The most important facts of 2003 (and the first six months of 2004)

07 January 2008 :


Hands Off Cain´s 2004 report, edited by Elisabetta Zamparutti and published in Italian by Marsilio, is dedicated to Levy Mwanawasa, the President of Zambia. President Mwanawasa is also the author of the foreword to this year´s edition.
Since his election in 2001, President Mwanawasa has given a strong boost to the process of democratisation in the country. A strongly abolitionist Baptist, he has moreover refused to sign any death warrants since he took office.
In April 2003, he set up a constitutional review commission with the abolition of the death penalty as one of the terms of reference for its tasks.
On May 21, 2003, President Mwanawasa refused to authorise the execution of scores of people, and decided to commute their death sentences to life in prison instead.
On February 27, 2004 he commuted the death sentences of 44 soldiers convicted of treason to jail terms ranging from 10 to 20 years. He has also announced that Government intends to propose the abolition of the death penalty to Parliament. In the meanwhile, he has ordered the review of all capital trials that resulted in death verdicts.
On May 7, 2004, President Mwanawasa commuted a further 15 death sentences, handed out for murder and robbery with violence, to jail terms of between 20 and 50 years.
The last execution in Zambia took place in January 1997, when in a single day, eight people were put to death. Since then, Zambia has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment, that continues to be observed thanks to the firm beliefs of President Mwanawasa, who has declared that: "You cannot be slaughtering people like chickens and I will not sign any death warrant for as long as I remain president. I do not want to be the chief hanger."


The worldwide situation to date

The worldwide situation concerning the death penalty has once again registered a trend towards abolition in the past year. The countries or territories that to different extents have decided to give up the practice of capital punishment total 133, including the first months of 2004. Of these 81 have abolished the death penalty completely; 14 have abolished it for ordinary crimes; 1, Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe is committed to abolish it and in the meanwhile apply a moratorium on executions; 5 are observing moratoriums and 32 countries are de facto abolitionist, not having carried out executions for at least 10 years.
Countries that retain the death penalty number 63 - this is 3 down from 2002, when there were 66 retentionist states - and not all of these put people to death regularly. In 2003, in fact, only 29 retentionists carried out executions. This was 5 countries less that executed people than in 2002, when 34 states were recorded as having carried out executions. Yet the number of known executions for 2003 is significantly higher than the 2002 total: 5,599 executions to 4,101 the previous year. This increase is attributable to the simple fact that Chinese officials, for the first time, released near official statistics on the number of executions carried out annually in China, where information relating to capital punishment is classed as a state secret. At least 5,000 executions were carried out in the country in 2003, but the number was again probably much higher. Even this figure is already considerably higher than the ones given in previous years by the media and abolitionist organizations.
In relative terms therefore, the number of executions worldwide has in fact diminished in comparison to previous years.
Asia however remains the continent that executes the highest number of people. Considering that in China there were at least 5,000 executions, the total of executions in Asia for 2003 amounts to 5,474. In 2002, 3,946 executions had been recorded in Asia, but the number of reported executions in China, the top executioner worldwide, was always thought to be much lower than reality.
Africa continues to cut down on the use of capital punishment: 56 executions were recorded continent-wide in 2003, down 7 from the 63 registered in 2002.
Europe would be a death-penalty free zone if it wasn´t for Belarus that in 2003 carried out at least 1 execution.
North and South America would also be death penalty free, were it not for the 65 people put to death in the United States (down from 71 in 2002) and the 3 people put to death in Cuba after a few years of suspension of capital punishment.

Top executioners for 2003: China, Iran and Iraq

Of the 63 countries worldwide retain the death penalty, 48 are dictatorial, authoritarian or illiberal states. These countries accounted for at least 5,525 executions, or 98.7% of the world total of executions in 2003.
One country alone, China, carried out at least 5,000, or 89.3% of the executions that took place during 2003. Iran was responsible for at least 154 executions. Iraq, up to April 9 when US Central Command chief General Tommy Franks suspended the death penalty - as the US-led coalition invaded the country and toppled Saddam Hussein´s regime - had already executed at least 113 people.
Vietnam carried out 69 executions; Saudi Arabia 52; Kazakhstan at least 19; Pakistan at least 18; Singapore at least 14; and Sudan at least 13.
Many of these countries do not issue official statistics on the practice of the death penalty therefore the number of executions may be much higher. In some countries, executions are completely covert, and news of them does not even filter through to the local media. Two cases in point are North Korea and Syria.
The conclusion that can be drawn from such a picture is that the definite solution to the problem of capital punishment - more than by tackling the issue in itself - is better achieved through the establishment of democracy, the rule of law and the promotion and respect of political rights and civil liberties.
Authoritarian states once again take the podium as the top executioners of the year in 2003: China, Iran and Iraq (up to April 9, 2004)

