STUDIES: Amnesty International Reports Continued Movement Away from Capital Punishment

According to a new report from Amnesty International, the international trend away from the death penalty generally continued in 2012. The number of countries in which death sentences were imposed fell from 63 to 58. The number of countries that have completely abolished the death penalty stood at 97. Ten years ago, this figure stood at 80. In total, 140 countries worldwide have ended the death penalty in law or in practice. However, 3 countries—India, Pakistan, and the Gambia—returned to carrying out executions in 2012 after many years of having none. The U.S. carried out the same number of executions in 2012 as in 2011, but in fewer states. There were 43 executions across nine states. The five countries that carried out the most executions in 2012 were China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said, “In many parts of the world, executions are becoming a thing of the past. Only one in 10 countries in the world carries out executions. Their leaders should ask themselves why they are still applying a cruel and inhumane punishment that the rest of the world is leaving behind.”

(L. Smith-Spark, “Report: China, U.S. in top 5 for executions worldwide,” CNN, April 10, 2013). Read Amnesty’s Report. View a video depiction of the facts. See International. Read more Studies on the death penalty.