È il dato fornito da Amnesty International nel rapporto annuale. Nel 2005 oltre duemila le sentenze capitali eseguite. I Paesi dove il boia lavora di più sono la Cina e, con cifre assai minori, Iran, Arabia Saudita e Stati Uniti
Poco più di duemila esecuzioni capitali, 2.148 per la precisione, in ventidue Pesi del mondo. È questa la cifra più significativa del Rapporto 2005 sulla pena di morte le cui parti principali sono qui leggibili, in lingua inglese, come documenti correlati curato da Amnesty International e dal quale risulta anche che sono ben ventimila i detenuti condannati a morte ed attualmente in attesa dell'esecuzione. Quanto al trend delle esecuzioni, questo appare in calo rispetto al 2004 nel quale erano state 3.797 ma in aumento notevole rispetto al 2003 nel quale ne erano state censite poco più di mille. È tuttavia indispensabile ricordare che la raccolta dei dati non è un'operazione facile, poichè in molti Paesi non abolizionisti non esistono cifre ufficiali sulle esecuzioni e i dati relativi sono spesso frutto di informazioni confidenziali raccolte da organizzazioni per i diritti umani vi sono Paesi dove i dati sulle condanne capitali, ricorda Amnesty, sono considerati segreti di Stato. E d'altra parte a guidare la classifica dei Paesi dove il boia è più attivo si staglia la Cina con 1.770 condanne a morte ufficialmente eseguite nello scorso anno che, tuttora, non offre ampie garanzie sul rispetto dei diritti umani e civili e, secondo fonti interne indipendenti, il numero delle esecuzioni volute da Pechino sarebbe almeno tre volte quello ufficiale. Una spiegazione è nel diritto penale interno. Nei codici cinesi sono 68 I reati per i quali è possibile emettere una condanna alla pena capitale e non si tratta soltanto di crimini violenti per esempio si può finire nelle mani del carnefice per evasione fiscale, per appropriazione indebita e anche per I reati più gravi legati alla droga. Con il forte contributo di Pechino la sommatoria delle esecuzioni portate a termine in Cina, Iran, Arabia Saudita e Stati Uniti arriva a costituire il 94 per cento del totale delle condanne a morte eseguite nel mondo. Dopo la Cina il rapporto indica l'Iran, con 94 condanne a morte eseguite lo scorso anno modalità principali l'impiccagione e la lapidazione l'Iran, ricorda Amnesty, è l'unico Stato a prevedere esplicitamente la possibilità di condannare a morte anche soggetti minorenni. Alle spalle di Teheran, con una minima differenza, si colloca l'Arabia Saudita con 86 esecuzioni compiute in genere mediante decapitazione e quindi gli Stati Uniti con sessanta condanne a morte eseguite modalità prevalenti l'iniezione letale o la sedia elettrica . Le denunce dell'organizzazione umanitaria, tuttavia, mirano anche a sensibilizzare l'opinione pubblica mondiale anche sulle misure degradanti e inumane che, in alcuni Paesi, aggravano le condizioni dei detenuti nei bracci della morte. Ad esempio in Bielorussia e in Uzbekhistan nè i prigionieri nè i loro familiari vengono informati sulla data dell'esecuzione in altri casi, quando i detenuti sono stranieri o appartengono a minoranze etniche, non vengono utilizzati interpreti neppure nelle fasi processuali, di fatto impedendo ogni esercizio del diritto di difesa. Nel bilancio complessivo sulla diffusione della pena di morte, tuttavia, emerge anche un dato positivo ed è la tendenza crescente all'abolizionismo. Negli ultimi venti anni il numero degli Stati che eseguono condanne capitali si è infatti dimezzato e nel 2005, in particolare, il dato è risultato in calo per il quarto anno consecutivo. In due Stati, la Liberia e il Messico, la pena di morte è stata abolita dai codici penali e appena tre giorni fa - quando il rapporto di Amnesty International era già pronto ma aggiornamenti costanti sono pubblicati sul sito dell'organizzazione - anche le Filippine hanno annunciato una moratoria nelle esecuzioni. E il presidente Gloria Arroyo ha convertito in carcere a vita le quasi milleduecento sentenze di condanna a morte già emesse. m.c.m.
Amnesty International Fact and Figures on the Dealth Penalty 2006, April 20 1. Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries Over half the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Amnesty International's latest information shows that 86 countries and territories have abolished the death penalty for all crimes 11 countries have abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes 25 countries can be considered abolitionist in practice they retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past 10 years or more making a total of 122 countries which have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. 74 other countries retain and use the death penalty, but the number of countries which actually execute prisoners in any one year is much smaller. 2. Progress Towards Worldwide Abolition Over 40 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes since 1990. They include countries in Africa recent examples include Cote dIvoire and Liberia, , the Americas Canada, Mexico, Paraguay , Asia and the Pacific Bhutan, Samoa, Turkmenistan and Europe and the South Caucasus Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey . 3. Moves to Reintroduce the Death Penalty Once abolished, the death penalty is seldom reintroduced. Since 1985, over 50 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or, having previously abolished it for ordinary crimes, have gone on to abolish it for all crimes. During the same period only four abolitionist countries reintroduced the death penalty. One of them, Nepal, has since abolished the death penalty again one, the Philippines, resumed executions, but later stopped. There have been no executions in the other two Gambia, Papua New Guinea . 4. Death Sentences and Executions During 2005, at least 2,148 prisoners were executed in 22 countries and 5,186 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries. These figures include only cases known to Amnesty International the true figures are certainly higher. In 2005, 94 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA. Based on public reports available, Amnesty International estimated that at least 1,770 people were executed in China during the year, although the true figures were believed to be much higher. A Chinese legal expert was quoted as stating the figure for executions is approximately 8,000 based on information from local officials and judges, but official national statistics on the application of the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Iran executed at least 94 people and Saudi Arabia at least 86, but the totals may have been much higher. Sixty people were executed in the USA. 5. Methods of Execution Executions have been carried out by the following methods since 2000 Beheading - in Saudi Arabia, Iraq Electrocution - in USA Hanging - in Egypt, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Pakistan, Singapore and other countries Lethal injection - in China, Guatemala, Philippines, Thailand, USA Shooting - in Belarus, China, Somalia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam and other countries Stoning - in Afghanistan, Iran 6. Use of the Death Penalty Against Child Offenders International human rights treaties prohibit anyone under 18 years old at the time of the crime being sentenced to death. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child all have provisions to this effect. More than 110 countries whose laws still provide for the death penalty for at least some offences have laws specifically excluding the execution of child offenders or may be presumed to exclude such executions by being parties to one or another of the above treaties. A small number of countries, however, continue to execute child offenders. Eight countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18 years old at the time of the crime - China, Congo Democratic Republic , Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen. China, Pakistan and Yemen have raised the minimum age to 18 in law. The USA executed more child offenders than any other country 19 between 1990 and 2003 before the US Supreme Court ruled in March 2005 that the execution of children under the age of 18 was unconstitutional. 7. The Deterrence Argument Scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002, concluded it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment. Reference Roger Hood, The Death Penalty A World-wide Perspective, Oxford, Clarendon Press, third edition, 2002, p. 230 8. Effect of Abolition on Crime Rates Reviewing the evidence on the relation between changes in the use of the death penalty and crime rates, a study conducted for the United Nations in 1988 and updated in 2002 stated The fact that all the evidence continues to point in the same direction is persuasive a priori evidence that countries need not fear sudden and serious changes in the curve of crime if they reduce their reliance upon the death penalty . Recent crime figures from abolitionist countries fail to show that abolition has harmful effects. In Canada, for example, the homicide rate per 100,000 population fell from a peak of 3.09 in 1975, the year before the abolition of the death penalty for murder, to 2.41 in 1980, and since then it has declined further. In 2003, 27 years after abolition, the homicide rate was 1.73 per 100,000 population, 44 per cent lower than in 1975 and the lowest rate in three decades. Reference Roger Hood, The Death Penalty A World-wide Perspective, Oxford, Clarendon Press, third edition, 2002, p. 214 9. International Agreements to Abolish the Death Penalty One of the most important developments in recent years has been the adoption of international treaties whereby states commit themselves to not having the death penalty. Four such treaties now exist The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has now been ratified by 56 states. Eight other states have signed the Protocol, indicating their intention to become parties to it at a later date. The Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty which has been ratified by eight states and signed by one other in the Americas. Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms European Convention on Human Rights , which has been ratified by 45 European states and signed by one other. Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms European Convention on Human Rights , which has been ratified by 33 European states and signed by 10 others. Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights is an agreement to abolish the death penalty in peacetime. The other two protocols provide for the total abolition of the death penalty but allow states wishing to do so to retain the death penalty in wartime as an exception. Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights provides for the total abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. 10. Execution of the Innocent As long as the death penalty is maintained, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. Since 1973 122 US prisoners have been released from death row after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death. There were six such cases in 2004 and two in 2005. Some prisoners had come close to execution after spending many years under sentence of death. Recurring features in their cases include prosecutorial or police misconduct the use of unreliable witness testimony, physical evidence, or confessions and inadequate defence representation. Other US prisoners have gone to their deaths despite serious doubts over their guilt. The then Governor of the US state of Illinois, George Ryan, declared a moratorium on executions in January 2000. His decision followed the exoneration of the 13th death row prisoner found to have been wrongfully convicted in the state since the USA reinstated the death penalty in 1977. During the same period, 12 other Illinois prisoners had been executed. In January 2003 Governor Ryan pardoned four death row prisoners and commuted all 167 other death sentences in Illinois. 11. The Death Penalty in the USA 60 prisoners were executed in the USA in 2005, bringing to 1,004 the total number executed since the use of the death penalty was resumed in 1977. Around 3,400 prisoners were under sentence of death as of 1 January 2006. 38 of the 50 US states provide for the death penalty in law. The death penalty is also provided under US military and federal law.
