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[Press Release] 11th World Day against the Death Penalty: The Death Penalty does not stop crime

October 2013

[English] [français]

The message of the 11th World Day against the Death Penalty is that there is no correlation between abolition of the death penalty and an increase in the crime rate. Too many countries still hold to this theory as a way of placating national public opinion when it is against abolition of the death penalty.

The International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT), an international non-governmental organization which is a member of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, wishes to reemphasize that no scientific study has been able to demonstrate a link between the crime rate and application of the death penalty. In fact, not all those countries which have the highest crime rates are abolitionist, rather the contrary is the case, that many States which maintain the death penalty are seeing an increase in crime. Hence the death penalty is ineffective, since it is no more of a deterrent than any other form of punishment.

The supposedly dissuasive character of the death penalty in no way legitimises its application, any more than does the fight against terrorism or the theory of cultural relativism. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”.

As every year, FIACAT takes the opportunity offered by the World Day against the Death Penalty to urge States to:

  • abolish the death penalty at the earliest possible date, for all crimes;
  • ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;
  • get their population involved in the process of abolition.

As of today, 99 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 7 countries for all crimes other than exceptional ones such war crimes and 35 countries may be considered as de facto abolitionist in that their legislation still provides for the death penalty but they have not carried out any execution for at least ten years. Thus 140 countries have abolished capital punishment de jure or de facto. But 58 countries and territories still maintain and apply it.

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