death penalty

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The death penalty is the killing of a person as a legal consequence for a specific offense of which he has been found guilty, as defined in a law . It is usually preceded by a death sentence following a trial that is carried out with the execution of the convicted person. It is therefore said that the person was sentenced to death .

For thousands of years people have been executed whose acts are considered particularly serious crimes according to codified criminal provisions. From the 18th century the legality of this practice in Europe was questioned and some states abolished the death penalty, the first state was the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1786 under Leopold II ; his brother Emperor Joseph II abolished the death penalty in the Austrian hereditary lands the following year. Their general abolition was called for in France in 1795 . Since 1945 it has been abolished by more and more states: including the Federal Republic of Germany with Art. 102 desBasic Law , Liechtenstein with Art. 27ter of the Liechtenstein Constitution , Austria with Art. 85 of the Federal Constitutional Act and Switzerland with Art. 10 Para. 1 of the Federal Constitution .

Today the death penalty is ethically , criminally and practically controversial; it is often seen as incompatible with human rights . Many non-governmental organizations are campaigning for their worldwide abolition. As a step towards this goal, the General Assembly of the United Nations has been calling for executions to be suspended worldwide since 2007 (moratorium).

Status of the death penalty in all states:
  • completely abolished
  • only in special criminal proceedings (e.g. martial law)
  • Freeze of execution
  • applied
  • definition

    Cesare Beccaria , Dei delitti e delle pene

    The death penalty requires criminal offenses defined by criminal law for which it is intended, as well as the legal detention, transfer and conviction of the perpetrator. The entire process must be carried out by authorized and authorized representatives of a state with a legal system that is valid and functioning there. This presupposes structures of order and power, including a legislative and executive branch with a monopoly on the use of force and a constitution of some kind , which most states - regardless of their actual implementation of democracy - legitimize by referring to the will of the people.

    Most states allow their executives under certain legally defined circumstances for acute self-defense and in emergency situations also targeted killings without prior legal proceedings and death sentences; so also killing in war, legitimized under international law . Private, not legally authorized killings of suspected or actual offenders, such as lynching , apply rule of law as murder .

    In addition to illegal executions by unauthorized persons, there are also executions by state officials with a questionable or no legal basis. For example, some governments give illegal killing orders, even in states that have banned the death penalty and signed the Charter of the United Nations , and have alleged or actual opponents of the regime, terrorists or criminals executed without trial. Military, police or secret service representatives as well as death squads may act unauthorized, for example because the government does not enforce existing laws, invoke an alleged self-defense situation and subsequently receive state backing for it. Such extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions are assessed according to the rule of law, such as judicial murders . The difficult distinction between legal death sentences and killings on an unsecured legal basis contributes to the ethical and socio-political questioning of the death penalty as a whole.

    Criminal offenses

    The death penalty, which is anchored in ordinary criminal law, is mostly imposed for murder . In some states, other direct and indirect crimes against the life and limb of persons are punishable by death:

    Economic offenses punishable by the death penalty are:

    Iraq punished with death until 2003:

    • public insult to the president,
    • double membership in political parties.

    In some Islamic states , the following offenses are considered death-worthy offenses:

    According to their martial law, many states punish the following offenses with death:

    International and European legal situation

    The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of December 19, 1966 (Article 6, Paragraph 2) allows the imposition of the death penalty only for the most serious crimes, only on the basis of laws in force at the time of the offense, and only if these comply with the provisions of the Covenant to prevent and punish genocide do not contradict. It may only be enforced on the basis of a final judgment by a competent court. The Second Optional Protocol to this Covenant of December 15, 1989 provides in Article 1:

    "1. No one who is under the jurisdiction of a State party to this Optional Protocol may be executed.
    2. Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty in its jurisdiction. "

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides in Article 37:

    "For crimes that have been committed by people under the age of eighteen, neither the death penalty nor life imprisonment without the possibility of early release may be imposed."

    Almost all member states of the United Nations (UN) have signed this convention. Some nonetheless had minors executed at the time of the crime : Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia - there it was decided in April 2020 to abolish the death penalty for minors - and Sudan. In Somalia juveniles are executed by non-state Sharia courts . This is countered by the UN Human Rights Commission and groups of states that try to enforce international legal norms even against national sovereignty .

    The 6th additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) from 1983 contains the abolition of the death penalty in ordinary criminal law, the 13th additional protocol from 2002 also contains the abolition in martial law. 43 of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe have ratified the 13th Additional Protocol. 2010, decided the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Al-Saadoon and Mudfhi v United Kingdom that the death penalty Article 3 of the ECHR disagree.. The European Union (EU) has made the complete abolition of the death penalty as well as the observance of human rights in the Copenhagen criteria a condition of admission for new member states. Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the death penalty. Article 53 also stipulates that the Charter cannot restrict the improved protection of human rights through national constitutions or the European Convention on Human Rights. According to Article 52, fundamental rights can only be repealed in accordance with this Charter. According to this, the right to life in the EU is protected in three ways: by national constitutions, the ECHR and the charter, whereby the law that is most favorable for the accused is to be applied (most-favored nation clause).

    Current distribution


    According to Amnesty International , at least 26,604 people sentenced to death are currently awaiting execution (as of the end of 2019). Due to the lack of information from some countries - currently Egypt, PR China, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, Syria, Vietnam and Belarus - the Amnesty annual reports only give the registered numbers of death sentences passed and executed. These are only a fraction of those actually executed each year.

    year Executions Death sentences Executing States
    2019 0.657 000000000002307.00000000002,307 20 of 198
    2018 0.690 000000000002531.00000000002,531 20 of 198
    2017 0.993 000000000002591.00000000002,591 23 of 198
    2016 000000000001032.00000000001,032 000000000003117.00000000003.117 23 of 198
    2015 000000000001634.00000000001,634 000000000001998.00000000001,998 25 of 198
    2014 0.607 000000000002466.00000000002,466 22 of 198
    2013 0.778 000000000001925.00000000001.925 22 of 198
    2012 0.682 000000000001722.00000000001,722 21 of 198
    2011 0.676 000000000001923.00000000001.923 20 of 198
    2010 0.527 000000000002024.00000000002,024 23 of 197
    2009 0.714 000000000002001.00000000002,001 19 of 197
    2008 000000000002390.00000000002,390 000000000008864.00000000008,864 25 of 197
    2007 000000000001252.00000000001,252 000000000003347.00000000003,347 24 of 197
    2006 000000000001591.00000000001,591 000000000003861.00000000003,861 25 of 197
    2005 000000000002148.00000000002.148 000000000005186.00000000005,186 20 of 197
    2004 000000000003797.00000000003,797 000000000007395.00000000007,395 25 of 197
    2003 000000000001146.00000000001,146 000000000002756.00000000002,756 28 of 197
    2002 000000000001526.00000000001,526 000000000003248.00000000003,248 31 of 197
    2001 000000000003048.00000000003,048 000000000005256.00000000005,256 31 of 197
    2000 000000000001457.00000000001,457 000000000003058.00000000003,058 28 of 197
    1999 000000000001813.00000000001,813 000000000003857.00000000003,857 31 of 197
    1998 000000000001625.00000000001,625 000000000003899.00000000003,899 37 of 197
    1997 000000000002375.00000000002,375 000000000003707.00000000003,707 40 of 197
    1996 000000000004272.00000000004,272 000000000007107.00000000007.107 39 of 197
    1995 000000000002931.00000000002,931 000000000004165.00000000004.165 41 of 197
    1994 000000000002331.00000000002,331 000000000004032.00000000004.032 37 of 197
    1993 000000000001831.00000000001,831 000000000003760.00000000003,760 32 of 197
    1992 000000000001702.00000000001,702 000000000002697.00000000002,697 35 of 197
    1991 000000000002086.00000000002,086 000000000002703.00000000002,703 32 of 197
    1990 000000000002029.00000000002,029 000000000002005.00000000002.005 26 of 197

    The most executions in 2012 were in the following states:

    • People's Republic of China: several thousand. The last known estimates for 2009 ranged from at least 1,700 to over 5,000. Amnesty has since dispensed with estimates for China.
    • Iran: 314 (2011: 360, 2010: 252+)
    • Iraq: 129 (68, 1)
    • Saudi Arabia: 79 (82, 27)
    • USA: 43 (43, 46)
    • Yemen: 28 (41, 53)

    In 1976, 16 states abolished the death penalty. Since 1990, more than 40 countries have removed the death penalty from their law, an average of around three per year, most recently in 2017 in Mongolia and Guatemala.

    The Gambia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines have reintroduced the death penalty, which had already been abolished there, since 1985. It has been used nine times in the Philippines since then, but abolished again in 2006. The parliamentary and legal process for the reintroduction of the death penalty has been running since 2016 (as of August 2017). Police officers and other law enforcement officers in the Philippines carry out shootings without judgment on suspected drug offenses.

    Pakistan has been carrying out death sentences again since the 2014 Peshawar massacre . In 2014, the internationally unrecognized state of Donetsk People's Republic introduced the death penalty. Chad reintroduced the death penalty in 2015 and abolished it in 2020.

    Amnesty International sees the overall development as an irreversible trend towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

    List of states

    The following list of countries includes a total of 197 countries ( as of November 15, 2018 ):

  • 106 states that have completely abolished the death penalty.
  • 08 states in which the death penalty only exists in special criminal proceedings (e.g. martial law).
  • 29 states with an execution freeze.
  • 55 states that also have and apply the death penalty in ordinary criminal law.
  • State (as of June 22, 2018) abolition Abolition also
    in exceptional law
    AlbaniaAlbania Albania 2000 2007 1995
    AndorraAndorra Andorra 1990 1990 1943
    AngolaAngola Angola 1992 1992 No information
    ArgentinaArgentina Argentina 1984 2008 1916
    ArmeniaArmenia Armenia 2003 2003 1992
    AzerbaijanAzerbaijan Azerbaijan 1998 1998 1992
    AustraliaAustralia Australia 1984 1985 1967
    BelgiumBelgium Belgium 1996 1996 1950
    BeninBenin Benin 2012 2016 1987
    BhutanBhutan Bhutan 2004 2004 1974
    Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 1997 2001 none
    BulgariaBulgaria Bulgaria 1998 1998 1989
    BurundiBurundi Burundi 2009 2009 2000
    BoliviaBolivia Bolivia 1997 2009 1974
    Cook IslandsCook Islands Cook Islands 2007 2007 none
    Costa RicaCosta Rica Costa Rica 1882 1882 1859
    DenmarkDenmark Denmark 1933 1978 1950
    GermanyGermany Germany 1949 ( FRG ) / 1956 ( Saarland) / 1987 ( GDR ) 1949 1949 before the establishment of the FRG in Württemberg-Hohenzollern , 1981 in the GDR
    Dominican RepublicDominican Republic Dominican Republic 1966 1966 1966
    DjiboutiDjibouti Djibouti 1995 1995 none
    EcuadorEcuador Ecuador 1906 1906 1884
    Ivory CoastIvory Coast Ivory Coast 2000 2000 none
    EstoniaEstonia Estonia 1998 1998 1991
    EswatiniEswatini Eswatini 2017 2017 1983
    FinlandFinland Finland 1949 1972 1944
    FranceFrance France
    ( death penalty in France )
    1981 1981 1977
    FijiFiji Fiji 1979 2015 none
    GabonGabon Gabon 2010 2010 1981
    GeorgiaGeorgia Georgia 1997 1997 1995
    Guinea-aGuinea Guinea 2016 2017 2001
    GreeceGreece Greece 1993 2004 1972
    Guinea-BissauGuinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau 1993 1993 1986
    HaitiHaiti Haiti 1987 1987 1972
    HondurasHonduras Honduras 1956 1956 1940
    IrelandIreland Ireland 1990 1990 1954
    IcelandIceland Iceland 1928 1928 1830
    ItalyItaly Italy 1947 1994 1947
    CambodiaCambodia Cambodia 1989 1989 1989
    CanadaCanada Canada 1976 1998 1962
    Cape VerdeCape Verde Cape Verde 1981 1981 1835
    KazakhstanKazakhstan Kazakhstan 2007 2021 2003
    KyrgyzstanKyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan 2007 2007 none
    KiribatiKiribati Kiribati 1979 1979 none
    Congo RepublicRepublic of the Congo Republic of the Congo 2015 2015 1982
    ColombiaColombia Colombia 1910 1910 1909
    CroatiaCroatia Croatia 1990 1990 1973
    LatviaLatvia Latvia 1999 2012 1996
    LiechtensteinLiechtenstein Liechtenstein 1987 1987 1785
    LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 1998 1998 1995
    LuxembourgLuxembourg Luxembourg 1979 1979 1949
    MadagascarMadagascar Madagascar 2014 2015 1958
    MaltaMalta Malta 1971 2000 1943
    Marshall IslandsMarshall Islands Marshall Islands 1986 1986 none
    MauritiusMauritius Mauritius 1995 1995 1987
    North MacedoniaNorth Macedonia North Macedonia 1991 1991 1988
    MexicoMexico Mexico 1976 2005 1961
    Micronesia, Federated StatesMicronesia Micronesia 1986 1986 none
    Moldova RepublicRepublic of Moldova Moldova 1995 1995 1985
    MonacoMonaco Monaco 1962 1962 1847
    MontenegroMontenegro Montenegro 2002 2002 1992
    MongoliaMongolia Mongolia 2017 2017 2008
    MozambiqueMozambique Mozambique 1990 1990 1986
    NamibiaNamibia Namibia 1990 1990 1988
    NauruNauru Nauru 2016 2016 none
    NepalNepal Nepal 1990 1997 1979
    New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand
    ( death penalty in New Zealand )
    1961 1989 1957
    NicaraguaNicaragua Nicaragua 1979 1979 1930
    NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 1870 1982 1952
    NiueNiue Niue 2004 2004 No information
    NorwayNorway Norway 1905 1979 1948
    AustriaAustria Austria 1950 1968 1950
    East TimorEast Timor East Timor 1999 1999 none
    PalauPalau Palau 1994 1994 none
    PanamaPanama Panama 1922 1922 1903
    ParaguayParaguay Paraguay 1992 1992 1928
    PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 2006, 1987-1993 2006 2000
    PolandPoland Poland 1997 1997 1988
    PortugalPortugal Portugal 1867 1976 1846
    RwandaRwanda Rwanda 2007 2007 1998
    RomaniaRomania Romania 1990 1990 1989
    Solomon IslandsSolomon Islands Solomon Islands 1966 1978 none
    SamoaSamoa Samoa 2004 2004 none
    San MarinoSan Marino San Marino 1848 1865 1468
    Sao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome and Principe Sao Tome and Principe 1990 1990 none
    SwedenSweden Sweden 1921 1972 1910
    SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland 1942 1992 1944
    SenegalSenegal Senegal 2004 2004 1967
    SerbiaSerbia Serbia 2002 1995 1992
    SeychellesSeychelles Seychelles 1993 1993 none
    SlovakiaSlovakia Slovakia 1990 1990 1989
    SloveniaSlovenia Slovenia 1989 1989 1959
    SpainSpain Spain 1978 1995 1975
    South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa 1995 1997 1991
    SurinameSuriname Suriname 2015 2015 1982
    TogoTogo Togo 2009 2009 1978
    ChadChad Chad 2020 Not 2015
    Czech RepublicCzech Republic Czech Republic 1990 1990 1989
    TurkeyTurkey Turkey 2002 2004 1984
    TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Turkmenistan 1999 1999 1997
    TuvaluTuvalu Tuvalu 1978 1978 none
    UkraineUkraine Ukraine 1999 1999 1997
    HungaryHungary Hungary 1990 1990 1989
    UruguayUruguay Uruguay 1907 1907 1905
    UzbekistanUzbekistan Uzbekistan 2008 2008 2005
    VanuatuVanuatu Vanuatu 1980 1980 none
    Vatican cityVatican Vatican city 1969 1969 none
    VenezuelaVenezuela Venezuela 1863 1863 No information
    United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 1973 1998 1964
    Cyprus RepublicRepublic of Cyprus Cyprus 1983 2002 1962
    BrazilBrazil Brazil 1891 Not 1876
    Burkina FasoBurkina Faso Burkina Faso 2018 Not 1988
    ChileChile Chile 2001 Not 1985
    El SalvadorEl Salvador El Salvador 1983 Not 1973
    IsraelIsrael Israel 1954 Not 1962
    PeruPeru Peru 1979 Not 1979
    GuatemalaGuatemala Guatemala 2017 Not 2000
    AlgeriaAlgeria Algeria Not Not 1993
    BruneiBrunei Brunei Not Not 1957
    EritreaEritrea Eritrea Not Not 1989
    GhanaGhana Ghana Not Not 1993
    GrenadaGrenada Grenada Not Not 1978
    CameroonCameroon Cameroon Not Not 1997
    KenyaKenya Kenya Not Not 1987
    LaosLaos Laos Not Not 1989
    LiberiaLiberia Liberia Not Not 2000
    MalawiMalawi Malawi Not Not 1992
    MalaysiaMalaysia Malaysia Not Not 2017 All executions stopped in 2018 until the abolition is finally implemented
    MaldivesMaldives Maldives Not Not 1952
    MaliMali Mali Not Not 1980
    MoroccoMorocco Morocco Not Not 1993
    MauritaniaMauritania Mauritania Not Not 1987
    MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar Not Not 1993
    NigerNiger Niger Not Not 1976
    Papua New GuineaPapua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Not Not 1950
    RussiaRussia Russia Not Not 1996
    ZambiaZambia Zambia Not Not 1997
    Sierra LeoneSierra Leone Sierra Leone
    ( death penalty in Sierra Leone )
    Not Not 1998
    Sri LankaSri Lanka Sri Lanka Not Not 1976
    Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea Not Not 1997
    ZimbabweZimbabwe Zimbabwe Not Not 2003
    TajikistanTajikistan Tajikistan Not Not 2004
    TanzaniaTanzania Tanzania Not Not 1995
    TongaTonga Tonga Not Not 1982
    TunisiaTunisia Tunisia Not Not 1991
    Central African RepublicCentral African Republic Central African Republic Not Not 1981
    AfghanistanAfghanistan Afghanistan Not Not 2017
    EgyptEgypt Egypt Not Not 2019
    Antigua and BarbudaAntigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda Not Not 1991
    Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea Not Not 2014
    EthiopiaEthiopia Ethiopia Not Not 2007
    BahamasBahamas Bahamas Not Not 2000
    BahrainBahrain Bahrain Not Not 2019
    BangladeshBangladesh Bangladesh Not Not 2019
    BarbadosBarbados Barbados Not Not 1984
    BelizeBelize Belize Not Not 1985
    BotswanaBotswana Botswana Not Not 2019
    China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China Not Not 2019
    TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taiwan Not Not 2016
    DominicaDominica Dominica Not Not 1986
    GambiaGambia Gambia Not Not 2012
    GuyanaGuyana Guyana Not Not 1997
    IndiaIndia India Not Not 2020
    IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia Not Not 2016
    IraqIraq Iraq Not Not 2019
    IranIran Iran Not Not 2019
    JamaicaJamaica Jamaica Not Not 1988
    JapanJapan Japan Not Not 2019
    YemenYemen Yemen Not Not 2019
    JordanJordan Jordan Not Not 2017
    QatarQatar Qatar Not Not 2001
    ComorosComoros Comoros Not Not 1997
    Congo Democratic RepublicDemocratic Republic of Congo Democratic Republic of Congo Not Not 2003
    CubaCuba Cuba Not Not 2003
    KuwaitKuwait Kuwait Not Not 2017
    LesothoLesotho Lesotho Not Not 1984
    LebanonLebanon Lebanon Not Not 2004
    LibyaLibya Libya Not Not 2010
    NigeriaNigeria Nigeria Not Not 2016
    Korea NorthNorth Korea North Korea Not Not 2017
    OmanOman Oman Not Not 2015
    PakistanPakistan Pakistan Not Not 2019
    Palastina autonomous areasPalestine Palestine Not Not 2017 ( Hamas in Gaza )
    2005 ( Palestinian Authority )
    Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Not Not 2019
    SingaporeSingapore Singapore Not Not 2019
    SomaliaSomalia Somalia Not Not 2019
    Saint Kitts NevisSt. Kitts Nevis St. Kitts and Nevis Not Not 2008
    Saint LuciaSt. Lucia St. Lucia Not Not 1995
    Saint Vincent GrenadinesSt. Vincent and the Grenadines St. Vincent and the Grenadines Not Not 1995
    SudanSudan Sudan Not Not 2019
    South SudanSouth Sudan South Sudan Not Not 2019
    SyriaSyria Syria Not Not 2019
    ThailandThailand Thailand Not Not 2018
    Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Not Not 1999
    UgandaUganda Uganda Not Not 2003
    United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates Not Not 2017
    United StatesUnited States United States
    Not Not 2020
    VietnamVietnam Vietnam Not Not 2016
    BelarusBelarus Belarus
    Not Not 2019

    For and against

    The death penalty is usually justified as follows:

    • It is the only just retaliation for the most serious crimes.
    • Only they effectively protect the general public from the perpetrator ( special prevention ).
    • It is necessary to deter other possible criminals ( general prevention ).
    • It is wanted by a majority of the population.
    • It is cheaper than life imprisonment.

    Common reasons for rejection are:

    • Retribution is a form of vengeance . This should not play a role in constitutional states.
    • The death penalty is state-legitimized murder, undermines the law and thus increases the potential for violence in society.
    • You fail to serve as a deterrent.
    • You don't give the perpetrator a chance for insight and improvement.
    • Miscarriage of justice and abuse can never be ruled out.
    • It violates the inviolable human dignity .


    Whoever murders people should pay with his life for it: many people see this as the only appropriate retribution. Behind it stands the old jus talionis , which demands an equivalence of deed and punishment and so should limit the indiscriminate blood revenge to killing the perpetrator. It was associated with the idea of atonement in almost all cultures and religions of antiquity . Modern theories of the purpose of punishment , which do not orient the purpose of punishment towards rehabilitation , also refer to this idea . Led Immanuel Kant from:

    “But if he has murdered, he must die. There is no surrogate here for the satisfaction of justice . There is no similarity between a life, however sorrowful, and death, hence also no equality of crime and retribution, other than that which has been brought to justice on the perpetrator, yet freed from all abuse that could make humanity in the suffering person a monster Death."

    Only the death of the murderer can therefore restore a similar justice appropriate to the deed. Like earlier legal philosophers, Kant did not ask about criteria for his individual guilt .

    Such proponents see the death penalty as an objective necessity: The state must protect and enforce justice for all by executing the death penalty on the perpetrator, even if the victims' relatives do not demand it. Because a crime not only breaks a single law, but calls the legal system as a whole into question. In order to preserve their general validity, the punishment must atone for the crime. Therefore, a murderer has to be liable not only with his freedom but also with his life for the destruction of the lives of others. This is the only appropriate form of satisfaction for victims' relatives, since the loss of life is irreplaceable. Only in this way could they internally close with the crime.