Amnesty International The Delth Penalty development in 2005 2006, April 20 ABOLITION The world continued to move closer to the universal abolition of capital punishment during 2005. By the end of the year 86 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes see Table 1 . A further 11 countries had abolished it for all but exceptional crimes, such as wartime crimes. At least 25 countries were abolitionist in practice they had not carried out any executions for the previous 10 years or more and were either believed to have an established practice of not carrying out executions or had made an international commitment not to do so. Seventy-four other countries and territories retained the death penalty, but not all of them passed death sentences and most did not carry out executions during the year see below, Death sentences and executions . Regular updates on abolitionist and retentionist countries are posted on the Amnesty International website at www.amnesty.org/deathpenalty Liberia On 16 September, Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transition Government of Liberia since former President Charles Taylor relinquished power in 2003, ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR which provides for the total abolition of the death penalty. This followed the 18 other international human rights treaties the government had signed or ratified in September 2004. Mexico On 21 April the only remaining provision in Mexican criminal law permitting the death penalty was abolished. The Mexican Chamber of Deputies unanimously voted to reform the military penal code and replace the death penalty with prison terms of 30 to 60 years for serious offences. Although the last execution for ordinary crimes took place in 1937, and the last execution under the military penal code in 1961, military courts continued to pass death sentences which were then commuted by the president. On June 23, the Mexican House of Representatives approved a constitutional reform by 412 votes in favour and 2 abstentions which explicitly prohibits the death penalty for all crimes. MORATORIA AND SUSPENSIONS OF EXECUTIONS Kyrgyzstan The moratorium on executions which had been in place since 1998 was extended for another year. Draft amendments to the Constitution during the year included the permanent and full abolition of the death penalty. COMMUTATIONS USA - Indiana On 29 August, just two days before Arthur Baird was due to be executed, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels commuted his death sentence on grounds of mental illness. The Governor noted that it is difficult to find reasons not to agree with the findings of the courts that Arthur Baird suffered from mental illness when he murdered his parents and his pregnant wife in 1987. Previously, the Indiana Parole Board had decided against recommending clemency by a vote of three to one, and the state Supreme Court had voted against stopping the execution by three votes to two. USA - Virginia On 29 November, the day before Robin Lovitt was due to become the 1000th person to be executed in the USA, Virginia Governor Mark Warner commuted his execution on grounds that DNA evidence which might have cleared him had been destroyed. INNOCENCE China Several miscarriages of justice in death penalty cases published in the Chinese press in 2005 caused considerable public disquiet and increased momentum towards reform, including moves towards re-introduction of Supreme Court review of all death sentences in China. Nie Shubin, a young farmer from North China, was executed in 1995 for the rape and murder of a local woman. He had reportedly been tortured in police custody. In early 2005, a suspect detained in connection with another case, reportedly confessed to the same crime, apparently describing the crime scene in detail. Judicial authorities later admitted their mistake and Nie Shubin's family is reportedly seeking compensation from the authorities. She Xianglin and Teng Xingshan were both convicted of the murder of their wives in two separate cases in 1994 and 1987 respectively. Both were sentenced to death despite pleas of innocence and allegations that both had confessed because they had been severely beaten during interrogations. In both cases, the alleged murder victims reappeared several years later - in April and June 2005 respectively. She Xianglin's sentence was commuted to 15 years imprisonment after a re-trial. He was released after 11 years in prison on 1 April 2005 and officially cleared of all charges later the same month. He and his family were awarded compensation of 450,000 yuan approx. US $55,500 in October 2005. Teng Xingshan, however, was executed in 1989. USA During 2005 two names were added to the list of US prisoners sentenced to death and later released on grounds of innocence, bringing to 122 the number of such cases since 1973. Derrick Jamison, who was sentenced to death in Ohio in 1985, had charges against him dismissed after serving 20 years on death row. His conviction had been overturned on appeal in 2002 and the prosecuting authorities eventually decided not to retry him. Harold Wilson, who was sentenced to death in 1989 in Pennsylvania, had his death sentence quashed in a review in 1999 when it emerged that his defense counsel at the original trial had failed to investigate and present mitigating evidence. In 2003, the court found that the prosecutor had used racially discriminatory practices in jury selection and granted Harold Wilson a retrial. New DNA evidence confirmed Harold Wilson's innocence and in November 2005 a jury acquitted him of all charges. POSTHUMOUS PARDON USA Lena Baker, who was executed in Georgia in 1945 for the murder of her employer, was granted a formal pardon in August by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. The pardon cited that as she acted in self-defence, she could have been charged with the lesser offence