China, where reality exceeds the worst estimates
The number of death sentences passed, as the number of executions carried out, are classed as state secrets in China, nevertheless one fact emerges clearly: China is the world´s top executioner. Information on the real extent of the judicial massacre that takes place in China is beginning to filter through sources within the ruling Communist regime. The number of people put to death in the PRC is much higher than the highest estimates by western media or abolitionist organisations.
In 2003, according to a judicial source, 5,000 people were executed in China. Chen Zhonglin, a member of the People´s National Congress (Parliament) in Beijing, said that China carries out 10,000 executions every year. His declaration was published on the China Youth Daily in March 2004. This was the first time that a similar declaration was published by a state-controlled newspaper.
In Disidai, or The Fourth Generation a Communist Party member writing under the pseudonym Zong Hairen said 15,000 people had been sent to their death in China between 1998 and 2001. The book was published in 2002.
In June 2003, Chinese President Hu Jintao praised the ´strike-hard´ campaign launched in April 2001, that led to the execution of thousands of people, and announced that it would continue for at least another year. On December 11, People´s Supreme Court President Xiao Yang called for the perpetuation of the campaign that had resulted in 819,000 death sentences or jail terms exceeding 5 years.
People accused of violent and non-violent crimes alike were fed to the shredder that is China´s capital punishment system - terrorists and separatist militants, murderers and robbers, kidnappers and rapists, drug-traffickers and small time peddlers, smugglers of weapons and cigarettes, counterfeiters of banknotes and invoices, pimps and tomb-raiders, corrupters and corrupted - were put on trial in mass public rallies, forced to wear placards announcing their name and crime, and then taken to a field and shot.
China´s Attorney General, Han Zubin, called for measures against "separatists, terrorists and adherents to evil cults" to be stepped up for the sake of "national security." In the five years up to 2003, 3,500 people had been charged with "crimes against the state", including murder, bomb attacks and arson, but also non-violent political dissent. Han confirmed that the total included suspected practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement branded an "evil cult" by the Communist authorities and outlawed in 1999.
China has also accused of terrorism activists for an enhanced Tibetan autonomy and leaders of the Uighur people in the Islamic northwest of the country.
In 2003, the practice of removing organs from executed prisoners to sell for transplants was once again denounced.

Iran, again in the top three
Iran, along with China, regularly features among the countries that execute most people in the world. Though China remains by far the most prolific executioner, Iran, in proportion to its population, applies capital punishment just as much. In 2003, 154 executions were recorded in Iran, including a woman and a minor. This total is significantly less than in 2002, when 316 executions were registered, including a woman stoned to death, but as with other illiberal countries, the real number of people put to death by the state is probably much higher. Iranian authorities do not issue official statistics on the death penalty, and HOC´s total is based on news reports by Iranian media, that very likely do not carry news of every single execution.
Iran does not limit itself to the death penalty. Its interpretation of Sharia law prescribes whippings for sexual relations before marriage, lashings for drinking alcohol and amputation of hands and feet for petty thieves.

Iraq, the last executions under Saddam
The execution of political opponents and military ´conspirators´ - a hallmark of Saddam Hussein´s regime - were kept up till its fall on April 9, 2003. The US Central Command suspended the use of the death penalty on that day, and the Coalition Provisional Authority upheld the ban. Capital punishment still features in Iraqi laws, and though the provisional constitution makes no mention of the death penalty, a new constitution in all probability will re-introduce it. On June 6, the newly-appointed Justice Minister Malek Dohan al Hassan affirmed that after the handover of power by the CPA to Iraqi authorities on June 30 his country would resume executions, and that the former president Saddam Hussein may be liable to it. This, HOC notes, would definitely not be the best way to present the new Iraq to the world.
Hands Off Cain recorded at least 113 executions for the first few months of 2003, the majority of which were carried out following summary trials. Past estimates for executions under Saddam Hussein´s dictatorship seem to have fallen far short of the real number of victims - by tens of thousands. The Coalition Provisional Authority said that at least 300,000 people had been buried in mass graves. Officials from human rights organisations talked of 500,000 victims and some Iraqi political parties estimate that more than 1 million people were executed and buried in secret places.

Democracy and the death penalty

Of the 63 countries worldwide that retain the death penalty, 15 are classed as liberal democracies. Of these, only 6 carried out executions in 2003 for a total of 74 executions or 1.3% of the world tally. The United States carried out the bulk of these, putting 65 people to death, Botswana and Thailand 4 each and Japan 1 person. Executions were reportedly carried out in Mongolia and Taiwan, but the exact number is not known. The total is down from the 100 executions recorded in liberal democratic countries in 2002.
In the United States alone, 2003 saw a decrease not only in executions, but also in death sentences passed and the total of death row inmates.
The US executed 65 people in 2003 compared to 71 in 2002. Of the 38 states (out of 50) that practice the death penalty in the US, 11 carried out executions - the lowest number since 1993. As has been the case since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976, the majority of executions took place in southern states, 80% of the total in 2003. Texas was again the top executioner, with 24 people put to death (they were 33 in 2002), 14 people were executed in Oklahoma (double its 2002 tally) and North Carolina carried out 7 executions (up from 2 in 2002).
Oklahoma carried out the only execution in 2003 of a person who was a minor at the time of the crime. This execution was the 22nd such execution since 1976 - 13 minors were executed in Texas alone.
Fresh death sentences passed in 2003 were 143, down from 159 in 2002, and death row inmates diminished from 3,557 in 2002 to 3,504 in 2003, including 72 juveniles and 49 women.
Polls showed that capital punishment was becoming less popular in the US. An October 2003 Gallup poll found 64% in favour and 32% against. The gap is still large, but 64% was the lowest level of support for the death penalty in the last 25 years.
Various factors led to evolving attitudes on the death penalty issue. Main among these were the imperfections of the system, racial prejudice (in 2003 not one white person was executed for murder cases involving black victims only) class distinctions, and above all the judicial errors coming to light with increasing frequency. In 2003, 10 people were found to be innocent or wrongfully convicted, twice the number of the previous year. These brought up the total of people released from death row since 1973 to 113 up to February 18, 2004.
The decision by then Illinois Governor George Ryan in January 2003 to empty his state´s death row contributed significantly to decrease the nationwide death row population. He commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life in prison without parole and pardoned 4 men outright on the basis of innocence - they had been tortured into confessing crimes - after closely studying the Midwestern state´s death penalty system and finding it "rotten to the core". In April 2003, after months of uncertainty Ryan´s successor Rod Blagojevich upheld the moratorium imposed by Ryan in 2000, holding that the conditions for guaranteeing an error-free system were not yet in place.

Abolition, de facto abolition and moratorium

The worldwide trend towards abolition of the last 10 years was confirmed in 2003. Throughout the year and the first five months of 2004, 5 retentionist states became abolitionist to different extents. Benin, Ghana, Malawi and Morocco, passed the ten-year mark from the last execution to become de facto abolitionists. Kazakhstan imposed a legal moratorium on executions. Another 4 countries advanced within the abolitionist ranks: Bhutan and Samoa, formerly de facto abolitionist, became fully abolitionist; Bosnia-Herzegovina, an abolitionist for ordinary crimes, removed the death penalty for all crimes to become fully abolitionist and Armenia, that had undertaken a commitment with the Council of Europe to abolish the death penalty, became an abolitionist for ordinary crimes.
Moreover, Mexico, already an abolitionist for ordinary crimes, moved to abolish the death penalty also from the military code. The draft law to this effect has already been approved at first reading.
In Iraq, the use of capital punishment was suspended by the US Central Command in April and maintained by the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Further moves towards abolition took place in Kenya, Zambia, Tajikistan and Caribbean states.

