Research and publications

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

The death penalty is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state.
It is carried out in the name of the nation’s entire population, and affects everyone. Everyone should be aware of what the death penalty is, how it is used, how it affects them and how it violates fundamental rights.

Questions and answers on the DP
Amnesty International answers to questions such as “Why does Amnesty International oppose the death penalty?” and “Isn't the death penalty needed to stop acts of terrorism and political violence?” Other questions relate to lethal injection, families of victims, international law and major religions.

The death penalty vs. human rights: why abolish the death penalty?
Amnesty International called on the UN General Assembly, 62nd session,2007, to adopt a resolution affirming the right to life and stating that abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of human rights and to report on the implementation of the moratorium to the next session of the UNGA.

Global moratorium on executions now:
The death penalty violates the right to life and not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The international community has undertaken significant steps to endorse a global moratorium on executions that aims to achieve worldwide abolition of capital punishment.

The exclusion of child offenders from the death penalty under general international law
The use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders (people convicted of crimes committed under the age of 18) is prohibited under customary international law and as a peremptory norm of general international law (jus cogens).

Children and the death penalty: executions worldwide since 1990
Cases of juvenile offenders executed since 1990 and list of the 113 countries whose laws provide for the death penalty but exclude its use against juvenile offenders.

Constitutional prohibitions of the death penalty
Out of the 57 countries in the world which have abolished the death penalty for all crimes by 1996, 24 went on to prohibit the death penalty in their constitutions, often on human rights grounds. This makes the abolition even more secure. Five other countries had constitutional provisions which limited the crimes for which the death penalty could be imposed. The texts of the relevant constitutional provisions are set forth in this paper.

Human Rights v Death penalty: abolition and restriction in law and practice
The death penalty is a human rights violation. International standards have developed to place tighter restrictions upon it. The growing trend towards abolition has been recognized by international bodies and reflected in the decisions of national courts.

International standards on the death penalty
Extracts from international instruments and other authoritative statements relevant to the abolition of the death penalty, arranged by subject.

Executions rose by almost 15%, compared with 2012. An increasingly isolated group of entrenched executioners, mainly Iraq and Iran, accounted for this sharp spike in executions, bucking the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty.