Does the Rest of the World Matter? Sovereignty, International Human Rights Law and the American Death Penalty

By Oko Elechi / Eric Lamber / Alan W. Clarke / Queen's Law Journal / Laurie Anne Whitt, on 1 January 2004

American officials have indicated that extra efforts will be used to ensure that captured terrorist suspects face the death penalty. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has stated that the U.S. military will “try to prevent enemy leaders from falling into the hands of peacekeeping troops from allied nations that might oppose capital punishment.” Americans should be troubled to learn that the United States is out of step with an emerging worldwide consensus that the death penalty, even for the most heinous terrorist, “has no legitimate place in the penal systems of modern civilised societies.” As of July 2004, 117 nations were abolitionist in law or in practice, while only 80 retained the death penalty. The entire Council of Europe–45 nations ranging from Iceland to Russia–now constitutes a death penalty free zone.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Networks,