 1 July.


In Ireland the parliament voted to abolish the death penalty for the three crimes for which it was still retained. Abolition came into force in July.


A spokesperson of the Nepalese Law and Justice Ministry announced in July that the death penalty had been abolished in Nepal for murder. The death penalty had previously been abolished for murder in 1946 but was reintroduced in 1985 after several people were killed in bomb explosions. Organizations in the country had called for abolition. Nepal now retains the death penalty only for exceptional crimes (espionage and violent attacks on the royal family).


Andorra's first written penal code, which makes no provision for the death penalty, came into force on 1 September.


São Tomé and Príncipe's new constitution, which had been approved by the National People's Assembly in March, was approved by a majority of voters in a referendum held on 22 August. The constitution came into force on 20 September, - Article 21 states: "1. Human life is inviolable. 2. In no case will there be the death penalty".


The death penalty was abolished in Mozambique under its new constitution which was adopted by the People's Assembly on 2 November and came into force at the end of November. Article 70.2 of the constitution states: "In the Republic of Mozambique there is no death penalty."


In Hungary the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty, ruling that its provision under the penal code violated the country's constitution. The court found that the death penalty violates the "inherent right to life and human dignity" as provided under Article 54 of the constitution.


Amnesty International's latest information shows that 44 countries have abolished the death penalty for all offences, while 17 have done so for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes. Twenty-five countries can be considered abolitionist de facto: they retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more. Ninety-two countries retain and use the death penalty.


Attached is a list of countries, indicating whether or not their laws provide for the death penalty. For abolitionist countries, information is also given, where available, on the date of abolition and the date of the last execution carried out; and for countries which have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, the date when it was abolished for ordinary offences if this was done before. (The date given for abolition is normally the date when the decision to abolish the death penalty was taken, but if that decision only came into effect several years later, the latter date is given.)


Also attached is a list of countries which have abolished the death penalty in law since 1976. It shows that in recent years, at least one country a year on average has abolished the death penalty in law or, having done so for ordinary offences, has gone on to abolish it for all offences.


The lists have been compiled on the basis of information available to Amnesty International as of January 1991. Any changes or corrections will be issued as necessary.

1. ABOLITIONIST FOR ALL CRIMES


(Countries whose laws do not provide for the death penalty for any crime)


Date ofDate of

Date ofAbolition forLast

CountryAbolitionOrdinary CrimesExecution


ANDORRA19901943

AUSTRALIA198519841967

AUSTRIA196819501950

CAMBODIA1989

CAPE VERDE19811835

COLOMBIA19101909

COSTA RICA1877

CZECH AND SLOVAK FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC19901988

DENMARK197819331950

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC1966

ECUADOR1906

FINLAND197219491944

FRANCE19811977

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY1949/1987***1949***

HAITI19871972*

HONDURAS19561940

HUNGARY19901988

ICELAND19281830

IRELAND19901954

KIRIBATI**

LIECHTENSTEIN19871785

LUXEMBOURG19791949

MARSHALL ISLANDS**

MICRONESIA (Federated States)**

MONACO19621847

MOZAMBIQUE19901986

NAMIBIA1990 1988*

NETHERLANDS198218701952

NEW ZEALAND198919611957

NICARAGUA19791930

NORWAY197919051948

PANAMA1903*

PHILIPPINES19871976

PORTUGAL197618671849*

ROMANIA19891989

SAN MARINO186518481468*

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE1990**

SOLOMON ISLANDS1966**

SWEDEN197219211910

TUVALU**

URUGUAY1907

VANUATU**

VATICAN CITY STATE1969

VENEZUELA1863


TOTAL: 44 countries


* Date of last known execution


** No executions since independence


*** The death penalty was abolished in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) in 1949 and in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1987. The last execution in the FRG was in 1949; the date of the last execution in the GDR is not known. The FRG and the GDR were unified in October 1990. The name of the unified country is the Federal Republic of Germany.

2. ABOLITIONIST FOR ORDINARY CRIMES ONLY


(Countries whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances such as wartime)



Date ofDate of

CountryAbolitionLast Execution


ARGENTINA1984

BRAZIL19791855

CANADA19761962

CYPRUS19831962

EL SALVADOR19831973*

FIJI19791964

ISRAEL19541962

ITALY19471947

MALTA19711943

MEXICO1937

NEPAL19901979

PAPUA NEW GUINEA19741950

PERU19791979

SEYCHELLES**

SPAIN19781975

SWITZERLAND19421944

UNITED KINGDOM19731964



TOTAL: 17 countries




* Date of last known execution


** No executions since independence

3. ABOLITIONIST DE FACTO


(Countries and territories which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes but have not executed anyone during the past 10 years or more)



