HANDS OFF CAIN: POSITIVE EVOLUTION TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY
August 4, 2011: the Hands Off Cain 2011 Report, presented today, contains the most important facts regarding the practice of the death penalty in 2010 and the first six months of 2011. It confirms the positive evolution towards the abolition of the death penalty in practice around the world in recent years.
There are currently 155 countries and territories that, to different extents, have decided to renounce the death penalty. Of these: 97 are totally abolitionist; 8 are abolitionist for ordinary crimes; 6 have a moratorium on executions in place and 44 are de facto abolitionist (i.e. countries that have not carried out any executions for at least 10 years or countries which have binding obligations not to use the death penalty).
Countries retaining the death penalty worldwide are down to 42, compared to the 45 retentionist in 2009, 48 in 2008, 49 in 2007, 51 in 2006 and 54 in 2005.
In 2010, at least 22 Countries carried out executions, compared to 19 in 2009 and 26 in 2008.
In 2010, there were at least 5,837 executions, compared to at least 5,741 in 2009 and at least 5,735 in 2008. The increase of executions relative to preceding years is a result of the incredible escalation of executions in Iran which went from at least 402 in 2009 to no less than 546 in 2010.
In 2010 and in the first six months of 2011, there were no executions in 3 countries where executions were carried out in 2009: Oman, Singapore and Thailand.
On the other hand, 8 countries resumed executions: Bahrain (1), Belarus (2), Equatorial Guinea (4), Palestinian National Authority (5), Somalia (at least 8) and Taiwan (4) in 2010; Afghanistan (2) and United Arab Emirates (1) in 2011.
In the United States, no âabolitionistâ State reintroduced the death penalty, but two States which had not carried out executions for a substantial period both performed an execution, In June 2010, Utah carried out its first execution since 1999 (by firing squad, a method which had not been used in the U.S.A. Since 1996) and in September of 2010, in the United States, the State of Washington carried out its first execution since 2001.
Once again, Asia tops the standings as the region where the vast majority of executions are carried out. Taking the estimated number of executions in China to be about 5,000 (more or less equal to the number in 2009 but diminished in respect to preceding years), the total for 2010 corresponds to a minimum of 5,746 executions (98.4%), an increase in respect to the minimum of 5,670 in 2009.
In the Americas, the United States of America was the only country to carry out executions (46) in 2010.
In Africa, in 2010, the death penalty was carried out in 6 countries (in 2009 there were 4) â Libya (at least 18), Somalia (at least 8), Sudan (at least 8), Egypt (4), Equatorial Guinea (4) and Botswana (1) â where there were at least 43 executions. In 2009 there were at least 19 executions as in 2008 and compared to 26 in 2007 and 87 in 2006 on the entire continent.
In Europe, the only blemish on an otherwise completely death penalty-free zone continues to be Belarus, where two men were put to death for homicide in 2010 while another two men were executed on July 21, 2011. (Sources: Hands Off Cain)