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Japan: Basic Information on Executed Criminals Now Available

(Feb. 2, 2008) On December 7, 2007, the Ministry of Justice of Japan released the names of three executed criminals, together with information on the crimes they committed and the places of the executions. This is the first time the Ministry has released such information. In the past, the Ministry only announced that executions had […]

United States: Execution by Electrocution Held Unconstitutional in Nebraska

(Feb. 2, 2008) On February 8, 2008 the Supreme Court of Nebraska held that execution by means of electrocution constituted "cruel and unusual punishment" under Article I, Section 9 of the Nebraska Constitution and thus that electrocution could no longer be used as a method of execution by the State of Nebraska. Nebraska was the […]

United Nations; United Nations: Call for Death Penalty Moratorium

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on capital punishment. The vote, held in a plenary session, was 104 nations in favor of the moratorium, 54 against, and 29 abstaining. The resolution, as all such U.N. General Assembly resolutions, is non-binding. Secretary-General Ban […]

United States: New Jersey Passes Law Abolishing Death Penalty

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 17, Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey signed legislation abolishing the death penalty and replacing it with life in prison without eligibility of parole. According to a press release issued by the Governor, “New Jersey is the first state in the nation to enact a law to end use of […]

Africa: Death Penalty Developments

(Nov. 2, 2007) The non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) reported in October 2007 on various developments concerning capital punishment in five African countries. Most notably, Rwanda abolished the death penalty on July 27, 2007, resulting in the commutation of the sentences of about 600 death row prisoners to life imprisonment. According to AI, […]

India: Death Sentences for Ex-Legislators in a Lynching Case

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 1, 2007, the Additional Sessions Judge, Ram Krishna Rai, handed down a landmark judgment when he awarded a former member of the Parliament (M.P.), Anand Mohan, and a former member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the State of Bihar, Akhlaq Ahmed, sentences of death in a murder case. The […]

Italy: Repeal of Capital Punishment

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 2, 2007 the Italian Parliament approved Constitutional Law no.1, which amends article 27 of the Constitution, concerning the repeal of capital punishment. The previous reading of the fourth paragraph of article 27 was "Capital punishment is not permitted, except in cases foreseen in the military laws of war" (unofficial translation). […]

Mali: Cabinet Abolishes Death Penalty

(Nov. 2, 2007) L'Essor, a government newspaper in Mali, reported on its Web site on October 18, 2007, that the Cabinet had passed a bill on the abolition of capital punishment, replacing it with life imprisonment. It had been a penalty that could be imposed under article 4 of the August 20, 2001, penal code. […]