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Copyright (c) 2009 The University of Chicago
Crime and Justice

ARTICLE: Abolishing the Death Penalty Worldwide: The Impact of a "New Dynamic"

2009

Crime and Justice

38 Crime & Just. 1

Author

Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle

Excerpt

I. Introduction and a Road Map
On January 1, 2008, Uzbekistan became the ninety-second country to have abolished the death penalty for all criminal offenses, whether committed in wartime or peacetime or under civil or military criminal codes. In addition, 10 other nations had already abolished it for all ordinary crimes against the person committed in peacetime, making the 102 abolitionist nations the majority among the 196 nations in the world. 1 Only 49 of the 94 countries that retained the death penalty in their criminal laws had judicially executed anyone within the previous 10 years, and of the 45 that had not done so, 33 were regarded by Amnesty International as truly "abolitionist in practice," for they apparently had no intention of resuming executions.

Nineteen years earlier, at the end of 1988, twice as many countries (101) both retained the death penalty and had carried out executions within the previous decade, and only 35 had abolished it for all crimes. Uzbekistan was then a part of the Soviet Union, with a wide range of capital offenses and an unknown but no doubt active program of executions. Even as an independent nation, Uzbekistan carried out executions until 2003, with at least 35 people executed between 1999 and 2003.

The purpose of this essay is to chart the characteristics of this remarkable decline in the resort to capital punishment, the routes and processes through which it has been achieved, and the factors and forces that have been most ...
 
 
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