    The objection to these justifications is that the principle of retaliation - killing as compensation for killing - cannot be carried out logically, since it would require murderers to be murdered, manslaughters to be beaten to death and those who have negligently killed someone would have to be killed. In reality, however, the death penalty is usually only required for murderers and is often also limited to particularly serious cases such as child, sexual, robbery, police or mass murder. In the case of robbers, rapists, etc., no similar infliction of damage is required, as this is considered an injustice even in states with a statutory death penalty. This indicates that the sentence must be based on the individual guilt of the perpetrator and cannot reflect the act. A crime cannot be “atone” by eliminating the perpetrator, but only by compensating for the act, i.e. limiting the damage to the victims and society. A culpable perpetrator can only contribute to this compensation if he stays alive. Precisely because death, unlike other punishments, has a definitive quality, it is excluded from the permissible types of punishment. Because in the rule of law the life and coexistence of all are considered the highest value and must be protected, its representatives should not punish criminals with death in order not to put themselves on the same level as those who disregard these values. States were created by fallible people who should not presume to create perfect "justice". The death penalty is an archaic relic of bygone legal conceptions that satisfy social needs for revenge and conceal them at the same time. She calls into question the rule of law and its value bases as a whole.

    Both proponents and opponents of the death penalty refer to an idea of ​​justice and to socio-psychological aspects. Victims interviewed in the US who watched the perpetrator's execution deny that it satisfied their sense of justice. Some relatives of murder victims reject the death penalty and try to deal with the loss together with other victims' relatives.

    Protection from the perpetrator

    Some proponents of the death penalty argue that it is particularly effective, since it is irrevocable, to protect society from further crimes by the perpetrator. Since outbreaks or premature release from prison are possible in the case of prison sentences, only his execution effectively prevents a perpetrator from further criminal offenses. Opponents point out that imprisoned death row inmates could in principle break out in the same way as other imprisoned criminals until their execution, but that the latter is not subject to the death penalty. The safety standard of many prisons is now so high that a life sentence also protects society from repeat offenders. They point to statistical studies, according to which murderers in particular are very rarely reoffended.

    Often a quickly executed death penalty, for example by a court martial , is justified as state self-defense and compared with special police rights such as the “ final rescue shot ”. This is particularly true today in cases of terrorism : perpetrators who have already been imprisoned threaten the state as others could try to free them and their violence could escalate in the process. Successfully released offenders could commit new crimes and gain more and more followers. On the other hand, a “short process” is the best protection.

    Many lawyers, not only opponents of the death penalty, deny that arrested perpetrators are still an acute threat to the legal system. They evaluate justified death penalties as judicial murders : "The death penalty as an effective means against free-pressing would then have to replace the rule of law with martial law". Anyone who wants to protect society by eliminating the murderer can then also demand the same for other criminals, thereby eliminating any distinction between right and wrong. Punishment for possible, but not yet occurred, consequences is a departure from essential principles of the rule of law in favor of an undeclared war against criminals in which one can no longer differentiate between murderers, judges and executioners. This misses the ostensible purpose of prevention because the lack of prospect of a fair trial encourages others to view murder as a possible means of self-protection and thus increases general legal uncertainty. Those who demand the death penalty, torture and martial law against terrorists support their methods and goals, as society then resembles the caricature that terrorists have drawn of it.


    Proponents often argue that only the execution of convicted perpetrators has an indirect deterrent effect on possible other perpetrators and prevents them from criminal offenses more effectively than threatened prison sentences. Some see it as the only way to address a general rise in violent crime and threats to public safety. If the worst possible punishment is missing from the range of punishment threats, this calls into question the effectiveness and credibility of the state's legal protection as a whole.

    These assumptions have not yet been empirically proven anywhere. In no country in the world do statistics show a connection between the death penalty and the number of capital crimes. In many states that abolished the death penalty, murders afterwards did not increase statistically noticeably, but often even decreased. In countries without the death penalty, the proportion of murder rates are comparatively lower than in - often directly neighboring - countries with the death penalty. Comparative empirical research in the USA and Germany in 1976, 1984 and 1987 showed that the more often a state uses the death penalty, the greater the proportion of violent crimes in the crimes. Family members who have practiced or experienced corporal punishment more often affirm the death penalty. The brutalization theory interprets this as the brutal effect of the death penalty.

    Statistically speaking, murderers (with the exception of sexual and robbery killers) have far fewer criminal records and are less likely to reoffend than other offenders. However, murderers who have not yet been caught are more likely to commit further crimes in states with the death penalty in order not to be caught and convicted. Most homicides take place among relatives and in private relationships, in extreme situations and in a state of emotional affect or in other irrational states of mind in which calm thinking and worrying about the consequences of the crime are excluded. In principle, anyone could get into this state. Not certain perpetrator characteristics, but circumstances promoting violence and their interlinking are mostly responsible. If these were adequately taken into account in criminal law, the deterrent argument would be dispensed with, since the reduction of societal causes of violence would then have to come to the fore.

    Another objection is that for the most effective deterrent effect possible, executions would have to take place in public and be broadcast by modern mass media. However, constitutional states prohibit this as a violation of the human dignity of perpetrators and viewers. These reasons for the prohibition must also apply to executions that were secret or only disclosed to the victims' relatives. This inconsistency shows that the deterrent argument was largely advanced. The criminal lawyer Rudolf Sieverts referred to historical chronicles, according to which criminal tendencies among spectators of public executions had increased, so that executions were increasingly non-public: “The assumption of a general deterrent effect of the death penalty has thus proven to be an illusion. There is little evidence of this kind in criminology . "

    As early as the 19th century, opponents of the death penalty argued that if they were to deter homicides, then every further capital crime would mean failure. Their execution then punishes the perpetrator for the future acts of others: As with kin detention , the punitive purpose of just retaliation against the perpetrator is missed. Retaliation for an individual offense and the deterrence of other offenses are therefore incompatible penalties.

    The legal philosopher Robert Spaemann sees no reason to reject the death penalty, if only in this way a state could prevent future crimes. But those who plan to commit murder do not usually consider the sentence, but try to avoid any threatened punishment. The deterrent theory could therefore not give a compelling reason for the extent to which the state killing of a person protects the common good better than the life imprisonment.

    Ralf Rother points out that the deterrent argument is based on a consideration of utility. If the death penalty were only abolished because it was ineffective, the supposed right of the state to punish crimes by force, including judgments of life and death, would remain unaffected. This indirectly acknowledges that both the maintenance and abolition of the death penalty are based on political and cultural, not ethical, philosophical and legal reasons. Only when states expressly exclude the punishment with force and death from their sovereignty, the death penalty is in principle and irreversibly rejected.

    The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) represents this exclusion in principle . Her former council chairman Wolfgang Huber argues: Because all life is created by God, the perpetrator also remains in God's image. No crime can undo his dignity and his right to life. A symmetry between offense and punishment is therefore neither possible nor desirable. Even if the deterrent effect of the death penalty could be proven, the rule of law should not do everything to prevent crime. Above all, he shouldn't kill anyone to keep others from killing. In doing so he would violate human dignity as the basis of all law and make himself an injustice state. In order to respect and protect the human dignity of all, he must recognize the prohibition of killing as a limit to violent law enforcement and renounce the death penalty, torture and corporal punishment . With that he stand and fall.

    Protection of the legal order

    Legal systems always legitimize themselves with a superordinate idea of ​​justice, without which human coexistence would not be possible. Proponents and opponents of the death penalty refer to this as well. As a rule, they require the state to establish fair conditions, to pass appropriate laws, to protect and to enforce them. Proponents believe that, ideally, a state can do this flawlessly. In contrast, the opponents point to the fundamental flawedness of all human-made legal systems. States are artificial structures that are never error-free, so that criminal proceedings cannot be expected to be error-free and therefore the killing of people as a form of punishment cannot be justified. Some therefore reject all forms of government (see anarchism ), others strive for criminal law reforms based on the existing legal system.

    States that impose the death penalty inevitably accept the execution of innocent people. Neither the police nor the judiciary work flawlessly, so that even in the rule of law there is evidence of judicial errors and wrongful judgments. Since an executed death sentence is final, it cannot be made up for afterwards. At the same time, this irrevocably damages the credibility of the legal system for all citizens of this state. This fact is a key argument against the death penalty.

    Many states also set unclear criteria for the legal assessment of criminal offenses: An act of violence is considered worthy of death, for example, if it was committed for “low motives” or “ insidious ”. Critical science points out that the definition of these criteria is subject to constantly changing social value judgments. This means that the image that a judge or a jury makes of the accused is often decisive for the judgment of his life or death.

    In capital proceedings, subjective impressions from prosecutors, prosecutors, assessors, judges and jury members are often decisive for a verdict. Such criminal processes are also often very emotional: the relatives of the victims and the perpetrator (s) and their relatives face each other. The public is also involved and is further influenced by the mass media. There is considerable public pressure on the decision-makers, who are not always professional judges but are often laymen. This could lead to them giving in to the wishes of a majority and trying to convince them with a tough or mild approach. This situation is a common cause of misjudgments.

    In all previous methods of execution, there have been unforeseen mistakes that caused agony for the convicts. Opponents of the death penalty rate this fact and often years of waiting after a death sentence, short-term postponements and state staging of an execution as inhuman cruelty. Some supporters of the death penalty therefore pleaded for executions to be carried out soon. On the other hand, opponents of the death penalty in principle emphasize that no form of execution, however “humane”, can negate the psychological cruelty of the perpetrator and the ethical reprehensibility of this punishment.

    The Federal Court of Justice summarized its "insurmountable concerns" against the death penalty in a judgment in 1995 as follows:

    “For humanitarian reasons, no state can have the right to dispose of the lives of its citizens through this sanction. Rather, the primacy of the absolute protection of life requires that a legal community affirm the inviolability of human life as the highest value, precisely by renouncing the death penalty. In addition, it seems imperative to prevent the risk of abuse of the death penalty from the outset by accepting that it is inadmissible without exception. Wrong judgments can never be ruled out. The state organization of the execution of the death penalty is ultimately, measured against the ideal of human dignity, an absolutely unreasonable and unbearable undertaking. "


    In the case of the death penalty, it has often been argued that it is cheaper than a life sentence and that victims' relatives do not have to take care of the imprisoned perpetrators. In constitutional states like the United States, however, a death penalty trial costs on average more than life imprisonment. The main reason is the prosecution and defense costs of often years of capital proceedings. The results of the police investigation must be checked particularly carefully. Several revision instances and reopening options are provided in order to be able to correct incorrect judgments.

    Opponents of the death penalty declare that states that generally commit and invoke human rights must not regard the right to life, which is also due to serious criminals, as a cost factor. Otherwise, they are jeopardizing the rule of law and showing that they are concerned with social revenge.



    The death penalty developed out of the " blood revenge ". This unwritten clan law of pre-state societies required a member of the victim, usually the eldest son, to kill any member of the clan or tribe to which the perpetrator belonged. This was originally intended to discourage killing individual members of foreign clans, but in subsequent generations it often led to endless feuds and even to the mutual extermination of entire clan associations.

    The more nomad groups became settled, the more binding and uniform damage regulations became necessary. Public evidence, court and criminal proceedings were gradually developed, the death sentences of which were still allowed to be carried out by a "blood avenger" chosen by the clan. In the beginning, the death penalty was only a form of revenge by the collective: the collective delegated its execution to a universally recognized central authority, on which no one was allowed or able to take revenge.

    The death penalty is the earliest codified form of punishment. Even the oldest known legal collection, the Codex Ur-Nammu (approx. 2100 BC), provided for them for murder and adultery. In the Codex Hammurapi (approx. 1700 BC) it is extended to other offenses, whereby the Talion principle was used for corporal and death sentences. That limited the blood revenge to killing the perpetrator, not any other person.


