NEW YORK, DECEMBER 19 – The world keeps moving back from the death penalty, despite the return of terrorism which, in the past two years, has convinced some countries to restart executions of inmates as a deterrent for violent crimes. A UN resolution was approved by the UN General Assembly with 117 votes, the same number than in 2014, calling upon member states to progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed; and establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Today’s vote matches the wider support ever received for a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
The document, which received 40 “No” (31 countries abstained), calls upon States which have abolished the death penalty not to reintroduce it. In 2015, 104 countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 6 countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes, and 30 countries are abolitionist in practice. Among the 58 retentionist countries and territories, only 25 countries carried out executions that year. Many countries that still retain the death penalty also do not carry out the sentences.
The resolution approved on Monday is not binding but has strong moral value: compared to the 115 Yes gathered in the Third Committee last November today two more countries voted in favor.
At Italy’s instigation, the UN moratorium on the death penalty resolution was presented by the EU in partnership with eight co-author member States in 2007. It is now put to vote every two years. (@alebal)