United Nations report

Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty: Report of the Secretary-General

By United Nations, on 1 January 2005

The present report, prepared pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolutions 1754 (LIV) of 16 May 1973 and 1995/57 of 28 July 1995, and Council decision 2005/247 of 22 July 2005, is the eighth quinquennial report of the Secretary-General on capital punishment. It covers the period 2004-2008 and reviews developments in the use of capital punishment. The report confirms a very marked trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment in most countries. The rate at which States that retained the death penalty at the start of the quinquennium have abolished its use either in law or in practice is comparable with that of previous reporting periods, and may even be accelerating slightly. Moreover, countries that retain the death penalty are, with rare exceptions, significantly reducing its use in terms of numbers of persons executed and the crimes for which it may be imposed. Nevertheless, where capital punishment remains in force, there are serious problems with regard to the respect of international norms and standards, notably in the limitation of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, the exclusion of juvenile offenders from its scope, and guarantees of a fair trial.