    The Torah reflects the replacement of private blood revenge by orderly legal proceedings that only punished a capital offense against the individual perpetrator. Gen 9,6  EU describes this condition: “Whoever sheds human blood, his blood is shed by people. Because: In the image of God he made man. ”Whoever kills a person created in the image of God is attacking God's sole right to end life. Then demand God's righteousness to take his life too. The sentence is traced back to nomadic kinship law when no safekeeping was possible and the removal of the perpetrators seemed necessary for the kinship to survive. It was mostly translated against the Hebrew wording as an imperative ("whose blood should [...] be shed") and thus legitimized the death penalty as retribution for murder and manslaughter.

    The right to talion demands a compensation for damages that is appropriate to the act ( Ex 21.23  EU ): "If permanent damage occurs, give a life for a life [...] an eye for an eye ". This did not call on the victims 'relatives to retaliate, but rather the perpetrators' relatives to pay damages . Its level was determined and determined by a court. It became conceivable to compensate a killed life in other ways than by killing the perpetrator.

    Sorcery , zoophilia and incest were taboo as a threat to the community even in historical, non-monotheistic religions . The Torah calls for the death penalty also for offenses which the cultic-religious identity of the Israelites threatened (foreign gods worship, blasphemy, false prophecy) or more foreign than feature people were ( human sacrifice , kidnapping , invocation of spirits, sex between men), sexual certain Offenses (adultery, sexual intercourse during menstruation ) and social offenses (beating or cursing parents).

    More recent legal corpora of the Torah made a more precise distinction between intentional, negligent and unintentional killings, bodily harm resulting in death, and self-defense. A public trial to determine the crime and sentence, two independent eyewitnesses, and thorough scrutiny of their testimony by incorruptible judges were required for a valid death sentence. Murders unjustly persecuted as murderers were granted the right of asylum in a designated asylum town .

    The Jewish legal tradition collected in the Talmud elaborated the court proceedings more and more precisely and made death sentences more and more difficult until the death penalty was abolished. A perpetrator's confession was no longer permitted as a reason for judgment.

    In the New Testament , the death penalty is neither directly permitted nor prohibited. Passages like Joh 19,10 f. EU and Rom 13.4  EU presuppose a limited and limited right of state representatives over life and death through God's kingdom . Jesus of Nazareth subordinated the commandment of retribution ( Gen 9.6  EU ) to God's will to preserve ( Gen 8.21f.  EU ) and thus justified his commandment to love one's enemy ( Mt 5.44  EU ): This is the form of retribution appropriate to God's patient grace . Accordingly, according to Jn 8,7  EU , he invalidated the death penalty for adultery provided for in the Torah with the note: "Who of you is without sin, throw the first stone on it." The indirectly required waiver of rights (since no one is without sin, leads nobody expects the death penalty) delegitimizes the authorities of the time, aims at self-knowledge and forgiveness . Following on from this, the early Christians found in Jesus' death on the cross the vicarious suffering of the death penalty due to the criminal (including Gal 3,13  EU ; Rom 8,3  EU ). God "gave up" his Son and thus forgave all human beings their guilt in order to free them from sin. This is how Jesus created and made reconciliation with God possible (2 Cor 5:14). For the early Christians, fatal retribution was therefore a relapse into unbelief; Cultic regulations, for the non-observance of which the Torah threatened the death penalty, were invalid for them.


    In addition to the death penalty, many ancient empires only knew fines and slavery , but no imprisonment , as safe imprisonment was hardly technically possible. Often convicts were publicly executed to entertain and at the same time deter viewers. Slaves in particular were often tortured by torture, such as scourging , when they were interrogated before they were executed . In contrast, especially in ancient Athens from 600 BC A legal process, which, however, further distinguished between free full citizens, newcomers and slaves.

    According to the legal system in ancient Rome , Roman citizens were punished with death only for particularly serious offenses such as the murder of relatives, mockery of the gods and treason. Governors of Roman provinces had the Ius gladii (“right to sword”, that is, the right to the death penalty, for example by beheading). During the imperial era , the crucifixion of enemies of the state, slaves and non-Romans became common in order to enforce the Roman Empire in conquered areas and to suppress rebellions. In addition, as witnessed by Galenos , for example , the death penalty could be carried out by exposing the convicted to a circus arena with wild animals.

    Until the 4th century, Christians mostly rejected the use of killing force because of Jesus' interpretation of the Torah. Patristic theologians , including Athenagoras , Tertullian , Origen and Lactantium , and the Synod of Elvira forbade all direct and indirect participation of Christians in death sentences and executions. They implicitly questioned the Roman state's right to the death penalty. Only Clement of Alexandria explicitly affirmed this.

    After the Constantinian turning point (313), however, the church granted the state the right to retaliate, thereby legitimizing the death penalty. Christians should, however, continue not to participate in it and should have a moderating effect on state representatives; Petitions for clemency from bishops for those sentenced to death, criticism of particularly cruel types of execution and reasons for sentencing also became common. After Christianity became the state religion in 380 , state executions did not decrease, but rather increased. The Church was now actively involved. In 385 in Trier with Bishop Priscillian von Avila , a Christian was executed for the first time by other Christians for alleged heresy . Augustine of Hippo also allowed baptized state representatives 420 with state offices to serve in the war and the death penalty, especially against " pagans " and Christians, whom he judged as heretics. He justified this with his theory of the state , according to which the Roman state, as a punitive power established by God, had to deter people with the fear of punishment from crimes and to protect the existence of the church, since this alone could guarantee the salvation of everyone, including criminals.

    middle age

    The Roman Catholic Church justified the death penalty for "pagans" in the course of violent Christianization . The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, saw them as an obstacle to mission . The Byzantine Empire reduced executions since the 8th century, replacing them with cutting off noses or ears in order to exert an educational influence on the population. No death sentence was carried out there under the emperor Johannes II. Komnenus (1118–1142) in a phase of domestic and foreign political stability.

    In the 13th century, Pope Innocent III. Executions of " heretics ". Bishops and cardinals passed death sentences that were carried out by the state blood judiciary . The rule Ecclesia non sitit sanguinem ('the church does not thirst for blood') was only valid to a limited extent, since church representatives also held political offices and had them executed in their own domain. Only Christian minorities like the Waldensians rejected the death penalty and were therefore persecuted by the Inquisition .

    In the late Middle Ages , when the monopoly of power of the papacy and empire, the clergy and the nobility was increasingly threatened, the number and cruelty of executions increased, as did the number of offenses that were punished with them. There were also executions and lynching as part of church inquisitions and regional and state witch hunts .

    Early modern age

    The Reformation initially raised great hopes for the humanization of church and politics: Martin Luther moved God's ultimate judgment of grace for all people to the center of Christian faith and separated spiritual and worldly power (see the doctrine of the two kingdoms ). It became conceivable that the state criminal law could also be reformed in accordance with the gospel . But the creed of the Lutheran imperial estates, the Confessio Augustana of 1530, allowed Christians to exercise state power in Article XVI of the death penalty. The sovereign church regiment strengthened the princes' own power. They reacted to peasant revolts , robber barons - an expression of the impoverishment of the population - as well as the growth of cities with larger populations and crime with increasing violence. In the early modern period between 1525 and 1648, the number of executions rose steadily, albeit very differently from region to region, enormously. The sovereigns extended physical and death sentences to more and more offenses and punished ever fewer offenses, including petty theft, with death. According to the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina of 1532, seven types of execution - beheading, drowning, hanging, buried alive, wheeling , burning and quartering - were used for each specific offense.

    Execution by wheel and with an iron bar in Paris. Etching from Les Misères et les malheurs de la guerre by Jacques Callot , Paris 1633

    The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 confirmed the previous determination of the religion by the respective sovereigns ( cuius regio, eius religio ), which had already been provisionally allowed by the Augsburg Religious Peace of 1555, but forbade further changes and assured the remaining minorities that their status quo would be protected . This favored the emergence of nation states and their autonomous definition of law and the appropriate execution of sentences.

    The Saxon senior lay judge and legal scholar Benedikt Carpzov the Younger formulated in 1662 in his work Peinlicher Sächsischer Inquisitions- und Achts-Trial the then widely valid justifications for torture interrogations and death sentences through the most agonizing types of execution. Crimes are the result of a thoroughly corrupt, malevolent being seduced by Satan . The criminal not only harms individuals, but also disregards and mocks the order and authority set by God, thus breaking not only worldly but divine laws. Due to their divine institution, the regents are not only entitled, but obliged to avenge this outrage. God himself works through their criminal office, so that they are not allowed to exercise leniency in order not to provoke God's vengeance on all as epidemics, wars and natural disasters. In many cases, only physical agony can compensate for the guilt of the perpetrator, according to God's wrath, which threatens everyone in unpunished crimes, and soothes society from a depraved member who would otherwise infect everyone with his poison. Only his public, excruciating execution could lead the criminal to repentance , as a “poor sinner” to save from the eternal hellfire and to deter all other sinners from similar crimes.


    Empress Elizabeth I of Russia (1709–1762)

    In the Age of Enlightenment , around 1740, some of the educated elites of that time opposed a criminal law based on the idea of ​​atonement , including the death penalty. In 1741, at her coronation, Empress Elisabeth of Russia vowed not to have a death sentence carried out. She repeated this with two decrees in 1753, so that the death penalty was suspended during her reign until 1761. Since, contrary to popular expectation, crimes did not increase in their empire, their successors rarely had them executed either. In 1766, Catherine II drafted a legislative reform that stipulated that "in the ordinary state of society, the death of a citizen is neither useful nor necessary."

    In 1744 Johann Gottlieb Gonne wrote a short newspaper article that rejected revenge as the ultimate purpose of punishments as incompatible with a treaty-based bourgeois "republic" and only allowed deterring and correcting the perpetrators with equal sentences as meaningful punitive purposes. The French François-Vincent Toussaint (1748), the Sicilian Tomaso Natale (1759), the Austrian Joseph von Sonnenfels (1765) and the Saxon Karl Ferdinand Hommel (1765) wrote similar reviews of the criminal law in force in their principalities. The rulers' right to punish criminals is not based on God's law, according to Hommel, but on human laws that can therefore be measured by their social benefit.

    Like them, the Italian Cesare Beccaria in 1764, in his work Dei delitti e delle pene (“On Crimes and Punishments”) addressed to the princes, started from a fictitious contract theory based on natural law and concluded from it a rational criticism of penal law:

    “You want to prevent the crime? Then see that the laws are clear and simple, that all the power of the nation is focused on its defense, and that no part of that power is used in its destruction. Make sure that the laws are less favorable to the classes of men than to men per se. Make sure that people fear the law and they alone fear them. Fear of the law is salutary, but fatal and fraught with crime is fear from person to person. Subjugated people are more pleasure-seeking, extravagant, cruel than free people. [...] You want to prevent the crime? Then make sure that the enlightenment goes hand in hand with freedom. "

    Cesare Beccaria (1738–1794)

    So Beccaria called for universally valid unambiguous laws, the rule of law and liberation from class rule to reduce crime. He further argued:

    “A simple consideration of the truths that have been discussed so far clearly shows that the purpose of punishment is neither to torment and grieve a sentient being, nor to undo a crime that has already been committed. Can a political body which, far from being passionate about acting, rather is the calm leader of the passions of the individual, have that useless cruelty, the tool of anger, fanaticism or weak tyrants, inherent in them? Can the cries of an unfortunate man from time never return reclaim the deeds done? The purpose is therefore no other than to prevent the criminal from doing new harm to his fellow citizens and to prevent others from doing the same. The punishments and the manner in which they are imposed therefore deserve preference which, while maintaining their appropriateness, make the most lively and lasting impression on people's minds and thereby inflict the least possible physical harm on the guilty party. ... It is not the severity of the punishment that has the greater effect on the human mind, but its duration. "

    He thus strictly rejected the idea of ​​atonement in favor of a criminal law geared towards legal protection, the fight against crime and sustainable humanization. An exemplary rule of law and imprisonment could be far more effective in deterring crime. Its main arguments are still held today. Beccaria's writing was received throughout Europe and North America and influenced the decisions of some rulers: On November 30, 1786, Leopold II lifted the death penalty in the Duchy of Tuscany as the first state in the world. In 1787 he was followed by his brother Joseph II for the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy , only the martial law remained.

