Saturday 20 December 2008

Further Progress towards Abolition of Death Penalty Shown in UN General Assembly Resolution

Yesterday the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, with a view towards eventual abolition. The voting results are significantly stronger than they were last year, when the resolution was adopted for the first time. Yesterday, the resolution was adopted by 106 votes in favour, compared with 104 votes in favour in 2007. Votes against totalled 46, compared with 54 last year. Abstentions increased to 34, five more than last year.
The results of the resolution simply confirm the continued progression towards abolition of capital punishment worldwide. According to Amnesty International, 137 of the 192 United Nations Member States may be considered abolitionist, either in law or in practice. Approximately 2-3 States abolish the death penalty each year, a trend that exists for more than twenty years. If this continues, the death penalty will disappear in twenty-two years, that is, by 2030.

1 comment:

VC Lindsay said...

I just received an update from a colleague that seemed worth passing on in light of this posting. He reports the status of capital proceedings in the two jurisdictions where I used to practice as defence Counsel in capital habeas corpus proceedings: Texas and California, USA.

In Texas (with 373 people on death row, many of whom are only represented by pro bono counsel following their convictions) there are 8 executions scheduled between 14 January and 12 February 2009.

On the other hand, at the end of January 2009, California (with 667 people on death row) will have gone 3 years without an execution. Chances are very good that we will reach 4 years in January 2010, although 13 inmates are nearing their final appeals.

Meanwhile both States add approximately 30 people per year to their death rows.