Resumption of executions and attempts at reintroduction of capital punishment

Three countries resumed executions after a long period of suspension in 2003: Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba and Chad. The Philippines also announced the lifting of the moratorium imposed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in September 2002, but no executions were carried out.
In January 2004, Lebanon resumed executions after 5 years of de facto moratorium.
In April 2004, Afghanistan carried out the first execution since the fall of the Taliban.

Sharia law and the death penalty

14 Muslim-majority states carried out at least 412 executions in 2003, mostly imposed by Islamic courts applying strict interpretations of Sharia law.
The death penalty issue is a particularly sensitive one in Muslim-majority countries, but the problem is not the Koran itself, it is rather the literal translation of a centuries-old text into penal norms, punishments and rules valid for present times - a transposition done by fundamentalist, dictatorial or authoritarian regimes and used by them as an improper means to impede the democratic process.
Of the 48 Muslim-majority states worldwide, 19 can be considered abolitionist in various forms, whereas the retentionists are 29, only 14 of which applied capital punishment in 2003.
Stoning to death, hanging, crucifixion, beheading and the firing squad were the methods used to execute Sharia punishment in 2003.
Nigeria, Iran, Yemen and Pakistan all issued death-by-stoning sentences, but only Pakistan carried them out.
Iran, Sudan and surprisingly Saudi Arabia used the gallows in 2003. In the latter a man was hanged close to Riyadh, in a rare death-by-hanging execution. Saudi Arabia´s preferred method is beheading, and 51 people, including 1 woman had their lives ended in this manner in the kingdom in 2003.
Again unusually, decapitation was not confined to Saudi Arabia in 2003. In Iran, a man was beheaded on the border with Pakistan, the first execution using this method reported in the country in years.
Though not a strictly Islamic method of execution, shooting by firing squad was the method chosen to apply Sharia death sentences in Yemen and Somalia.
Sharia law provides for pardon to the condemned person by the family of the victim, in return for blood money, or diyya, should the family want it. Condemned prisoners were pardoned under this law in both Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2003.
In some Muslim-majority countries, blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, other prophets or the scriptures, is also a capital crime. In 2003, only Pakistan and Iran issued death sentences for blasphemy. In the latter, on May 3, 2004, the Hamedan court confirmed the death sentence passed the previous year on University professor and war veteran Hashem Aghajari, found guilty of promoting a reform of Islam featuring more liberty for the individual with respect to the religious authorities and questioning the clerics´ right to be the only ones authorised to interpret the Koran´s teachings.

Death penalty for minors

Blatantly ignoring the customary international law norm that prohibits the execution of people who were under 18 at the time of the crime, 3 countries executed minors: Iran, China and the United States (Oklahoma). Three minors were put to death.
These executions were also in open contrast with the legislative and judicial processes underway in these countries banning the execution of juveniles.
In December 2003, the Iranian Parliament approved a law establishing special tribunals to judge juveniles and excluding people under 18 at the time of the crime from execution, life terms and whippings. The legislation was submitted for consideration by the Guardians´ Council, which has to approve it for the law to become effective.
China amended its penal code to prohibit the execution of minors in October 1997, yet continues to put them to death.
In August 2003, the Supreme Court of the US state of Missouri ruled that the execution of juveniles is unconstitutional. Missouri´s state attorney appealed to the US Supreme Court, which accepted the case for consideration on January 26, 2004. The Supreme Court had already dealt with the issue in Stanford vs Kentucky (1989), and authorised the execution of people who were 16 or 17 at the time of the crime. It will commence consideration of this new case, involving Christopher Simmons, in the autumn session of 2004.