    Of the German enlighteners only Gotthold Ephraim Lessing , in England only Samuel Johnson and Samuel Romilly, rejected the death penalty. Immanuel Kant, John Locke , Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu , Voltaire , Jean-Jacques Rousseau , later Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Arthur Schopenhauer affirmed them.

    The French Revolution of 1789 enabled a parliamentary debate on the death penalty for the first time. Instead of its abolition, the French National Convention adopted a bill by Joseph-Ignace Guillotin on May 3, 1791 : Acts worthy of death were reduced, a ban on torture was passed and, in accordance with the ideal of equality, the execution method of beheading, which was the same for all convicted, was introduced. Since the Jacobin rule , the number of executions has risen again across Europe, for example the Habsburg monarchy reintroduced the death penalty in 1795. A final decision of the National Convention on the day of its dissolution, October 26, 1795, to abolish the death penalty “on the day of general peace”, remained unfulfilled.

    1800 to 1945

    The European nation states often had the death penalty carried out, especially during national wars, in order to secure power interests. The European discourse on the humanization of the criminal justice system was mostly limited to the penal system. At the same time, the penalties were tightened, especially in the colonies , and there was an increase in death sentences.

    In the wake of the March revolutions of 1848, the French National Assembly, the Frankfurt National Assembly , the Prussian National Assembly and the Wallachian revolutionaries called for the abolition of the death penalty for the first time in the Islaz proclamation and included this demand in their draft constitution. Only San Marino fulfilled it at that time. In 1865 Romania was the first European country to abolish the death penalty by 1939.

    Parallel to political developments, academics in the 19th century discussed the death penalty intensively. Opponents and supporters alike justified their position in numerous writings. Representatives of the democracy movement and the labor movement , along with civil and human rights, called for the general abolition of the death penalty.

    In the first half of the 20th century, there were massive judicial murders , especially in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1953 and under National Socialism from 1933 to 1945 . In the interwar period and during World War II , some states (the Netherlands, Austria, Romania and others) reintroduced the death penalty, which they had abolished before. It thus turned out to be an abusive instrument of rule dependent on changing historical circumstances and power relations. That is why, after the end of the war, many Western societies increasingly called for the abolition of the death penalty.

    Ethical discussion since 1945

    Some well-known authors have been particularly committed to the abolition of the death penalty since 1945: for example the poets Arthur Koestler and Albert Camus , with exceptions the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and the doctor and historian Albert Schweitzer . With his leitmotif "Reverence for Life" he represented a new ecological ethic that is supposed to replace the principle of murderous self-assertion with an insight into the conditionality, networking and solidarity of all life.

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church of 1992, the Catholic Church did not exclude it "in the most serious cases" from endangering the community, but emphasized that "bloodless means [...] are more appropriate to human dignity". Pope John Paul II declared in 1995 that the death penalty is "nowadays, as a result of the increasingly adapted organization of the penal system, very rarely or practically no longer justified". In June 2016, Pope Francis condemned the death penalty under all circumstances. In October 2017, he advocated the unqualified rejection of the death penalty, including within the framework of the catechism. This was changed accordingly on August 2, 2018. The Catechism of the Catholic Church now states that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it violates the inviolability and dignity of the person”.

    Abolition process in Europe

    In 1953, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) came into force, Article 2 of which permitted the death penalty under certain conditions. The decades-long change in attitudes of broad social classes gradually changed the attitude of most European governments. Under pressure from public opinion, the Council of Europe became a staunch campaigner against the death penalty in the 1970s.

    In 1983 the 6th Optional Protocol to the ECHR required its abolition in peacetime. All 46 member states acceded to this protocol by 1997. Since then, there has been no execution on the territory of the Council of Europe. The 13th Optional Protocol to the ECHR also declared the death penalty to be abolished in times of war in 2002. Germany ratified it in July 2004. The EU constitution , which was signed on October 29, 2004 but not entered into force, banned the death penalty. The European Union (EU) has made its complete abolition a condition of admission for new member states and thus influenced the attitude towards this in possible accession countries.

    The Papal States had someone executed for the last time in 1870, shortly before its de facto dissolution. Italian criminal law from 1929 became valid for the newly founded Vatican State: It provided for the death penalty for assassinations on heads of state such as the Pope and for inciting insurrection, but it was never carried out. Pope Paul VI had this law, which was never applied, deleted in 1969. The Vatican did not join the European Convention on Human Rights; However, in the new constitution of the Vatican State, which came into force in 2001 , the previous regulations on the death penalty no longer existed. Nevertheless, the death penalty was still not ruled out by magistrates in the most serious cases. In August 2018, the Vatican under Pope Francis finally condemned the death penalty and now rejects it "under all circumstances". Everyone has an inviolable right to life.

    Belarus is also not a member of the Council of Europe because it did not join the ECHR and continue to use the death penalty. In 1996, 80 percent of Belarusians were in favor of keeping it. Until 2003 it could be imposed for twelve criminal offenses, since then only in serious murder cases. 134 Belarusians are said to have been legally shot between December 1996 and May 2001. Executions have decreased since then; The state does not provide exact figures.

    In some EU countries, parts of the population are calling for the death penalty to be reintroduced more often, for example in connection with sex crimes , terrorist attacks or political murder. In Poland, on October 22nd, 2004, the parliament rejected a corresponding joint draft law by a group of right-wing conservative and right-wing extremist parties with a narrow majority. According to 2006 polls, 77 percent of Poles supported the death penalty for genocide and particularly cruel murder. The supporters also included the then President Lech Kaczyński and his brother Jarosław Kaczyński ( Prime Minister 2006 to 2007 ). However, membership in the EU and the Polish constitution (Articles 38 and 40) prevent the Polish government from reintroducing the death penalty.

    In the Netherlands, after the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh , the liberal party politician Patrick van Schie demanded that Article 114 of the Basic Law be repealed so that the death penalty to deter Islamist terrorists could again be legally permitted. According to surveys from 2005, around 50 percent of the population supported this initiative. He would not find a majority in parliament, however, because there he is considered incompatible with European values ​​and the rule of law.

    The European Parliament adopted 7 October 2010 by a large majority a resolution against the death penalty.

    UN campaigns

    In its resolution 32/61 of December 8, 1977, the UN General Assembly declared that the abolition of the death penalty was desirable. The UN Human Rights Commission advocates this on the basis of its resolution 2004/67 of April 21, 2004 and develops effective mechanisms for their implementation and review. She calls for a worldwide suspension for executions.

    On November 1, 2007, 72 states, including all members of the European Union, submitted a new draft resolution to the UN. He first calls for a moratorium on the execution of death sentences that have already been passed, with the aim of abolishing the death penalty in the long term, as it undermines human rights. After approval by the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (Third Committee), the UN General Assembly approved the motion on December 18, 2007 with 104 votes in favor. However, the moratorium on executions is not legally binding on the UN member states.

    Furthermore, every year some states renounce the death penalty under public pressure and anchor their abolition in law. Other UN member states keep them. Arbitrary executions and deadly forms of state violence are increasing; In dictatorships there is a lack of rule-of-law control and education about the nature and extent of individual and state crimes. The culturally different interpretations of human rights and other factors make it difficult to enforce international legal standards.

    In September 2017, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the death penalty for conduct such as apostasy , blasphemy, adultery or consensual homosexual relationships.

    Non-governmental organizations

    Many initiatives, organizations and social associations around the world are now committed to the abolition of the death penalty, which they mostly regard as an indispensable contribution to the general validity of all human rights. In order to make their respect irreversible, a constant civilizing commitment is required . Some supporters of the death penalty welcome this as a contribution to more legal security.

    Amnesty International (AI) was founded in 1961 with the main aim of abolishing the death penalty worldwide. Numerous groups with similar goals followed this globally recognized human rights organization . With the establishment of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (World Coalition Against the Death Penalty) in June 2001 in Strasbourg of such non-governmental organizations (NGOs), bar associations, have initially 38 municipalities and countries, trade unions and churches given from around the world a common platform. Since October 10, 2003, they have been holding an annual “Day of Action against the Death Penalty” and launching effective initiatives to enforce international legal standards, for example by sending prominent personalities and influential politicians to executions or parliamentary votes on the death penalty.

    On the initiative of several human rights organizations, the Colosseum in Rome has served as a monument against the death penalty since 1999. Whenever a death sentence is suspended or a state in the world abolishes the death penalty, it is illuminated in bright colors for 48 hours. Every year on November 30th, the Cities for Life campaign takes place, in which cities promote the abolition of the death penalty, for example by illuminating a symbol of their city. The Community of Sant'Egidio initiated this action in 2002. At that time, 80 cities took part; By 2010, the number of participants grew to over 1,300 cities in 85 states, including 64 capital cities; In 2012 over 1600 cities took part. The date was chosen because the Grand Duchy of Tuscany became the first country in the world to abolish the death penalty on that date in 1786. As part of the campaign "No to the death penalty", AI, the Community of Sant'Egidio and Moratorium 2000 have collected five million signatures against the death penalty since 1998 and handed them over to the United Nations .

    Abolition processes in individual states


    Time of the German Confederation

    The Baden guillotine (replica, Municipal Museum in Bruchsal Castle)

    The Paulskirche constitution of 1849 excluded the death penalty in civil law and included this abolition in its catalog of basic rights . This was followed by a few smaller states of Bremen , Oldenburg , Nassau, Anhalt, the Kingdom of Saxony and the Grand Duchy of Baden . However, most of these countries reintroduced the death penalty from 1850 because the larger countries retained it and did not recognize the catalog of fundamental rights.

    At that time, many German academics discussed the pros and cons of the death penalty and published treatises on it. The lawyer Friedrich Wilhelm Carové had declared in 1838 that the death penalty could only be abolished with overwhelming scientific reasons, which were not yet available, because of the idea of ​​retaliation that was deeply rooted in society. The natural scientist Emil Adolf Roßäßler argued in the Frankfurt National Assembly that the death penalty was a relic of feudalism because it treated those condemned to death as serfs of the authorities and made their lives dependent on the princes' right to pardon . Relying on this higher authority, judges could pass death sentences that they would otherwise have omitted.

    Roman Catholic and Lutheran theologians legitimized the state right to kill with reference to Rom 13.4 f. EU mostly as a divine arrangement, so that one cannot do without it without undermining God's authority. In Protestantism , Friedrich Schleiermacher rejected the death penalty for moral reasons. Their ecclesiastical legitimation and state application opposed only individual Protestant theologians, such as Johann Ulrich Wirth and Albert Bitzius . The German Juristentag recommended the abolition of the death penalty in 1863, although it sought a uniform penal code that would adopt the criminal laws common in most countries.

