Ideas opposing the death penalty….

1)     Concerning the claim of justice for the victim’s family, I say there is no amount of retaliatory deaths that would compensate to me the inestimable value of my daughter’s life, nor would they restore her to my arms. To say that the death of any other person would be just retribution is to insult the immeasurable worth of our loved ones who are victims. We cannot put a price on their lives. That kind of justice would only dehumanize and degrade us because it legitimates an animal instinct for gut-level blood thirsty revenge…. In my case, my own daughter was such a gift of joy and sweetness and beauty, that to kill someone in her name would have been to violate and profane the goodness of her life; the idea is offensive and repulsive to me.

Marietta Jaeger, whose 7 year-old daughter Susie was kidnapped and murdered in the US in 1973.

2)     Can the state, which represents the whole of society and has the duty of protecting society, fulfill that duty by lowering itself to the level of the murderer, and treating him as he treated others? The forfeiture of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict it on another, even when backed by legal process. And I believe that future generations, throughout the world, will come to agree.

Kofi Annan, Ghanaian diplomat and Secretary General of the United Nations 1997 -2007.

3)     Judicial execution can never cancel or remove the atrocity it seeks to punish; it can only add a second atrocity to the original one… So long as one sees killing as wrong there is no need to waste time with the deterrent argument, since it would be nonsense to try to prevent a theoretical evil in the future by perpetrating an actual one in the present.

Auberon Waugh, 20th Century British author & journalist

4)     The death penalty is wrong. It is inhuman. It is degrading. It is an atavist relict of a pre-civilized past in which justice was dispensed with a sword, to avenge, never to prevent. To kill, not to heal. The death penalty does not deter violence. It perpetuates it. It does not do justice, it denies it. The death penalty violates human rights, in a ruthless, absolute and irreversible manner.

Lord Russell-Johnston, British President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 2001

5)     There is a very broad theory that society gets the right to hang, as the individual gets the right to defend himself. Suppose she does; there are certain principles which limit this right. Society has got the murderer within four walls; he never can do any more harm. Has society any need to take that man’s life to protect itself? If any society has only the right that the individual has, she has no right to inflict the penalty of death, because she can effectually restrain the individual from ever again committing his offence.

Wendell Phillips, 19th Century US lawyer & politician

6)     People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty … I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court, on eve-of-execution stay applications, in which the defendant was well represented at trial.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 2001

7)     From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored…to develop…rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor…Rather than continue to coddle the court’s delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved…I feel…obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed

Justice Blackmun, Supreme Court Justice quoted in1994

8)     Nothing would be lost if death penalty statutes were repealed… The process is so fatally flawed that the only solution lies in abolishing capital punishment. Most nations with which we share a common heritage have already taken this step. The relatives of the victim have the right to demand swift and sure punishment, but they do not have the right to demand death when the process is so severely flawed.

Charles B Blackmar, former senior judge of Missouri’s Supreme Court 2003

9)     With every cell of my being, and with every fiber of my memory, I oppose the death penalty in all forms….I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an Angel of Death.

Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1986

10)  Those resources could be spent in better ways if death eligible killers were sentenced to life without parole. Law enforcement programs that work might have prevented the tragedies we suffered at only a fraction of the cost. A legal system free from the resource drain of the capital punishment system could find, prosecute, and sentence countless other criminals and even take dangerous people of the streets before they commit murder.

An extract taken from a letter sent to Montana House of Representatives signed by 35 families of murder victims seeking for the death penalty to be replaced by life without parole. March 2009.

10 Stats on the DP

The following 95 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

This list is by continent for ease of reference and each country has the year of abolition next to their name.


Angola 92Burundi 09Cape Verdi 81Cote d’Ivoire 00, Djibouti 95, Guinea-Bissau 93, Mauritius 95, Mozambique 90, Namibia 90,Rwanda 07, Sao Tome & Principe 90, Senegal 04, Seychelles 93, South Africa 95, Togo 09.

ASIA [10] – Armenia 03, Azerbaijan 98, Bhutan 04, Cambodia 89, Georgia 06, Nepal 97, Philippines 06, Timor-Leste [East Timor] 99,Turkmenistan 99, Uzbekistan 08.

EUROPE [43] – Albania 07, Andorra 90, Austria 68, Belgium 96, Bosnia & Herzegovina 95, Bulgaria, 98, Croatia 90, Cyprus 02, Czech Republic 90, Denmark 78, Estonia 98, Finland 49, France 81, Germany 87, Greece 01, Hungary 90, Iceland 28, Ireland 90, Italy 94, Liechtenstein 87, Lithuania 98, Luxemburg 79, Macedonia 91, Malta 00, Moldova 95, Monaco 62, Montenegro 95, Netherlands 82, Norway 79, Poland 97, Portugal 1867, Romania 90, San Merino 1865, Serbia 95 + Kosovo, Slovakia 90, Slovenia 89, Spain 95, Sweden 72, Switzerland 92, Turkey 04, Ukraine 00, United Kingdom 03, Vatican City [Holy See – not in UN] 69

NORTH AMERICA  [9] Bermuda 00, Canada 98, Costa Rica 1877, Dominican Republic 66, Haiti 87, Honduras 56, Mexico 05, Nicaragua 79, Panama 03,

SOUTH AMERICA [6] Argentina 84, Columbia 91, Ecuador 06, Paraguay 92, Uruguay 07, Venezuela 63.

OCEANIA [12] – Australia 85, Cook Islands 07, Kiribati 79, Marshall Islands 86, Micronesia 86, New Zealand 89, Palau 94, Samoa 04, Solomon Islands 78,Tuvalu 78, Vanuatu 80. [Niue not in UN]


The death penalty is retained in 45 countries out of the 192 that are in the UN.

AFRICA [16] Botswana 08, Comoros 97, Democratic Republic of Congo 03, Chad 03, Egypt 08, Equatorial Guinea 07, Ethiopia 07, Guinea 01, Lesotho 84, Libya 08, Nigeria 02,  Sierra Leone 98, Somalia 08, Sudan 09, Uganda 03, Zimbabwe 03.

ASIA [27] – Afghanistan 08, Bahrain 08, Bangladesh 09, China 09, India 04, Indonesia 08, Iran 09, Iraq 08, Japan 09, Jordan 05, North Korea 08, Kuwait 07, Lebanon 04, Malaysia 08, Mongolia 08, Oman 01, Pakistan 08, Palestinian Authority 05 [not in UN], Qatar 01, Saudi Arabia 09, Singapore 09, Syria 08, Taiwan 05, Thailand 09, United Arab Emirates 08, Vietnam 09, Yemen 09.

EUROPE [1] – Belarus 08

NORTH AMERICA [13] – Antigua & Barbuda 91, Bahamas 00, Barbados 84,Belize 85, Cuba 03, Dominica 86, Guatemala 00, Jamaica 88, Saint Kitts & Nevis 08, Saint Lucia 95, Saint Vincent & Grenadines 95, Trinidad & Tobago 99, United States 09.

SOUTH AMERICA [1] – Guyana 97