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Capital Punishment and Implementation of the Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty

NCJ Number
Date Published
65 pages
This eighth quinquennial report of the United Nations Secretary-General on capital punishment provides information on the status of capital punishment in 61 countries throughout the world as of January 1, 2004.
Based on the information provided by the 61 countries this report concludes that a marked trend toward the abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment has occurred in most countries. The rate at which countries that retained capital punishment at the start of the quinquennium have abolished its use either in law or in practice is comparable with that of previous reporting periods, and the rate may even be increasing slightly. In addition, countries that retain the death penalty are, with rare exceptions, significantly reducing its use in terms of numbers of persons executed and the crimes for which the death penalty may be imposed; however, in countries where the death penalty has been retained, there are serious challenges to international norms and standards, notably regarding the limitation of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, the exclusion of juvenile offenders from its scope, and guarantees of a fair trial. The report recommends that countries which have abolished the death penalty but have not yet ratified the relevant international instruments should proceed with such ratification. In addition, countries that have abolished the death penalty should deny extradition to countries where the death penalty might be imposed, unless assurances are given that the individual concerned could not be sentenced to death, or, if sentenced to death, that the penalty would not be implemented. Other recommendations are that countries retaining the death penalty should apply all international norms for safeguards and collect and provide statistics on death penalty cases. Also recommended is the application of General Assembly resolution 62/149, entitled "Moratorium on the use of the death penalty." 4 tables, including country-by-country data