    North German Confederation and Empire

    In 1870 the North German Confederation passed a general penal code , which is why the death penalty was debated in the Reichstag for the first time. Above all, the Social Democrat Wilhelm Liebknecht spoke out against them; After his speech, a majority of 118 to 81 MPs approved the abolition in the second reading. However, Federal Chancellor Otto von Bismarck achieved a turnaround by invoking the unity of the nation: some German states would only approve the draft criminal law if the death penalty was retained in it. In the third reading, 127 to 119 MPs voted for this.

    Because the North German and then the Reich Penal Code of 1871 largely adopted the Prussian Penal Code, the death penalty was reintroduced in the countries that had already abolished it. It was intended as a punishment for murder (Section 211) and for attempted murder on the emperor or one's own sovereign (Section 80). A lay jury passed death sentences. A one-time appointment process was possible. After that, the convict in the case of § 211 his sovereign or the Senate of the respective outdoor city was to grace request; in the case of section 80, the emperor, insofar as the empire was affected. Only when the clemency had been explicitly rejected, the judgment could be enforced. Several dozen executioners were beheaded in various places across the empire. Spectators were allowed until 1877, after that only the required witnesses.

    King Wilhelm I of Prussia did not sign an execution order from 1868 to 1878. In the Kingdom of Bavaria there were only seven executions from 1868 to 1880. Under Wilhelm II , the number of executed death sentences rose sharply from 1892 onwards. The SPD's Erfurt program of 1891 called for the death penalty to be abolished. In 1895 the courts in Prussia passed 68 death sentences in 324 cases of murder and manslaughter; 31 of them were executed. From 1892 to 1896 there were 370 cases of homicide. For this, an average of 25 people were executed each year. On July 31, 1914, the state of war was declared as an official announcement. This laid down the death penalty for the following crimes: high treason, treason, arson, deliberate causing of a flood, deliberate endangerment of shipping and deliberate well poisoning.

    Official announcement in the 2nd extra edition of the Dresdner Neusten Nachrichten of July 31, 1914

    During the First World War , German military courts passed 150 death sentences, many of them for desertion . In its appeal for a revolution after the October reform of 1918, the Spartakusbund demanded the abolition of the death penalty in the military penal law without replacement . Rosa Luxemburg criticized the death penalty in July 1918 in her foreword to the autobiography of Vladimir Korolenkos , which she translated into German, with him and Leo Tolstoy as a political class judiciary.

    During the November Revolution of 1918/1919, the council government and local workers 'and soldiers' councils threatened looters and food thieves with the death penalty. Rosa Luxemburg demanded on November 18, 1918 in the first issue of the magazine " Die Rote Fahne ": "But a drastic measure can be carried out without further ado: The death penalty, this greatest disgrace of the reactionary German penal code, must disappear immediately!" This was partly due to the fact that striking munitions workers were threatened with the death penalty in the January strike in 1918. Their abolition is the necessary beginning of a fundamental judicial and social reform to overcome class rule.

    Weimar Republic

    In the debate on the Weimar Constitution , the opponents of the death penalty from the SPD , USPD and some dissenters from other parties failed to gain a majority. The death penalty for murder, espionage and treason remained in place.

    According to official statistics, 1,141 death sentences were imposed between 1919 and 1932, 184 of which were carried out. By 1923 the crime rate had risen sharply compared to the time of the World War. From 1924, the number of capital offenses, death sentences and executions steadily decreased. Public criticism contributed to the fact that murder charges were more frequently turned into manslaughter charges and that attorneys general exercised their right to pardon. However, left-wing murderers were punished with death far more often than right-wing murderers: Emil Julius Gumbel, among others, referred to this since 1920 . As a result of some fememicide by right-wing extremist perpetrators, the Republic Protection Act was passed in 1922 . Membership in anti-republican associations and the preparation of political assassinations were threatened with the death penalty. The SPD proposal to abandon this draft law if the death penalty were deleted from the Reich Criminal Code did not find a majority . Justice Minister Gustav Radbruch also strived for this, but only achieved a partial judicial reform by November 3, 1923.

    The mistaken execution of Josef Jakubowski as the alleged murderer of his own child in 1926 and the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in the USA in 1927, which was criticized worldwide as a judicial murder, sparked new public debates about the death penalty. Personalities like Albert Einstein , George Grosz , Heinrich Mann , Rudolf Olden , Kurt Tucholsky , Erwin Piscator , Max Reinhardt and Arnold Zweig campaigned for their abolition.

    A renewed application of the SPD to abolish it was rejected by a majority in the Reichstag in 1927 in the second reading: the death penalty was indispensable as a strong deterrent because of the brutalization caused by the war and the increase in serious crimes; after their abolition, the murders would increase again. A statistical comparison of six European countries showed neither such an increase nor any influence of the death penalty on the murder rates of these countries until 1930. In 1931, many German lawyers signed a resolution for the Internationale Kriminalistische Vereinigung , which stated: “In accordance with today's criminal policy demands, indefinite convictions or preventive detention are the necessary measures to protect the state and society against the sharpest form of crime that is dangerous to the public. The death penalty is not required. "

    time of the nationalsocialism

    The NSDAP had programmatically aimed to expand the death penalty to include new offenses since 1920, for example for conscientious objection . In his work Mein Kampf (Volume 1, 1925), Adolf Hitler blamed the imperial military jurisdiction, which he considered to be too mild, for its defeat in the First World War: “That in war, however, the death penalty was practically eliminated, i.e. the articles of war were in fact canceled , has taken terrible revenge. "

    With the "Law on the Imposition and Execution of the Death Penalty" of March 29, 1933, the Nazi regime enforced the " Ordinance of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State " of February 28, 1933, also retrospectively for acts committed since January 31, 1933 and thus abolished the rule of law no penalty without law . Because the alleged Reichstag arsonist Marinus van der Lubbe was executed on this basis on January 10, 1934, the new law is often called Lex van der Lubbe .

    At the Reich Party Congress in September 1934, Reich Commissioner for Justice Hans Frank presented the “ruthless execution of the death penalty” as a special achievement of the Nazi legal system. After that, many ordinances such as the ordinance against pests of the people of September 5, 1939 increased the number of those punishable by the death penalty Criminal offenses. On September 4, 1941, Section 1 of the Act to Change the Reich Criminal Code introduced the “death penalty for cleaning” for “dangerous habitual criminals” and “moral criminals”. The “protection of the national community” or the need for just “atonement” were sufficient for their imposition. In addition to retaliation and prevention, the purpose of the law was the elimination of offenders judged to be “inferior”. The criminal lawyer Georg Dahm justified this with a "moral and biological need to cleanse the community". In 1942 Hitler said: “After 10 years in prison, man is lost to the national community anyway. You either put that guy in a concentration camp or kill him. Lately the latter has become more important for the sake of deterrence. "

    From February 28, 1933 to April 16, 1945, the death penalty became the standard punishment for 46 other criminal offenses besides murder, in order to legally safeguard the Nazi dictatorship. Overall, the Nazi regime introduced the death penalty for 77 new offenses. From 1944 it could also be imposed for any violation of the “ healthy public sentiment ”.

    According to official statistics, between 1933 and 1945 16,560 death sentences were passed and 12,000 were carried out. 664 death sentences were passed before, 15,896 in World War II . The People's Court alone imposed 5,243 death sentences, mostly under Roland Freisler . Military courts passed around 20,000 more death sentences. In 1989, the legal historian Ingo Müller estimated the total number of death sentences passed by the Nazi courts-martial during World War II at 33,000, of which 89% were also carried out. An unknown number of death sentences, presumably more than 5,000, have been made since spring 1944 due to the increasing use of "flying standing courts", which were initially attached to so-called Feldjäger-Kommandos as mobile courts, but from February 1945 were also set up by army groups and the reserve army and then acted independently behind the front.

    Most of the death sentences were carried out with the guillotine . The best known and busiest executioner of the Nazi era was Johann Reichhart . Hanging was also common, especially in the case of treason and mass executions, such as after the failed assassination attempt of July 20, 1944 : At that time, up to 142 people were executed daily in Plötzensee prison, and on Hitler's orders in a particularly cruel manner by hanging on meat hooks with piano strings . Hitler had the executions filmed and photographed.

    On January 25, 1985, the German Bundestag ruled that the People's Court had been a terrorist instrument used to enforce arbitrary National Socialist rule. Therefore, his judgments are not legally effective. The law on the repeal of Nazi injustice judgments in the administration of criminal justice of August 25, 1998 also formally overturned the judgments of the People's Court and the Nazi tribunals (see Repeal of Nazi Injustice Judgments ).

    Soviet occupation zone

    In the Soviet Zone , German courts sentenced 121 people to death between 1945 and 1949, 47 of whom were executed. In one case, enforcement has not been proven. (see also list of people executed in the GDR ).

    The military tribunals of the Soviet occupation forces in Germany convicted from 1945 to 1947, when the Soviet Union the death penalty abolished temporarily, a total of 1,786 German civilians to death by shooting , of which 922 charges of " counter-revolutionary crimes " and 529 for " war and violent crime ." 1232 of these judgments were carried out.

    German Democratic Republic

    After the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was founded in 1949 and the Soviet Union reintroduced the death penalty in 1950, Soviet military tribunals sentenced a total of 1,112 German civilians to death by 1953, often for overlapping reasons. According to the reasons for the verdict, 1,108 convicts belonged to the crime group “counterrevolutionary crimes”, including 1,061 cases of “espionage”, 788 of “organizational formation”, 358 of “propaganda” and 272 others. In six cases the crime group “war and violent crimes” was given.

    In most of these cases, the responsible Ministry for State Security (MfS) first investigated the suspects, arrested them, extorted initial confessions from them and “classified” them in a crime category. On this basis, the Soviet secret police continued the proceedings in the GDR or the Soviet Union; the judgments were made by a Soviet military court. All 960 death sentences and a further 31, which cannot be assigned to either of the two periods, were carried out in Moscow . Soviet organs did not give relatives any information about the further fate of an arrested person. Only after the end of the Soviet Union in 1990 did the Russian authorities provide information on the execution and rehabilitate at least 662 of the 960 people convicted after 1950.

    The Soviet Army declared a state of emergency over large parts of the GDR against the uprising of June 17, 1953 . Stand courts passed at least eighteen death sentences, which were carried out immediately.

    Courts of the GDR passed 227 final death sentences, of which 166 were carried out. 52 enforced judgments were issued for political offenses, 64 for crimes during the Nazi era and 44 for ordinary crime, mostly murder. The convicts were beheaded with the guillotine , those of the Waldheim trials were strangled . From 1968, death sentences were carried out by an " unexpected close-up shot in the back of the head ".

    Werner Teske 's last execution in Germany was carried out on June 26, 1981 in the building of what was then the Central Execution Site of the GDR in Leipzig .

    Until 1956, most of the executions took place in the “ Central Execution Site ” in Dresden , but also in the Brandenburg penitentiary and in Frankfurt (Oder) . The GDR's Dresden guillotine came from the Nazi era. After that, death sentences were only carried out in the “Central Execution Site” in Leipzig (Arndtstrasse 48). The corpses of those executed were taken to Leipzig's southern cemetery in secrecy , cremated anonymously and their ashes buried. There are no names in the crematorium books, only the comment "Anatomy".

    The death penalty has rarely been imposed since 1970. The last civilian to be executed was the child murderer Erwin Hagedorn on September 15, 1972 , and the last civil servant to be executed on June 26, 1981, the MfS officer Werner Teske .

    On July 17, 1987, the State Council of the GDR announced the abolition of the death penalty as part of a comprehensive amnesty . a. for economic crime and flight from the republic . In December, the People's Chamber passed a law on this. These measures corresponded to Western demands and were related to the then upcoming state visit by Erich Honecker to Bonn .