of manslaughter which carries an average sentence of 15 years CLEMENCY India The President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam used his prerogative under Article 72 of the Constitution to request the government, for the second time, to pardon around 50 prisoners who have been sentenced to death. His earlier recommendation for clemency in these cases had been returned by the Home Ministry stating the cases were not fit for a Presidential pardon. In October, President Kalam publicly called for the death penalty to be discussed in Parliament and a comprehensive policy of reform to be drawn up. The newly-appointed Chief Justice of India, Justice Y.K. Saberwal, also expressed his support for abolition of the death penalty, publicly telling reporters that as a citizen of the country, he was in favour of abolishing the death penalty and that as Chief Justice he would apply it only in the rarest of rare cases . The last execution in India took place in August 2004. USA Indiana In January, the outgoing governor of the state of Indiana granted clemency to death row inmate Michael Daniels and commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment. The governor noted that Daniels had an IQ of 77, indicating borderline mental retardation, and that evidence casting doubt on his guilt had never been presented in court. DEFEAT OF ATTEMPTS AT REINTRODUCTION USA - New York In April, the Codes Committee of the New York Assembly the state legislature voted 11-7 against considering legislation to reinstate the death penalty in New York, effectively ending reinstatement of the death penalty in that state during the current session. New York's 1995 death penalty law had been declared invalid by a ruling from the state's highest court in 2004. No executions were carried out under that law. Puerto Rico In May, a federal jury in Puerto Rico rejected the prosecution's appeal for the death penalty against two defendants convicted of murder in the course of an armed robbery in 2002. Puerto Rico has not had an execution since 1927, and prohibits the death penalty in its constitution. However, the US federal death penalty applies to Puerto Rico, in the face of widespread public opposition EXPANSION OF SCOPE Iraq In October the Iraq Parliament passed a law stipulating the death penalty for anyone convicted of committing acts of terror or financing, planning or provoking terrorism. The law defined terrorism as any criminal act against people, institutions or property that aims to hurt security, stability and national unity and introduce terror, fear or horror among the people and cause chaos. It also cited activity threatening to spark sectarian differences or civil war including by arming citizens or encouraging or financing their arming. DEATH SENTENCES AND EXECUTIONS At least 2,148 people were executed in 22 countries in 2005, and at least 5,186 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries, according to Amnesty International. The true figures were certainly higher. As in previous years, the vast majority of executions worldwide were carried out in a tiny handful of countries. In 2005, 94 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, the Saudi Arabia and the USA. Based on public reports available, Amnesty International estimated that at least 1,770 people were executed in China in 2005, but the true figures were believed to be much higher. A Chinese legal expert was recently quoted as stating the figure for executions is approximately 8,000 based on information from local officials and judges, but official national statistics on the application of the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Iran executed at least 94 people, and Saudi Arabia at least 86. There were 60 executions in the USA. See Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2005, April 2006, AI Index ACT 50/002/2006. See below, Table 2, for historical comparisons. RESUMPTION OF EXECUTIONS Iraq Following reinstatement of the death penalty in 2004, criminal courts handed down more than 50 death sentences during 2005. There were three executions. According to Iraqi government spokesman Leith Kubba, Ahmad al-Jaf, 'Uday Dawud al-Dulaimi and Jasim 'Abbas, were hanged on 1 September 2005. All three were said to be members of the Ansar al-Sunna armed group and to have been tried and convicted by a criminal court in al-Kut, southeast of Baghdad. They were sentenced do death on 22 May 2005 on charges of kidnapping, killing police officers and raping women. Palestinian Authority PA On June 12, PA President Mahmoud Abbas authorised the execution of four prisoners. These were the first executions to be carried out by the PA since August 2002. According to PA officials, the President ordered the resumption of executions in response to increased crime and lawlessness in areas of the Occupied Territories which fall under PA jurisdiction Wa'el Sha'ban al-Shoubaki, Salah Khalil Musallam, and 'Oda Muhammad Abu 'Azab, had been sentenced to death in 1995 and 1996 for murder. A fourth man, Muhammad Daoud al-Khawaja, had been sentenced to death for murder in 2000 by the notoriously unfair State Security Court, which has since been abolished. On 22 June, President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly ordered a retrial for all those who had been sentenced to death by the State Security Court. USA - Connecticut On 13 May, the state of Connecticut carried out is first execution since 17 May 1960. Michael Ross had been sentenced to death for the murder of four female teenagers in 1983 and 1984. He was executed after dropping his appeals against his death sentence. MOVES TO STRENGTHEN JUDICIAL REVIEW China On 27 September the Deputy Director of the Supreme People's Court SPC , Wan E'xiang, announced that the SPC would establish three new courts that would reclaim the SPC's prerogative to review all death sentences. In apparent acknowledgement of political interference in the trial process in lower courts, Wan E'xiang claimed this reform will ensure the death penalty process is fully neutral from administrative departments and prevent