ACT 50/01/99, 18/12/1999

THE DEATH PENALTY

LIST OF ABOLITIONIST AND RETENTIONIST COUNTRIES

Revised 18 December 1999


More than half the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Attached is a list of countries, indicating whether or not their laws provide for the death penalty. For abolitionist countries, information is also given, where available, on the date of abolition and the date of the last execution carried out; and for countries which have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, the date when it was abolished for ordinary offences if this was done before. (The date given for abolition is normally the date when the decision to abolish the death penalty was taken, but if that decision only came into effect several years later, the latter date is given.)

Also attached is a list of countries which have abolished the death penalty in law since 1976. It shows that in recent years, an average of two countries a year have abolished the death penalty in law or, having done so for ordinary offences, have gone on to abolish it for all offences.

The number of abolitionist and retentionist countries is now as follows: 

Abolitionist for all crimes 

Abolitionist for ordinary crimes only 

Abolitionist de facto

Total abolitionist in law or practice 

Retentionist 

70

13

23

106

90

The countries are designated as follows. Abolitionist for all crimes are those countries and territories whose laws do not provide for the death penalty for any crimes; abolitionist for ordinary crimes only are those whose laws provide for the death penalty only for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or crimes committed in exceptional circumstances such as wartime; abolitionist de facto are those which retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes but can be considered abolitionist in practice in that they have not executed anyone during the past 10 years or more, or have made an international commitment not to carry out executions; retentionist are those which retain and use the death penalty for ordinary crimes. (Most retentionist countries are known to have carried out executions during the past 10 years. On some countries Amnesty International has no record of executions but is unable to ascertain whether or not executions have in fact been carried out. Several retentionist countries have carried out executions in the past 10 years but have since instituted moratoria on executions.)

1. ABOLITIONIST FOR ALL CRIMES

Abbreviations: Date (A) = date of abolition for all crimes; Date (AO) = date of abolition for ordinary crimes; Date (last ex.) = date of last execution; K = date of last known execution; Ind. = no executions since independence
 
Country Date (A) Date (AO) Date (last ex.)
ANDORRA 1990   1943
ANGOLA 1992    
AUSTRALIA 1985 1984 1967
AUSTRIA 1968 1950 1950
AZERBAIJAN 1998   1993
BELGIUM 1996   1950
BULGARIA 1998   1989
CAMBODIA 1989    
CANADA 1998 1976 1962
CAPE VERDE 1981   1835
COLOMBIA 1910   1909
COSTA RICA 1877    
CROATIA 1990    
CZECH REPUBLIC 1990    
DENMARK 1978 1933 1950
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1966    
EAST TIMOR 1999    
ECUADOR 1906    
ESTONIA 1998   1991
FINLAND 1972 1949 1944
FRANCE 1981   1977
GEORGIA 1997   1994 K
GERMANY 1987    
GREECE 1993   1972
GUINEA-BISSAU 1993   1986 K
HAITI 1987   1972 K
HONDURAS 1956   1940
HUNGARY 1990   1988
ICELAND 1928   1830
IRELAND 1990   1954
ITALY 1994 1947 1947
KIRIBATI     Ind.
LIECHTENSTEIN 1987   1785
LITHUANIA 1998   1995
LUXEMBOURG 1979   1949
MACEDONIA (former Yug. Rep.)      
MARSHALL ISLANDS     Ind.
MAURITIUS 1995   1987
MICRONESIA (Federated States)     Ind.
MOLDOVA 1995    
MONACO 1962   1847
MOZAMBIQUE 1990   1986
NAMIBIA 1990   1988 K
NEPAL 1997 1990 1979
NETHERLANDS 1982 1870 1952
NEW ZEALAND 1989 1961 1957
NICARAGUA 1979   1930
NORWAY 1979 1905 1948
PALAU      
PANAMA     1903 K
PARAGUAY 1992   1928
POLAND 1997   1988
PORTUGAL 1976 1867 1849 K
ROMANIA 1989   1989
SAN MARINO 1865 1848 1468 K
SÃO TOMÉ AND PRINCIPE 1990   Ind.
SEYCHELLES 1993   Ind.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC 1990    
SLOVENIA 1989    
SOLOMON ISLANDS   1966 Ind.
SOUTH AFRICA 1997 1995 1991
SPAIN 1995 1978 1975
SWEDEN 1972 1921 1910
SWITZERLAND 1992 1942 1944
TUVALU     Ind.
UNITED KINGDOM 1998 1973 1964
URUGUAY 1907    
VANUATU     Ind.
VATICAN CITY STATE 1969    
VENEZUELA 1863    


2. ABOLITIONIST FOR ORDINARY CRIMES ONLY

Abbreviations: Date (AO) = date of abolition for ordinary crimes; Date (last ex.) = date of last execution; K = date of last known execution; Ind. = no executions since independence
 
Country Date (AO) Date (last ex.)
ARGENTINA 1984  
BOLIVIA 1997 1974
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 1997  
BRAZIL 1979 1855
COOK ISLANDS    
CYPRUS 1983 1962
EL SALVADOR 1983 1973 K
FIJI 1979 1964
ISRAEL 1954 1962
LATVIA 1999 1996
MALTA 1971 1943
MEXICO   1937
PERU 1979 1979


3. ABOLITIONIST DE FACTO

Abbreviations: Date (last ex.) = date of last execution; K = date of last known execution; Ind. = no executions since independence 
Country Date of Last Execution
ALBANIA  
BERMUDA 1977
BHUTAN 1964 K
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM 1957 K
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 1981
CONGO (Republic) 1982
COTE D'IVOIRE  
DJIBOUTI Ind.
GAMBIA 1981
GRENADA 1978
MADAGASCAR 1958 K
MALDIVES 1952 K
MALI 1980
NAURU Ind.
NIGER 1976 K
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 1950
SENEGAL 1967
SRI LANKA 1976
SURINAME 1982
TOGO  
TONGA 1982
TURKEY 1984
WESTERN SAMOA Ind.


4. RETENTIONIST

AFGHANISTAN
ALGERIA
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
ARMENIA
BAHAMAS
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BARBADOS
BELARUS
BELIZE
BENIN
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMEROON
CHAD
CHILE
CHINA
COMOROS
CONGO (Democratic Republic)
CUBA
DOMINICA
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA
ERITREA
ETHIOPIA
GABON
GHANA
GUATEMALA
GUINEA
GUYANA
INDIA
INDONESIA
IRAN
IRAQ
JAMAICA
JAPAN
JORDAN
KAZAKSTAN
KENYA
KUWAIT
KYRGYZSTAN
LAOS
LEBANON
LESOTHO
LIBERIA
LIBYA
MALAWI
MALAYSIA
MAURITANIA
MONGOLIA
MOROCCO
MYANMAR
NIGERIA
NORTH KOREA
OMAN
PAKISTAN
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
PHILIPPINES
QATAR
RUSSIAN FEDERATION
RWANDA
SAINT CHRISTOPHER AND NEVIS
SAINT LUCIA
SAINT VINCENT AND GRENADINES
SAUDI ARABIA
SIERRA LEONE
SINGAPORE
SOMALIA
SOUTH KOREA
SUDAN
SWAZILAND
SYRIA
TAIWAN
TAJIKISTAN
TANZANIA
THAILAND
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
TUNISIA
TURKMENISTAN
UGANDA
UKRAINE
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UZBEKISTAN
VIET NAM
YEMEN
YUGOSLAVIA (Federal Republic)
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE


COUNTRIES WHICH HAVE ABOLISHED THE DEATH PENALTY SINCE 1976

1976: PORTUGAL abolished the death penalty for all crimes. CANADA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1978: DENMARK abolished the death penalty for all crimes. SPAIN abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1979: LUXEMBOURG, NICARAGUA and NORWAY abolished the death penalty for all crimes. BRAZIL, FIJI and PERU abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1981: FRANCE and CAPE VERDE abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1982: The NETHERLANDS abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1983: CYPRUS and EL SALVADOR abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1984: ARGENTINA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1985: AUSTRALIA abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1987: HAITI, LIECHTENSTEIN and the GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (1) abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1989: CAMBODIA, NEW ZEALAND, ROMANIA and SLOVENIA (2) abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1990: ANDORRA, CROATIA (2), the CZECH AND SLOVAK FEDERAL REPUBLIC (3), HUNGARY, IRELAND, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA and SÃO TOMÉ AND PRINCIPE abolished the death penalty for all crimes NEPAL abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1992: ANGOLA, PARAGUAY and SWITZERLAND abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1993: GREECE, GUINEA-BISSAU, HONG KONG (4) and SEYCHELLES abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1994: ITALY abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1995: MAURITIUS, MOLDOVA and SPAIN abolished the death penalty for all crimes. SOUTH AFRICA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1996: BELGIUM abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1997: GEORGIA, NEPAL, POLAND and SOUTH AFRICA abolished the death penalty for all crimes. BOLIVIA and BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

1998: AZERBAIJAN, BULGARIA, CANADA, ESTONIA, LITHUANIA and the UNITED KINGDOM abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

1999: EAST TIMOR abolished the death penalty for all crimes. LATVIA (5) abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes only.

Notes:

1. In 1990 the German Democratic Republic became unified with the Federal Republic of Germany, where the death penalty had been abolished in 1949.

2. Slovenia and Croatia abolished the death penalty while they were still republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The two republics became independent in 1991.

3. In 1993 the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic divided into two states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

4. In 1996 Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule as a special administrative region of China. Amnesty International understands that Hong Kong will remain abolitionist.

5. In 1999 the Latvian parliament voted to ratify Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the death penalty for peacetime offences.


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