    Almost all executions in the GDR were kept secret, even after published death sentences in show trials . The relatives received a message, but the bodies were not handed over. Often the funeral or death certificates record fictitious "natural" causes of death such as "heart failure". The number and type of executions were only known after the political changes in 1989/90.

    Western Allied Occupation Zones

    Between 1945 and 1951 the last death sentences were carried out in what would later become the Federal Republic of Germany . Most of them were made during the Nuremberg Trials against representatives of the Nazi regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity ( Holocaust ). In prisons of the US Army on West German soil, 806 people were sentenced to death by 1951; around 300 of them were executed, including 284 in the Landsberg War Crimes Prison .

    The state constitutions of Baden , Bavaria , Bremen and Hesse passed in 1946/47 contained provisions on the death penalty. No death sentences were passed there until 1949. On February 18, 1949, West German authorities were the last to execute the 28-year-old murderer Richard Schuh in Tübingen , whose pardon the then President of Württemberg-Hohenzollern , Gebhard Müller , had refused to give. The last death sentence in the area in what would become the Federal Republic of Germany was imposed on Irmgard Swinka on May 7, 1949 in Cologne; the 37-year-old was convicted of five murders, but was no longer executed on the following day due to the adoption of the Basic Law by the Parliamentary Council and was finally pardoned in 1983. In Rhineland-Palatinate , death sentences passed were no longer carried out: the newly built guillotine was reported ready for use on May 11, 1949. Three days earlier, the Parliamentary Council had passed the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany , which repealed the death penalty nationwide. In Bavaria, the provisions on the death penalty were formally deleted from the constitution in 1998 , and in Hesse in 2018.

    Because of its four-power status, West Berlin did not belong to the scope of the Basic Law until 1990. There, on May 11, 1949, the 24-year-old robbery murderer Berthold Wehmeyer, who was sentenced to death before the city split, was executed by guillotine. On January 20, 1951, the "Act to Abolish the Death Penalty" came into force in West Berlin. The occupation statute continued to provide this as the maximum penalty for “criminal acts against the interests of the occupying powers”. It was never imposed because of it. By order of March 15, 1989 ( Law and Ordinance Gazette for Berlin 1989, p. 568), the Allied Command lifted the death penalty with immediate effect.

    Federal Republic of Germany

    At the constitutional convention on Herrenchiemsee in August 1948, the representatives of the states in the western zones were supposed to work out a draft of a German constitution for the parliamentary council . They considered abolishing the death penalty, but did not include it in the draft, only recommended that the Council "turn its attention" to this abolition. The consensus was therefore not to leave the regulation of the death penalty to the federal states.

    During the deliberations of the Council on the Basic Law, MP Hans-Christoph Seebohm surprisingly proposed a ban on the death penalty for the right-wing German party on December 6, 1948. His party wanted to denounce further Allied death sentences for Nazi war criminals in order to recruit former National Socialists and to increase the pressure to end the Allied denazification . After the SPD's initial rejection, Friedrich Wilhelm Wagner applied for the SPD on February 10, 1949 to include the sentence “The death penalty has been abolished” in the Basic Law. This is necessary to prove a renewed legal awareness of the Germans and their turning away from Nazi “barbarism”. Although the CDU rejected the application, it found a clear cross-party majority on May 6, 1949.

    “After everything that had happened in Germany and elsewhere in the past decades through German blood courts, we Germans should bear witness to the fact that life in all people, including murderers, is to be kept sacred, and that criminal policy considerations of usefulness in relation to this postulate do not represent arguments. "

    - Carlo Schmid (1979)

    Art. 102 GG came into force as superordinate federal law with the establishment of the Federal Republic in 1949. Since then, the death penalty may neither be ordered nor carried out in the Federal Republic. Immediately afterwards Konrad Adenauer (CDU) and Kurt Schumacher (SPD) visited the High Commissioner for Germany and protested against the execution of war criminals sentenced to death by US military courts, referring to the new German legal situation. John Jay McCloy then suspended some pending executions. Nevertheless, on June 7, 1951, the last seven German war criminals were hanged in Landsberg.

    In the Criminal Code, the death penalty was provided for murder until 1953 and was replaced by life imprisonment in the Third Criminal Law Amendment Act ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 735 ) . Individual states' constitutions retained provisions on the death penalty for a while, which the superordinate Basic Law had invalidated. Article 47, Paragraph 4 of the Bavarian Constitution was deleted after a referendum on February 8, 1998. In the constitution of the Saarland , which acceded to the Federal Republic in 1957, there was a similar provision until 1956. Until 2018, Article 21, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the State of Hesse allowed a judicial death sentence based on a criminal law for particularly serious crimes.

    In 1950, under the impression of some serious violent crimes, the right-wing conservative Bavarian Party demanded that the death penalty be reintroduced. Their MP Hermann Etzel justified this in the Bundestag debate on March 27, 1950 with death penalty laws from the Imperial and Weimar periods. He claimed that the Basic Law was created in an undemocratic way and did not correspond to the will of the population. The vast majority are in favor of the death penalty for the "eradication" of multiple robbery, sexual, parent and child murderers. Only the German party approved the motion, so that it already missed a simple majority.

    In 1952, the German party, which was then part of the government, applied again to reinstate the death penalty. Federal Chancellor Adenauer and later Minister of Justice Richard Jaeger ( CSU ) also advocated this in individual campaign speeches. Justice Minister Thomas Dehler ( FDP ) named the main argument of the opponents in the Bundestag: "If you have basically decided in favor of the death penalty, then the decisive threshold has been exceeded."

    “In general it cannot be denied that the death penalty is essentially not the cause of the killer's decision; on the contrary, it is assumed by many psychologists that it is precisely through the death penalty that the beast is awakened in man. ... [With] this consideration one can claim the death penalty for almost all serious crimes. At the end we would come to certain considerations during the Nazi era, which in fact went further and further with the expansion of the death penalty, and at the end demanded that every act that endangers the security of the people must be atone for with death. "

    In the context of these legislative proposals, the death penalty was also discussed in the EKD. The Protestant theologians Paul Althaus , Emil Brunner and Walther Künneth affirmed it as “atonement” based on a traditional state metaphysics , according to which the state (Rom 13.4) must enforce God's right to retribution (Gen 9.6). In a 1949 report for the Bundestag, Künneth claimed that the state restores God's holiness through the death penalty for murder. For Karl Barth, however, Jesus Christ 's death on the cross ultimately excludes the death penalty, because here the Son of God carried out the reconciliation with the lawbreaker (all people) once and for all, took all retribution and thus made it superfluous. From this point of view, a constitutional right to punish through death is a presumption incompatible with the center of Christian faith. Ernst Wolf contradicted the traditional Lutheran state metaphysics: Rom. 13 does not unconditionally legitimize every government and does not elevate them to God's representative on earth, but subordinates all forms of state and governments to God's right to grace, which Christ performed once and for all. The “sword office” (Rom 13.4) does not therefore imply an unconditional right to the death penalty; this cannot atone for wrong. This position prevailed in the EKD.

    According to surveys, the majority of those questioned supported the death penalty until 1967. The number of supporters steadily declined, but rose again for a short time in individual years, for example because of sexual offenses, around 1964 or 1967. For some crimes committed by the RAF in the 1970s, poll majorities and some CSU politicians also called for their reintroduction at times. This was never discussed again in the Bundestag. It is unconstitutional because of Article 102 of the Basic Law.

    During the German autumn in 1977, at the request of Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, “exotic proposals” for solving the terrorism problem were discussed, some of which included the reintroduction of the death penalty. Attorney General Kurt Rebmann advocated the so-called “Model No. 6”, which states: “The Bundestag will immediately amend Article 102 of the Basic Law. Instead, after the constitutional amendment, people can be shot who are to be freed by terrorists who are being blackmailed hostages. The death sentence is passed by a decision of the highest court. No legal remedies possible. ”In the opinion of Gerhart Baum , then Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior , such a proposal could never have been implemented.

    German criminal law makes a strict distinction between the term “punishment” as “reprisal” or “evil infliction” and a “measure” to protect society, which is usually used to justify the killing of criminals. Therefore, the scope of Art. 102 was discussed constitutionally. According to the prevailing opinion, it also excludes all as reactions to crimes and all preventively justified state killings. It remained controversial whether, in conjunction with Art. 2, Paragraph 2 (right to life), it would rule out all planned killings of persons known by name by state organs.

    Legal scholars also discuss whether Art. 102 could be amended or deleted in accordance with Art. 79 GG with a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat . Some constitutional lawyers deny the general incompatibility of the death penalty with human dignity. This cannot be proven legally or in the future. The constitution has therefore waived to explicitly allow Article 102 to participate in the guarantee of eternity , so that this Article is not mentioned under the fundamental rights that are unchangeable under Article 79 (3). Capital crimes remained conceivable, for which the death penalty could exceptionally be threatened. Art. 102 would then remain in force as an overriding law in order to guarantee the exceptional character of this threat. According to the legal opinion prevailing today , however, a death penalty violates inviolable human dignity in any case and thus violates Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law . Since this is protected against changes by the eternity clause, Art. 102 GG is strictly speaking superfluous and only has a clarifying function. Accordingly, the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of November 16, 1995 states:

    “For humanitarian reasons, no state can have the right to dispose of the lives of its citizens through this sanction. Rather, the primacy of the absolute protection of life requires that a legal community affirm the inviolability of human life as the highest value, precisely by renouncing the death penalty. In addition, it seems imperative to prevent the risk of abuse of the death penalty from the outset by accepting that it is inadmissible without exception. Wrong judgments can never be ruled out. The state organization of the execution of the death penalty is ultimately, measured against the ideal of human dignity, an absolutely unreasonable and unbearable undertaking. "
    “These concerns suggest that, under German constitutional law, any reintroduction of the death penalty - also apart from Article 102 of the Basic Law - before Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law and the essential content guarantee of the fundamental right to life (Article 2, Paragraph 2, Clause 1 in conjunction with Art . V. m. Art. 19 (2) GG) could not last ... "

    According to the Law on International Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (Section 8), the Federal Republic of Germany may only approve extradition requests from other states if the recipient state guarantees that the extradited perpetrator will not be sentenced to death or that a death sentence will not be carried out.

    The Federal Constitutional Court classified in its judgment on the second NPD ban proceedings in 2017 the demand of the party for a referendum on the reintroduction of the death penalty as unconstitutional. However, the anti-constitutionality of the NPD did not essentially tie in with this position, but with its racial concept of the people.


    The Last Day of a Condemned Man , painting by Mihály von Munkácsy , 1872

    In the revolutionary year of 1848, Republicans like Victor Hugo again called for the abolition of the death penalty. Although they could not prevail, the demand remained under discussion from now on. The last public execution in Versailles took place in 1939 with the beheading of the delinquent Eugen Weidmann . Executions increased enormously during and after the Second World War. After the occupation, 8,348 people are said to have been executed without trial.

    In June 1972, attorney Robert Badinter lost a death penalty in court and witnessed the execution of his client Roger Bontemps . He and his accomplice Claude Buffet were convicted of killing two hostages while attempting to break out of prison, although it was proven that he had not committed the murder. This turned Badinter from a critic to a vehement opponent of the death penalty. From then on he often defended accused who faced the death penalty and was nicknamed Monsieur Abolition . After that, there was no death sentence for three years. On July 28, 1976, the child murderer Christian Ranucci was executed. In June 1977 Badinter managed to avert the death penalty for the child murderer Patrick Henri, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, through a memorable plea against the death penalty against public pressure.