the intervention of other powers . The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, visited China in late August and met with the Justice Minister and the president of the SPC. She noted that despite China's ratification of several major human rights treaties, the death penalty continues to be applied extensively, and to offences that do not meet the international standard of most serious crimes . She deplored the lack of reliable statistics on the death penalty, stating that transparency is critical for informed public debate on the issue . The death penalty applies to around 68 crimes in China, including non-violent offences such as tax fraud, embezzlement of state property and accepting a bribe. Zambia The Constitution Review Commission CRC has recommended that the death penalty should be retained in the next Constitution following submissions made by petitioners across Zambia. Some of the submissions made to the CRC on fundamental human rights called for the Bill of Rights to be made superior to other provisions of the Constitution. The CRC also recommended that all offences should be eligible for bail and the question of whether bail should be granted or not should be left to the discretion of the courts. It recommended that the Constitution should guarantee the right to judicial review. USE AGAINST CHILD OFFENDERS The use of the death penalty against child offenders - people under 18 years old at the time of the crime - is forbidden under international treaties including the Convention on the Rights of the Child CRC and the ICCPR. . Iran In 2005, at least eight executions of child offenders have been recorded. These include Iman Faroki was executed on 19 January for a crime he allegedly committed when he was 17 years old 18-year-old Ayaz M, and a child, Mahmoud A, were publicly hanged in Mashhad on 19 July. According to reports, they were convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy. An unnamed 17-year-old was among four men executed on 23 August in Bandar Abbas. They were convicted of kidnapping, rape, and theft. On 13 July, Ali Safarpour Rajabi was hanged for killing a police officer in Poldokhtar. He had been sentenced to death in February 2002 when he was 17 years old for a crime committed when he may have been only 16 years old. Farshid Farighi, aged 21, was hanged in prison in the city of Bandar Abbas. He was convicted of five murders, reportedly carried out between the ages of 14 and 16. On 12 September, a 22-year-old convicted of rape was publicly hanged in the southern province of Fars. He had reportedly been sentenced to death in 2000, suggesting that he was under the age of 18 when the crime was committed. On 10 December Rostam Tajik was publicly executed in a park in the city of Esfahan, central Iran He had reportedly been sentenced to qisas retribution specified by the victim's family by the General Court of Esfahan for a murder committed in May 2001 when he was 16 years old. For the past four years, the Iranian authorities have been considering legislation that would prohibit the use of the death penalty for offences committed by persons under the age of 18. Under Article 1210 1 of Iran's Civil Code, the ages of 15 lunar years for boys and nine lunar years for girls are set out as the age of criminal responsibility. In January 2005, following its consideration of Iran's second periodic report on its implementation of the provisions of the CRC, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child the Committee , the body of independent experts established under this Convention to monitor states parties' compliance with the treaty, urged Iran to take the necessary steps to immediately suspend the execution of all death penalties imposed on persons for having committed a crime before the age of 18, to take the appropriate legal measures to convert them to penalties in conformity with the provisions of the Convention and to abolish the death penalty as a sentence imposed on persons for having committed crimes before the age of 18, as required by article 37 of the Convention. Pakistan A decision by the High Court in Lahore in 2004 that the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance JJSO , promulgated in 2000, should be revoked meant that child offenders could once again be sentenced to death in Pakistan. The decision to revoke the JJSO, which the Lahore High Court reportedly found to be unreasonable, unconstitutional and impracticable , would do away with juvenile courts, and children would again be tried under the same procedure as adults. Convictions of juveniles during the time the JJSO was in force between 2000 and December 2004 would not be affected by this judgment, but cases pending in juvenile courts will be transferred to the regular courts. The federal government and a non-governmental organization working on child rights filed appeals against the Lahore High Court judgment and on 11 February 2005 the Supreme Court stayed the Lahore High Court judgment until a decision was made. The Supreme Court did not hear the appeals during 2005 and pending its decision, the JJSO has been temporarily reinstated by the Supreme Court Sudan The new Interim Constitution for Sudan, ratified on 9 July 2005, failed to abolish the death penalty in Sudan, particularly as it applies to those under the age of 18. Article 36 2 of the Interim Constitution states that The death penalty shall not be imposed on a person under the age of eighteen or a person who has attained the age of seventy except in cases of retribution or hudud. This last exception makes the first safeguard almost worthless for instance hudud crimes include murder and burglary over a certain amount, according to the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code. Article 36 2 is incompatible with Sudan's international obligations that prohibit child executions. There is no official record of those on death row or of executions in Sudan. However, Amnesty International receives cases every year of persons convicted to death in Sudan for crimes committed when under 18 years-old. USA The US Supreme Court