The "war on drugs"

Drug-related crimes were a substantial contributor to the death penalty machine in 2003. Legislation relating to drugs was made tougher and several governments - particularly Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - cracked down on drug-trafficking.
Of Saudi Arabia´s 52 recorded executions for 2003, 30 were drug-related.
China again marked June 26, the international day against drug abuse, with a wave of public executions. Those that were reported in Chinese media only were at least 65. Many of these executions took place after public sentencing rallies in which thousands of people gathered to watch the judges pass the death sentences.
According to authorities in Iran a substantial amount of the executions carried out in the country are drug-related. However, human rights monitors have said that a good number of the people put to death for ordinary crimes, particularly drug crimes, are in fact political dissidents.
In Singapore the death penalty is mandatory for the trafficking of 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine and 500 grams of cannabis. Of 2003´s 14 executions, at least 6 were for drug-trafficking.
Three of the four people put to death in Thailand in 2003 were condemned on drug charges. Moreover, Thailand´s government-declared "war on drugs" led to a wave of ´gangland killings´ and deaths in firefights with police. The Interior Ministry´s drug repression centre said that in the first 24 days of February alone, 977 people died in such killings, whereas 16 suspects were allegedly killed in self-defence by the police.
Vietnam´s escalation of executions in 2003 put particular emphasis on drug crimes. According to reports published on the regime´s media, 63 of the 110 people that faced the firing squad were convicted on drug charges.

The "war on terrorism"

New anti-terrorism legislation was approved in Indonesia, Morocco, Taiwan and Qatar in 2003. Special anti-terror laws at times include the death penalty, and invariably a restriction of civil liberties.
The war on terrorism continued to serve as a front for internal violations of human rights, particularly in authoritarian and illiberal countries. Such states in 2003 executed or persecuted people accused of terrorism, but in reality engaged in peaceful opposition or other activities displeasing to the ruling regimes. China used the ´war´ to repress Tibetan political prisoners and leaders of the Islamic Uighur people struggling to establish an independent state in the Xinjiang region, that the Uighurs call East Turkestan; Iran cracked down in its Kurd militants and Uzbekistan on its Islamic ones.

Persecution of adherents to religious and spiritual movements

Members of religious or spiritual movements unauthorised by the State were again subject to persecution, interrogation, incarceration and physical abuse in 2003. Asian Communist regimes were the worst offenders.
In China, hundreds of places of worship - clandestine mosques, Tibetan temples, Catholic churches, indigenous Protestant churches - were shut down by the police and in some cases, demolished. Between June and August 2003, over 50 adherents to the Falun Gong movement died in labour camps, many as a result of torture.
North Korea continued to persecute Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists and members of clandestine Christian churches. Christians were imprisoned, beaten, tortured and killed for reading the Bible or preaching about God, and particularly for having ties with evangelical groups operating across the border in China.
Vietnam singled out "illegal" Christian churches because they are "contaminated by American Protestants and therefore opposed to national interests" according to government propaganda. The repression was particularly hard on the Montagnards, a Christian Protestant ethnic minority in the Central Highlands. The South Carolina-based Montagnard Foundation, that fights to protect the rights of the hill people, also known as Degar, denounced a number of summary executions by Vietnamese authorities in 2003. On April 10, 2004, at Easter, Christian Montagnards demonstrated in the Central Highlands for an end to religious persecution, the seizure of ancestral lands, and the negation of political autonomy they are subject to. Vietnamese paramilitary forces attacked the demonstrators. Human Rights Watch, on April 22, reported scores of people wounded during the demonstrations, including some beaten "to death." The Montagnard Foundation reported 400 people dead.

Top secret capital punishment

Several countries, mainly authoritarian ones, do not issue official statistics on capital punishment.
China classes information on the death penalty as a state secret, and aside from a few hundred executions reported by local media, the estimates on the real number of executions were based on diplomatic sources and western media up to 2001, when these were supplemented by more precise information provided by sources from within the ruling regime.
Belarus, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan continue the Soviet practice of considering executions a state secret. Statistics for these countries are estimated by international human rights organisations, based on reports by state-controlled media or through the families of executed prisoners. In these countries too, the number of people put to death is probably much higher than that reported.
For countries like Iran, Vietnam or Yemen, execution statistics are based on news published by state-controlled media only.
There are even countries were executions are completely covert, and news does not even filter through to local media. North Korea and Syria are two cases in point.

The "humane" lethal injection

In 2003, some countries decided to change their method of execution to lethal injection. The move was seen as a civilised development in that lethal injection is considered a more humane means of ending people´s lives.
In March 2003, the Department of Justice of China´s Yunnan province provided intermediate courts with 18 specially-modified vans to execute condemned people directly after the sentence on site. Liu Huafu, 21 and his accomplice, Zhou Chaojie, 25, two farmers condemned to death for trafficking heroin, "benefited from the latest advance in China´s judicial system," state daily Beijing Today wrote. "The use of lethal injection shows that the death penalty system in China is becoming more civilised and humane," Zhao Shijie, chairman of the Yunnan Supreme Court told the paper.
After 68 years and 319 people shot dead behind a curtain on the orders of the state, on December 12, 2003, the first executions through lethal injection took place in Thailand´s notorious Bang Kwang prison, better known as the Bangkok Hilton. "We have for the first time switched to lethal injection on humanitarian grounds because this method is less painful," Corrections Department director general Nathee Chitsawang said at the jail. He said three drugs were used in the executions - the first sedated the convict, the second relaxed the muscles and the third stopped the heart.

Hangman wanted

The death penalty system has run into snags on various occasions for lack of people willing to work as executioners.
In 2003, more such cases occurred, particularly in India. Jharkhand state had 12 men on death row and one jail, Hazaribag, equipped with execution facilities, but no executions have been carried out there since 1964 as the jail has no hangman. In 1964, a prisoner serving a life sentence turned hangman when prison officials couldn´t find anyone to do the job. Ranchi jail had faced a similar situation in 1995 when a prisoner had to be taken to Bhagalpur for his execution. That time, prison officials "tried hard to convince some of the jail inmates to execute some death sentences, but failed," a senior official in the prison department told the Hindustan Times. Bhagalpur prison had 36 prisoners on death row in 2003, but none were executed because there was no hangman. The last hangman had died and no replacement had yet been found.
In February 2003, warders and directors at Papua New Guinea´s Bomana prison said they did not want to be the ones to hang a convicted killer. Jail superintendent David Melange told The Australian: "I think it´s best that the judge come here and do it himself. The whole staff-prison population here will oppose it." "We don´t want to hang people," Acting Corrective Services Commissioner Kelly Karella said. "Our role should be caring for prisoners." The Governor of Morobe Province, Luther Wenge, said laws must be passed to force jail officials to execute prisoners on death row. "Otherwise we should hire executioners from Texas in the United States," he said, referring to the frequent use of capital punishment in the southern US state.


On February 13 and 14, 2004, HOC organised in Rome an international conference entitled "Moratorium on Executions". The two-day event was attended by government and parliament representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia. In all of these countries the process of democratization has also included positive steps towards abolition.
The Rome Conference approved a project for lobbying against capital punishment in African countries through missions, regional conferences and public awareness campaigns. The primary aim of this project would be a continent-wide moratorium on executions with a view to abolition.
Africa can take on a role that would be both symbolic and decisive with regard to a worldwide moratorium on executions.
All civil wars of modern times perpetrated the worst breaches of international human rights law: genocide, mutilation, mass rape, summary executions and deportations. But only in Africa did these violations reach catastrophic dimensions. Millions died in Sierra Leone, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan. The latter´s internal turmoil in 2003 exploded in the Darfur region, on the border with Chad, and caused thousands of victims and refugees.
Faced with massacres of such vast proportions, victims´ rights must be safeguarded and those responsible punished. However capital punishment cannot be the redress for impunity - all the genocides carried out in Africa took place in retentionist countries. The real deterrent is the certainty that the perpetrator will answer for his/her crimes in a court of law.
By an active participation in a global campaign such as the one for a worldwide moratorium on executions Africa could demonstrate that it is no longer just the land of coups, summary and capital executions, but, on the contrary a continent able to communicate the message of non-violence.
Moreover, Africa is the continent with the highest number of countries that have not carried out executions for over ten years (de facto abolitionists): 18 of the total 32 de facto abolitionist UN member states. It is the group of countries that could tip the balance in a vote at the UNGA on a pro-moratorium resolution.
HOC forecasts that a resolution for "a moratorium on executions, with a view to completely abolishing the death penalty" at the UNGA would be approved with 97-104 votes in favour, 17-25 abstentions and 63-69 votes against. An amendment upholding "domestic jurisdiction" that will certainly be presented by retentionist states such as Egypt or Singapore would be probably co-sponsored by 62 countries and rejected by a vote of 96 against to 76 in favour, with 17 abstentions and 2 countries possibly voting against or abstaining.