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Death Penalty Policy by Country

Death Penalty Policy by Country

The Global Landscape of Death Penalty Policies

The use of the death penalty—or capital punishment—as a form of retribution for serious crimes sparks heated debate worldwide. It forces us to confront our basic beliefs about human rights, justice, and the value of human life. With countries divided into "retentionist" (ones that retain the practice), "abolitionist" (ones that have abolished the practice), and "abolitionist in practice" (where capital punishment is still law but hasn't been executed in over a decade), the divide is evident. 

  • Geographical patterns confirm that western European countries and many countries in the Americas (including Canada, Uruguay, and most South American nations) stand distinctly in the abolitionist group. In fact, all EU member states have abolished the death penalty.
  • The United States and several countries in Asia (like China, India, Japan, and Iran) and Africa remain retentionist, executing capital punishments as per the gravity of crimes.
  • It is intriguing to note that countries such as Russia and Kenya are classified as 'abolitionist in practice.' Although they have capital punishment laws, they haven't carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more.
  • According to this data, a significant proportion of the global community have moved beyond capital punishment. With 109 countries that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and another 28 effectively practicing abolition.
  • There are also nations with a non-uniform status. For instance, Peru and Guatemala are 'abolitionist for ordinary crimes', meaning they reserve capital punishment only for exceptional situations, like during times of war.

By Country

Full Data Set

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