ruled by five votes to four that the use of the death penalty against people under the age of 18 at the time of the offence contravenes the US Constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments . The decision, delivered on 1 March in the case of Roper v. Simmons, meant that the lives of over 70 child offenders currently on US death rows would be spared and no others would be sentenced to death. In 1989 the Supreme Court had ruled that the use of the death penalty against offenders aged 16 or 17 was not unconstitutional. One of the grounds for the decision was that there was insufficient evidence in the form of state legislation to indicate a national consensus against the use of the death penalty for offenders under 18. In the new decision, the Court noted that five states since 1989 had outlawed the use of the death penalty against offenders under 18 and none had reinstated it. Moreover, of the six states that had executed child offenders since 1989, only three had done so during the past 10 years. In its opinion, written for the majority by Justice Kennedy, the Court concluded that today our society views juveniles. . . as 'categorically less culpable than the average criminal' . However, there are believed to be at least three and possibly as many as six detainees held as enemy combatants at the US Naval Base in Guant namo Bay in Cuba who were under 18 years old when they were taken into custody. The US administration maintains that constitutional protections do not apply to the Guant namo detainees and intends to try some of them before military commissions, executive bodies with the power to impose death sentences. Concerns remain that the detainees could be sentenced to death and executed despite the Roper v. Simmons ruling. USE AGAINST THE MENTALLY ILL USA California Donald Beardslee was executed in California in January despite suffering from severe brain damage. He was sentenced to death in 1984 for a murder committed in 1981. The jury was not presented with evidence of his brain damage, allowing the prosecutor to argue that the defendant was not suffering from any mental disorder . USA - Oklahoma In May, a county judge stopped the execution of Garry Allen in order that his mental competency for execution could be assessed. He had been sentenced to death for murder in 1986. A recent evaluation had suggested that Garry Allen may be legally insane in that he does not understand the reason for, or reality of, his impending execution. The question of his competency will now be decided by a jury. The execution of the insane is prohibited under US constitutional law. At year's end, Garry Allen had not been executed. INTERNATIONAL COURTS International Court of Justice In a memorandum to the US Attorney General dated 28 February 2005, President George W. Bush affirmed that the USA would comply with the International Court of Justice's 2004 decision by having state courts review and reconsider the effect of violations of the Vienna Convention in the cases of 51 Mexican nationals on US death rows who were the subject of the ruling. However, in March, the USA subsequently announced its withdrawal from the Vienna Convention's Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes, the international legal instrument which empowers the ICJ to interpret and apply the terms of the treaty. Inter-American Court The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued two judgements in relation to the application of the death penalty in Guatemala. On 20 June, in the case of Fermin Ram rez v. Guatemala, the Court ordered Guatemala to correct grave judicial errors and reform article 132 of the Penal Code that regulates the crime of murder, stating it violates the principle of legality and the right to a fair trial, and ordered Guatemala to grant a new trial to Fermin Ram rez. On 15 September, the Court issued its judgement in the case of Ronald Ernesto Raxcacot Reyes v. Guatemala. Ronald Ernesto Raxcaco Reyes was sentenced to death for kidnapping, in line with legislation that was modified to expand the scope of the death penalty after Guatemala had already ratified the American Convention on Human Rights which prohibits expansion of the application of the death penalty. The Court ordered Guatemala to suspend Ronald Ernesto Raxcaco Reyes' death sentence and to impose another sentence proportional to the nature and gravity of the crime. The Court also ordered Guatemala not to execute any person condemned to death for the crime of kidnapping under the current legislation. On 3 May a draft law was presented to Congress for the abolition of the death penalty. The Congressional Commission on Legislation and Constitutional Issues was given 45 working days to deliver their judgement on the draft law. Seven months later, and despite international pressure, there still had been no judgement. EXTRADITION In October, the Court of Appeals of Puerto Rico issued a decision regarding the case of Puerto Rican Juan Martinez Cruz and his possible extradition to the State of Pennsylvania in the USA. The Court ruled that the government of Puerto Rico is prohibited by its Constitution to grant the extradition of Juan Mart nez Cruz to a state that may impose the death penalty if he were to be found guilty. In December, the Attorney General appealed this decision to the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico OFFICIAL ADMISSIONS China After years of official denial that such a practice existed, Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu admitted in December that the sale of organs from executed prisoners was widespread. Since. the late 1990s when the method of execution was changed from shooting to lethal injection, there have been reports from medical personnel of being present at executions in mobile execution vans in which they would harvest organs as quickly after death as possible. Speaking to Caijing magazine, Huang Jiefu said new regulations were now being drafted to end the lucrative trade in organ transplants. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS UN Commission on Human Rights A resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions was co-sponsored by 81 countries, five more than in 2004 and the highest number ever. Resolution 2005/59 on The question of the death penalty was adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights on 20 April at the Commission's annual session in Geneva. It was the ninth such resolution adopted by the Commission on Human Rights since 1997. As in previous years, the resolution calls upon all states that still maintain the death penalty to abolish the death penalty completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions . It urges states that still maintain the death penalty to observe agreed UN safeguards and restrictions on the death penalty and not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any mental or intellectual disabilities or to execute any such person . The resolution also contains new elements. It affirms the right of everyone to life and states - for the first time - that abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of this right. This statement represents the closest the UN has yet come to condemning the death penalty as a violation of human rights. The resolution also condemns the application of the death penalty on the basis of any discriminatory legislation, policies or practices and the disproportionate use of the death penalty against persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and calls on states not to impose mandatory death sentences. It calls on states that have recently lifted or announced the lifting de facto or de jure of moratoriums on executions once again to commit themselves to suspend such executions. Resolution 2005/59, backed by the European Union EU , was co-sponsored by all EU countries and attracted many co-sponsors from other parts of the world. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 26 countries in favour and 17 against, with 10 abstentions - a slightly narrower margin than in 2004, when there were 29 countries in favour, 19 against and five abstentions. Nigeria, which had voted against the resolution in previous years, abstained this year its representative explained that the death penalty was currently under review in the country. But the Republic of Congo and Gabon, both of which had voted yes in 2004, abstained this year, and Guinea, which had previously abstained, voted no. As in previous years, a group of countries submitted a statement dissociating themselves from the resolution. This year's statement of dissociation was signed by 66 countries, two more than in 2004 and the highest number yet. Chad and Guinea signed the statement for the first time. UN Quinquennial Report on Capital Punishment Every five years the UN Secretary-General is mandated to produce a report on capital punishment. These reports are a unique source of information because they are based on information supplied by governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and other experts. The Secretary-General's latest quinquennial report, the seventh in the series, was issued in March 2005. Fifty-two governments responded to the Secretary-General's request for information, down from the 53 which supplied information for the previous report in 2000. Only eight countries that retained and enforced the death penalty replied to the survey. The report notes that the number of abolitionist countries continued to increase in the period covered by the survey 1999-2003 . While the pace of change to full abolition was slower, there has been a very substantial reduction in the number of countries that regularly execute their citizens. Furthermore, the rate of executions has fallen. As far as could be ascertained from the data available, 16 of the 43 countries that remained retentionist throughout 1999-2003 executed fewer than 10 people during the period, and 11 of the countries executed fewer than five people. Only 19 countries were known to have carried out 20 or more judicial executions during this time. In only one country, Viet Nam, did the estimated number of executions appear to have increased substantially and regularly during the period. The report includes calculations of the per capita rate of executions in countries reported to have carried out 20 or more executions between 1999 and 2003. As in the previous period, Singapore was found to have the highest per capital rate of executions 6.9 executions per one million population it was followed by Saudi Arabia 3.66 and Jordan 2.08 . INTERNATIONAL TREATIES The community of nations has adopted four international treaties providing for the abolition of the death penalty. One is of worldwide scope the other three are regional. The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty provide for the total abolition of the death penalty but allow states parties to retain it in wartime if they make a reservation to that effect at the time of ratifying or acceding to these protocols. Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty provides for the abolition of the death penalty in peacetime. Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms European Convention on Human Rights concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances provides for the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including time of war or of imminent threat of war. Any state party to the ICCPR, the American Convention on Human Rights or the European Convention on Human Rights can become a party to the respective protocols. The Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR was ratified by Liberia and Mexico in 2005. bringing the total number of ratifications to 56. Another eight others have signed .the protocol. There were no new signatures or ratifications of the Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty during 2005. At year end eight countries had ratified the Protocol and one other had signed it. Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights was ratified by Monaco on 30 November 2005 bringing the total number of ratifications to 45. One other country has signed the protocol. Greece, Monaco, Norway and Slovakia, ratified Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights in 2005 bringing the total number of ratifications to 33. Ten other countries have signed the protocol. Up-to-date lists of states parties and other signatories of international treaties on the death penalty are available on the Amnesty International website at www.amnesty.org/deathpenalty. For a printed list, see Amnesty International, Ratifications of international treaties to abolish the death penalty 1 January 2006 , January 2006, AI Index ACT 50/003/2006. EVENTS World Day against the Death Penalty The third annual World Day against the Death Penalty took place on 10 October. The theme this year was abolition in Africa with events in over 40 countries including Benin, Congo, Mali, Sierra Leone, Hong Kong, France, Germany, India, Japan and Puerto Rico. Events included demonstrations, petitions, concerts and radio and televised and radio debates. The World Day is organized by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, a group of around 40 human rights organizations including Amnesty International, bar associations, trade unions and local and regional authorities which work together towards the abolition of capital punishment. Cities for Life Cities for Life, Cities against the Death Penalty, organized by the Italian organization, the Community of Sant' Egidio, was celebrated on 30 November with the illumination of public buildings in 391 cities and towns in 44 countries. Abidjan in C te d'Ivoire, Lomé in Togo, Montevideo in Uruguay and Reykjav k in Iceland were among the cities that took part in the event for the first time in 2005. OPINION POLLS The annual Gallup poll of America's Moral Values and Beliefs , which has been carried out every year since 1936, was conducted from 2 to 5 May. According to the poll results, support for the death penalty for a murder conviction is currently at 74%, up from last year, while 23% of Americans are against it. The highest figure in support of the death penalty occurred in 1994 with 80% the lowest was in 1966 when it was at 42%. According to the poll, a significant number of Americans, 61%, believe that the death penalty is applied fairly in the USA, despite the fact that 122 prisoners have been released in the USA since 1973 after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which they were sentenced to death and strong evidence of racial bias in the use of capital punishment. TABLE 1 ABOLITIONIST COUNTRIES AT YEAR END, 1981-2005 Year No. countries abolitionist for all crimes No. countries abolitionist in law or practice 1981 27 63 1982 28 63 1983 28 64 1984 28 64 1985 29 64 1986 31 66 1987 35 69 1988 35 80 1989 39 84 1990 46 88 1991 46 83 1992 50 84 1993 53 90 1994 54 96 1995 59 102 1996 60 101 1997 64 103 1998 70 106 1999 73 109 2000 75 109 2001 76 112 2002 78 112 2003 79 118 2004 84 120 2005 86 122 TABLE 2 RECORDED WORLDWIDE EXECUTIONS BY YEAR, 1980-2005 NA = figures not available Year No. countries carrying out executions No. executions recorded No. countries with over 100 executions % of all recorded executions in countries with over 100 executions 1980 29 1229 NA NA 1981 34 3278 NA NA 1982 42 1609 NA NA 1983 39 1399 NA NA 1984 40 1513 4 78% 1985 44 1125 3 66% 1986 39 743 3 56% 1987 39 769 3 59% 1988 35 1903 3 83% 1989 34 2229 3 85% 1990 26 2029 4 84% 1991 32 2086 2 89% 1992 35 1708 2 82% 1993 32 1831 1 77% 1994 37 2331 3 87% 1995 41 3276 3 85% 1996 39 4272 4 92% 1997 40 2607 3 82% 1998 37 2258 2 72% 1999 31 1813 4 80% 2000 28 1457 2 77% 2001 31 3048 2 86% 2002 31 1526 2 77% 2003 28 1146 2 73% 2004 25 3797 2 94% 2005 22 2148* 1 82% *Amnesty International believes that the estimated figure for China still represents only the tip of an iceberg. In March 2005, Liu Renwen, a well-known legal expert, said that as many as 8,000 people are executed per year in China. Abbreviations EU = European Union European Convention on Human Rights = European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ICCPR = International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights UN = United Nations
Amnesty International Death Sentences and Executions in 2005 2006, April 20 During 2005, at least 2,148 people were executed in 22 countries. At least 5,186 people were sentenced to death in 53 countries. These were only minimum figures the true figures were certainly higher. Executions are known to have been carried out in the following countries in 2005 Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan. Korea North , Kuwait, Libya, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Taiwan, Usa, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen Death sentences are known to have been imposed in the following countries and territories in 2005 Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Burundi, China, Congo Democratic Republic , Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Korea North , Korea South , Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad And Tobago, United States Of America, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe As in previous years, the vast majority of executions worldwide were carried out in a tiny handful of countries. In 2005, 94 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA. Based on public reports available, Amnesty International estimated that at least 1,770 people were executed in China during the year, although the true figures were believed to be much higher. A Chinese legal expert was recently quoted as stating the figure for executions is approximately 8,000 based on information from local officials and judges, but official national statistics on the application of the death penalty remained classified as a state secret. Iran executed at least 94 people, and Saudi Arabia at least 86. There were 60 executions in the USA. The total figure for those currently condemned to death and awaiting execution is difficult to access although the estimated number is around 20,000. This figure is based on information from human rights groups, media reports and the limited official figures available.* Again, the true total is probably higher.