Date of

CountryLast Execution


ANGUILLA1820s

BAHRAIN1977

BELGIUM1950

BERMUDA1977

BHUTAN1964*

BOLIVIA1974

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM1957

CAYMAN ISLANDS1928

COMOROS**

COTE D'IVOIRE

DJIBOUTI**

GREECE1972

HONG KONG1966

MADAGASCAR1958*

MALDIVES1952*

MONTSERRAT1961

NAURU**

NIGER1976*

PARAGUAY1928

SAMOA, WESTERN**

SENEGAL1967

SRI LANKA1976

TOGO

TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS



TOTAL: 25 countries and territories




* Date of last known execution


** No executions since independence


(In keeping with the system of classification used by the United Nations in its quinquennial reports on capital punishment, all of these countries and territories can be considered abolitionist de facto in that they have not carried out executions for the past 10 years or more. However, death sentences have continued to be imposed in a number of these countries and territories, and not all of them have a policy of regularly commuting sentences.)

4. RETENTIONIST


(Countries and territories which retain and use the death penalty for ordinary crimes)*


Country


AFGHANISTAN

ALBANIA

ALGERIA

ANGOLA

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA BAHAMAS

BANGLADESH

BARBADOS

BELIZE

BENIN

BOTSWANA

BULGARIA

BURKINA FASO

BURUNDI

CAMEROON

CENTRAL AFRICAN

REPUBLIC

CHAD

CHILE

CHINA (People's

Republic)

CONGO

CUBA

DOMINICA

EGYPT

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

ETHIOPIA

GABON

GAMBIA

GHANA

GRENADA

GUATEMALA

GUINEA

GUINEA-BISSAU

GUYANA

INDIA

INDONESIA

IRAN

IRAQ

JAMAICA

JAPAN

JORDAN

KENYA

KOREA (Democratic

People's Republic)

[North Korea]

KOREA (Republic)

[South Korea]

KUWAIT

LAOS

LEBANON

LESOTHO

LIBERIA

LIBYA

MALAWI

MALAYSIA

MALI

MAURITANIA

MAURITIUS

MONGOLIA

MOROCCO

MYANMAR

NIGERIA

OMAN

PAKISTAN

POLAND

QATAR

RWANDA

SAINT CHRISTOPHER AND

NEVIS

SAINT LUCIA

SAINT VINCENT AND THE

GRENADINES

SAUDI ARABIA

SIERRA LEONE

SINGAPORE

SOMALIA

SOUTH AFRICA

SUDAN

SURINAME

SWAZILAND

SYRIA

TAIWAN (Republic of

China)

TANZANIA

THAILAND

TONGA

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TUNISIA

TURKEY

UGANDA

UNION OF SOVIET

SOCIALIST REPUBLICS UNITED ARAB EMIRATES UNITED STATES OF

AMERICA

VIET NAM

YEMEN

YUGOSLAVIA

ZAIRE

ZAMBIA

ZIMBABWE TOTAL: 92 countries and territories




* Most of these countries and territories are known to have carried out executions during the past 10 years. On some countries Amnesty International has no record of executions but is unable to ascertain whether or not executions have in fact been carried out.

LIST OF COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY SINCE 1976


1976:PORTUGAL abolished the death penalty for all offences.


CANADA abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences.


1978:DENMARK abolished the death penalty for all offences.


SPAIN abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences.



1979:LUXEMBOURG, NICARAGUA and NORWAY abolished the death penalty for all offences.


BRAZIL, FIJI and PERU abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences. (1)


1981:FRANCE abolished the death penalty for all offences.


1982:The NETHERLANDS abolished the death penalty for all offences.


1983:CYPRUS and EL SALVADOR abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences.


1984:ARGENTINA and AUSTRALIA abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences. (2) (3)


1985:AUSTRALIA abolished the death penalty for all offences. (3)


1987:The PHILIPPINES, HAITI, LIECHTENSTEIN and the GERMAN DEMOCRATIC

REPUBLIC abolished the death penalty for all offences.


1989:CAMBODIA, NEW ZEALAND and ROMANIA abolished the death penalty for all offences.


1990:ANDORRA, the CZECH AND SLOVAK FEDERATIVE REPUBLIC, HUNGARY, IRELAND, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA and SÃO TOMÉ AND PRíNCIPE abolished the death penalty for all offences.


NEPAL abolished the death penalty for ordinary offences. (4)


Notes:


1. Brazil had abolished the death penalty in 1882 but reintroduced it in 1969 while under military rule.


2. Argentina had abolished the death penalty for all offences in 1921 and again in 1972 but reintroduced it in 1976 following a military coup.


3. In 1984 the death penalty was abolished in Western Australia, the last Australian state to retain the death penalty for ordinary offfences. In 1985 it was abolished entirely in Australia when the state of New South Wales abolished it for piracy, treason and arson at military and naval establishments - the only remaining capital offences.


4. Nepal had abolished the death penalty for murder in 1946 but reintroduced it in 1985 after bomb explosions in which several people were killed.

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