Capital punishment by country

The following is a summary of the use of capital punishment by country. Globally, of the 195 United Nations states, 55 countries retain capital punishment, 104 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, eight have abolished it for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes) and 28 are abolitionist in practice.

104 (54%) have abolished it for all crimes, most recently: Madagascar (2015), Fiji (2015), Republic of the Congo (2015), Suriname (2015), Nauru (2016), Benin (2016), Mongolia (2017), Guinea (2017)Execution of minors


28 (14%) have abolished it de facto, namely, according to Amnesty International standards, that they have not executed anyone during the last decade or more and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions.


16 (46%) have abolished capital punishment.Many Caribbean countries have carried out no executions for over 10 years, but are not believed to have an abolitionist policy or established practice.


1 (1%) has abolished it for ordinary crimes, but retains it for crimes committed under special circumstances, such as war crimes.


1 (3%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.


Note: Where a country has abolished, re-instated, and abolished again (e.g. Philippines, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy) only the later abolition date is included. Countries which have abolished and since reinstated (e.g. Liberia) are not included. Non-independent territories are considered to be under the jurisdiction of their parent country – which leads to unexpectedly late abolition dates for the UK, New Zealand and the Netherlands, where Jersey (UK), the Cook Is (NZ), and the Netherlands Antilles, were the last territories of those states to abolish capital punishment, and all were rather later than the more well known abolitions on the respective mainlands. Defunct countries such as the GDR (East Germany), which abolished capital punishment in 1987 but was dissolved in 1990, are also not included. References are in the continental tables above and not repeated here.


The following is a summary of the use of capital punishment by country. Globally, of the 195 United Nations states, 55 countries retain capital punishment, 104 countries have completely abolished it de jure for all crimes, eight have abolished it for ordinary crimes (while maintaining it for special circumstances such as war crimes) and 28 are abolitionist in practice.


Executions in the Americas in 2019: United States (22).Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.


12 (86%) have abolished it.Only Papua New Guinea and Tonga have not formally abolished capital punishment despite not using the practice since 1954 and 1982 respectively. The most recent countries to abolish capital punishment in Oceania are Samoa (2004), Fiji (2015), and Nauru (2016).


2 (14%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.


Of the 62 sovereign states categorized as 'very high' on the 2019 issue of the Human Development Index (referring to 2018), 11 perform capital punishment: Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Belarus, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Taiwan. In South Korea, Russia, Qatar, the Bahamas, Barbados, and Brunei, a moratorium is in practice. In Israel, Kazakhstan, and Chile, it is restricted to crimes committed in wartime. All other countries in this category have abolished capital punishment.


21 (39%) have abolished it.Many African countries have carried out no executions for over 10 years, but are not believed to have an abolitionist policy or established practice.


Death Penalty Worldwide Academic research database on the laws, practice, and statistics of capital punishment for every death penalty country in the world.


Currently (2020), the United States is the only country in the Americas to conduct executions. The last execution elsewhere in the region was in Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2008. The countries in the Americas that most recently abolished the death penalty are Suriname (2015), Argentina (2009), and Bolivia (2009). Guatemala abolished the death penalty for civil cases in 2017.


6 (14%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.


Asia-Pacific (12 countries): Bahrain (3), Bangladesh (1), China (unknown number), Iran (256+), Japan (3), North Korea (unknown number), Pakistan (6+), Saudi Arabia (184+), Singapore (2+), Syria (unknown number), Vietnam (unknown number), Yemen (7+)


Since 2009, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and South Sudan have executed offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed, contravening the Convention on the Rights of the Child.Public execution


In 2019, Asia had the world's 5 leading practitioners of capital punishment – China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. The most recent countries to abolish capital punishment in Asia are Timor-Leste (2002), Bhutan (2004), Philippines (2006), Kyrgyzstan (2007), Uzbekistan (2008), and Mongolia (2017).Executions in 2019: Bahrain (3), Bangladesh (1), China (unknown number), Iran (256+), Japan (3), North Korea (unknown number), Pakistan (6+), Saudi Arabia (184+), Singapore (2+), Syria (unknown number), Vietnam (unknown number), Yemen (7+)Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.


Russia retains the death penalty in law, but there is a moratorium. The last execution on Russian territory was in Chechnya in 1999. Of the other former Soviet republics, only Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan have not formally abolished capital punishment, and only Belarus uses it in practice. In Kazakhstan, it may only be used in exceptional/special circumstances such as for crimes committed in wartime, and only one individual is on death row.


The European Union holds a strong position against the death penalty; its abolition is a key objective for the Union's human rights policy. Abolition is also a pre-condition for entry into the European Union. In Europe, only Belarus and the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic continue to actively use capital punishment.Capital punishment has been completely abolished in all European countries except for Belarus and Russia, the latter of which has a moratorium and has not conducted an execution since 1999. The absolute ban on the death penalty is enshrined in both the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) and two widely adopted protocols of the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and is thus considered a central value. Of all modern European countries, San Marino, Portugal and the Netherlands were the first to abolish capital punishment, whereas only Belarus still practices capital punishment in some form or another. In 2012, Latvia became the last EU Member State to abolish capital punishment in wartime.


The table below lists in chronological order the 105 independent states, that are either UN members or have UN observer status, that have completely abolished the death penalty. In the hundred years following the abolition of capital punishment by Venezuela in 1863 only 11 more countries followed, not counting temporary abolitions which were later reversed. From the 1960s onwards, abolition became far more popular. 4 countries abolished capital punishment in the 1960s (a record up to that time for any decade), 11 in the 1970s, and a further 10 in the 1980s. After the end of the Cold War, many more countries followed. 36 countries abolished capital punishment in the 1990s, with 9 in 1990 alone, 23 in the 2000s, and 11 in the 2010s. Since 1985, there have been only 8 years when no country has abolished the death penalty: 1988, 2001, 2003, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2018.


Historically, capital punishment has been used in almost every part of the world. Currently, the large majority of countries have either abolished or discontinued the practice. Japan has the highest inequality-adjusted HDI (Human Development Index, of the United Nations Development Programme) of any country to use the death penalty; Singapore has the highest unadjusted HDI. The use of capital punishment is usually divided into the four categories set out below. As of July 2018, of the 195 independent states that are UN members or have UN observer status:


8 (4%) have abolished it de facto, namely that they have not executed anyone during the last 14 or more years and have abolished it de jure, but retain it for exceptional or special circumstances (such as crimes committed in wartime).


In 2019, Egypt was Africa's leading executioner. Libya has conducted extrajudicial executions. This century the following African countries have abolished capital punishment; Ivory Coast (2000), Senegal (2004), Rwanda (2007), Burundi (2009), Togo (2009), Gabon (2010), Congo (2015), Madagascar (2015), Benin (2016), and Guinea (2017).In 2018, The Gambia announced a moratorium as a first step toward abolition.Executions in Africa in 2019: Botswana (1), Egypt (29+), Somalia (13+), South Sudan (7+)Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.


Executions in Europe in 2019: Belarus (2+)Note: The tables can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically using the icon.


17 (33%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.


The information above is accurate as of 2017, when Guinea abolished capital punishment. Chad abolished the death penalty in 2014, but restored it for terrorism in 2015.


9 (21%) have abolished it.The information above is accurate as of 2017, when Mongolia abolished the death penalty, and does not include Taiwan, which is not currently a UN member; Taiwan practises the death penalty by shooting, and conducted one execution in 2016 and one in 2018. Hong Kong and Macau are also listed below (they have abolished the death penalty), but they are not included in the figures above as they do not have UN membership separate from China.


47 (96%) have completely abolished it.Abolition of death penalty is a pre-condition for entry into the European Union, which considers capital punishment a "cruel and inhuman" practice and "not been shown in any way to act as a deterrent to crime".Since 1999, Belarus has been the only recognized country in Europe to carry out executions. 2009 and 2015 were the first two years in recorded history when Europe was completely free of executions. This century the following European countries have abolished capital punishment: Ukraine (2000), Malta (2000), Cyprus (2002), Turkey (2004), Greece (2004), Moldova (2005), Albania (2007), Latvia (2012), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (2019).


In some countries the practice of extrajudicial execution outside their own formal legal frameworks occurs sporadically or systematically. Information on this is not covered in this article.


Most executions worldwide take place in Asia. China is the world's most active death penalty country; according to Amnesty International, China executes more people than the rest of the world combined per annum. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, the numbers of executions are also very high. In North Korea, the state utilizes the death penalty against high-level criminals and those suspected of committing "grave" offences. Of the 11 countries with a "very high" Human Development Index which practice executions, 9 are in Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2017, Mongolia repealed the death penalty. India executes criminals only in extreme cases. Only 30 executions have taken place in India since 1991, the last of the execution of four perpetrators of a gang rape and murder case on 20 March 2020.


In Africa, there are several countries that use the death penalty. Chad abolished the death penalty in 2014, but reintroduced it for acts of terrorism in 2015, executing 10 terrorists shortly after; these are the last executions in Chad to date. Botswana, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Nigeria are examples of other countries that still execute people. In 2018, Burkina Faso repealed the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and The Gambia announced a moratorium as a first step toward abolition.


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In 2013, public executions were carried out by the governments of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia.Extrajudicial execution


It was in the Kingdom of Tahiti (when the island was independent), in 1824, that for the first time in the world a legislative assembly abolished the death penalty, commuted into banishment. Nearly all countries in this region have abolished the death penalty as a form of punishment, and the two countries that still have it in law (Papua New Guinea and Tonga) have not used it in years. The last known executions in this region took place in Tonga in 1982.


In the Caribbean countries, the death penalty exists at least de jure, except in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which abolished it in 1969 and 1987, respectively. The last execution in the Caribbean, and the last in the Americas outside the United States, was in Saint Kitts and Nevis in 2008. In Central and South America, the death penalty exists in Belize and Guyana, though it has not been used in years. In Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru, the death penalty is only legal in exceptional/special circumstances such as for crimes committed in wartime and was abolished for other crimes. Opinion polls state sentiment for governments to return to capital punishment remains high in many Caribbean countries and pressure on politicians to retain it factors high.


Europe (1 country): Belarus (2+)Precise numbers are not available for many countries, so the total number of executions is unknown. Other countries like Libya have conducted extrajudicial executions.