    President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing , a declared opponent of the death penalty, has not yet put its abolition on the political agenda, but has made use of his right to pardon in individual cases . Between the Patrick Henri case and the abolition of the death penalty in 1981, three death sentences were carried out. On September 10, 1977, Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed in France in Marseille . The last executioner in the French Republic was Marcel Chevalier . In 1978 Amnesty International criticized the practice of the death penalty in France , which until 1981 could be carried out with the guillotine.

    The last confirmed death sentence in the supreme court was issued against the later historian Philippe Maurice , the last death sentence in the first instance was pronounced in Colmar on September 28, 1981, two days before the final abolition decision by the French Senate . There was no more execution.

    François Mitterrand promised the abolition of the death penalty in the 1981 election campaign and, after his election victory, made Robert Badinter, who had supported him in his two election campaigns in 1974 and 1981, as Minister of Justice. In September 1981, with a committed speech in the National Assembly, he achieved a three-quarters majority in favor of prohibiting the death penalty. In addition to the socialists, bourgeois MPs, including Jacques Chirac and Philippe Séguin , voted for his bill, which the Senate officially approved on September 30, 1981. On February 17, 1986, France also ratified the sixth additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights . On February 19, 2007, the death penalty was included in the French constitution . The members of the National Assembly and Senate, who met in Congress, passed the amendment with 828 to 26 votes. Now it says: "Nobody may be sentenced to death."

    Today in France only the Front National under Marine Le Pen is calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty. On the 25th anniversary of its abolition, the French central bank considered issuing a two-euro commemorative coin , but this was not implemented.

    According to a September 2006 poll, 42 percent of French people are in favor of reintroducing the death penalty, including around 44 percent of men and 48 percent of all citizens between the ages of 35 and 49 and over 65 years of age. For French people aged between 25 and 34, the proportion is 32 percent.


    The Principality of Liechtenstein was politically and with regard to the legal system closely linked to Austria for centuries. In 1785 a person was last executed in Liechtenstein ( Barbara Erni , convicted on Rofenberg on February 26, 1785). This very likely had a connection with the “ General Code of Crimes and Their Punishment ” of 1787, which replaced the Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana of 1768 in Austria and in which the death penalty for ordinary crimes was abolished (until 1792/1803) and replaced by forced labor .

    On November 29, 1977 , the death penalty was imposed for the last time by a Liechtenstein court, specifically the Princely Liechtenstein Criminal Court, as part of a triple murder in which a father shot his wife and two children . The lawyers had no choice but to pronounce the death penalty due to the outdated criminal law, but at the time it was clear that it would not be carried out. Therefore, they sat logical as previously customary to pardon princes of, so it was on 20 November 1979, when the penalty pursuant to Art. 12 para. 1 Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein by Franz Josef II. In a 15 -year severe prison sentence has been commuted . The death penalty was officially abolished in Liechtenstein in 1987 (accession to the Council of Europe in 1978).


    New Zealand


    In the Netherlands, the death penalty was abolished in civil criminal law in 1870, not in martial law and military criminal law. The last two executions took place in 1860. In 1939 there was a debate as to whether the death penalty should be introduced for high treason and / or treason. When the German Wehrmacht invaded the western campaign from May 10 to 15, 1940 , three soldiers were convicted of desertion and executed. Many death sentences were passed and carried out under the German occupation. Shortly after the liberation, many parts of the Netherlands were lynched. The death penalty was reintroduced in order to execute collaborators and other people who, according to post-war justice, had committed serious crimes during the occupation. 154 people were sentenced to death, 39 of whom were executed. The last two (the Dutchman Andries Pieters and the German Artur Albrecht) were shot on March 21, 1952. Queen Juliana pardoned many of the rest. Four pardons were imprisoned for decades; they became known as the Four of Breda . The last two were released in January 1989 (shortly before their deaths).

    In 1983, with the introduction of Article 114 into the constitution of the Netherlands , the death penalty was also abolished in military law (“De doodstraf kan niet sein oposed”).


    In Austria there have been attempts to limit or abolish the death penalty since the 16th century. In the 18th century, the "aggravated", with particularly cruel torture such as was wheeled associated form of the death penalty abolished. After taking office in 1780, Joseph II only received a death sentence. In 1787 he abolished the death penalty in the ordinary criminal process with the Josephine Criminal Law ; it was only preserved in the martial law . For economic reasons and because it should be more deterrent and sensitive, convicts were instead used for forced labor such as pulling ships on the Danube , but many died as a result of the circumstances. In 1795 the death penalty was reintroduced for high treason and in 1803 for other serious crimes. Women were no longer sentenced to death from 1809. It was not until 1900 that a woman, the child murderer Juliana Hummel, was sentenced to death and executed.

    The criminal law reform of 1871 only provided the death penalty for murder. During the First World War until 1919, however, an emergency ordinance law was in force, which again punished further offenses with death. Then the First Austrian Republic abolished the death penalty for due process. The provisions relating to the dispute resolution procedure remained unaffected. The government under Engelbert Dollfuss ( CSP ) proclaimed martial law in 1933, which meant that the death penalty could be re-imposed for several offenses. By emergency ordinance from February 12 to 21, 1934, the crime of "riot" according to §§ 73, 74 StG 1852 was also made subject to court jurisdiction. In June 1934, the government reintroduced the death penalty to due process. Over 40 people were executed in Austria between 1933 and 1938 . A total of 141 death sentences were pronounced in Austria between February 1934 and March 1938, most of which were commuted to prison terms. After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, the legal situation was similar to that of the Third Reich.

    In the Second Republic , the death penalty was initially provided for serious crimes. After the Second World War, Austrian courts handed down 101 death sentences - 30 of them by people's courts - and carried out 46. The people's courts existed between 1945 and 1955 and were responsible for punishing certain crimes committed during the Nazi era. The last person to be executed under Austrian law was Johann Trnka , who was hanged on March 24, 1950 in the Regional Criminal Court in Vienna . The death penalty in the Republic of Austria was abolished in 1950 for ordinary proceedings , and on February 7, 1968 also for court proceedings. The legal basis for this is Article 85 of the Federal Constitutional Law , the 6th and especially the 13th Additional Protocol to the ECHR. The jurisprudence of the occupying powers remained unaffected by the changes in Austrian law. The last execution under Allied law - also by hanging - took place in February 1955 in the US zone of occupation .

    East Timor

    In East Timor , the death penalty under Section 29 of the Constitution has been abolished since the country's independence was restored in 2002.

    Russia and Soviet Union

    In the Russian Empire the death penalty was often imposed on political opponents of the tsars . A bourgeois opposition arose against this, including Leo Tolstoy and his supporters. After the February Revolution of 1917 , Alexander Kerensky lifted the death penalty in Russian military criminal law to protect deserted soldiers. However, after three months, the Provisional Government reintroduced it.

    After the October Revolution of 1917, the Second Congress of Soviets, on the initiative of Lev Borisovich Kamenev , repealed this decree. Lenin was not present and in June 1918 had the death penalty reintroduced into general criminal law for the duration of the war. In January 1920 it was lifted again as publicly announced, but only for four months and after a mass shooting of political prisoners. In 1922, Lenin tightened the draft for a new criminal code by expanding the shootings planned for six offenses to 12 offenses. The German historian Wolfgang Leonhard, on the other hand, believes that Lenin also endeavored to view the Cheka, terror and the death penalty only as temporary combat measures and institutions during the civil war, which should be abolished and discontinued after its end.

    The 1926 Criminal Code of the Russian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic , which was valid throughout the Soviet Union (SU), described the death penalty as "the most severe measure of social protection - execution". It could be imposed for "counter-revolutionary crimes" and a number of other crimes, particularly against military personnel. During the " purges " of 1937/38, around 800,000 people were executed for "counter-revolutionary crimes". Since the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1939, the SU's death penalty also served to eliminate possible opponents of communist rule in conquered areas. In December 1944 and January 1945, Georgi Dimitrov ordered a zero tolerance policy from the Central Committee of the CPSU and demanded that there should be no acquittals. On February 1, 1945, communist people's courts sentenced 2,730 members of Bulgaria's elite to death. The death sentences were carried out the following night.

    From 1947 to 1950 the death penalty was abolished in the SU; however, the secret police , which was then subordinate to the People's Commissariat for State Security , was still allowed to kill suspected opponents of the regime without trial.

    Russia signed but not yet ratified the ECHR in 1997 and maintains the death penalty under martial law. However , in 1999 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation suspended all death sentences and banned others.


    The last execution in Sweden was carried out in Stockholm on December 23, 1910 of the robbery murderer Alfred Ander . Death sentences pronounced after that date were no longer carried out. In 1921 the death penalty was abolished in peacetime. In the course of the constitutional reform in 1973, the death penalty was finally abolished.


    Execution Methods

    Execution of Héli Freymond on January 10, 1868 in Moudon

    In civil criminal law in Switzerland , beheading with the sword had been the usual method of execution for those sentenced to death since early modern times . From 1798 the guillotine was added in the wake of the French invasion , with individual cantons giving the convicts the choice between it and the sword. The last people sentenced to death to be beheaded with the sword were Niklaus Emmenegger (July 6, 1867 in Lucerne ) and Héli Freymond (January 10, 1868 in Moudon ). All nine executions from the reintroduction of the civil death penalty in 1879 to its abolition in 1942 have been carried out with the Lucerne guillotine . In contrast, those convicted of treason in the Second World War were executed by shooting.

    Death penalty in civil law

    As early as 1848, the death penalty for political offenses was abolished in the federal constitution . In the constitutional revision of 1874 it was generally prohibited (at that time Art. 65 BV). Due to a significant increase in crime, probably a former recession was due, the prohibition of the death penalty but has in the referendum of 18 May 1879 52.5% in favor and 15 to 7 stalls removed again from the Constitution. As a result, ten - with the exception of Schaffhausen - traditionally Catholic cantons and half-cantons re-included the death penalty in their penal codes:

    Canton Date of reintroduction
    AI April 25, 1880
    OW April 25, 1880
    UR May 2, 1880
    SZ September 16, 1880
    ZG June 1, 1882
    SG January 8, 1883
    LU April 18, 1883
    VS November 24, 1883
    SH March 14, 1893
    FR November 24, 1894

    The civil death penalty was rarely carried out in Switzerland since 1848 (between 1851 and 1873 there were 95 death sentences and 38 executions) and was no longer provided for in the other cantonal penal codes even after its reintroduction in 1879. Between 1879 and 1892, all death sentences pronounced by the courts, even in the most serious murder cases, were commuted to life imprisonment by the responsible cantonal parliaments by virtue of their pardon , so that the criminal law expert Carl Stooss wrote in early 1892 that the death penalty had de facto been abolished in Switzerland .

    The Lucerne guillotine , which has been used for all civil executions in Switzerland since 1879. Today it is kept in the Historical Museum in Lucerne .

    A total of 22 death sentences were passed by civil courts in Switzerland between 1879 and 1942. From 1892, nine civil executions were carried out, eight of them in central Switzerland , four of them in the canton of Lucerne :

    Surname Canton date
    Ferdinand Gatti LU March 18, 1892
    Johann Keller LU October 31, 1893
    Dominik Abegg SZ May 25, 1894
    Etienne Chatton FR August 1, 1902
    Matthias Muff LU May 2, 1910
    Anselm Wütschert LU January 20, 1915
    Klemens Bernet UR October 29, 1924
    Paul Irniger ZG August 25, 1939
    Hans Vollenweider OW October 18, 1940

    In 1898 the federal government was given the authority to standardize Swiss criminal law, which was previously regulated by the cantons. On December 21, 1937 (39 years later), after heated debates, parliament passed a federal penal code that definitively excluded the death penalty. A referendum was successfully held against this standardization , so that a referendum was held on July 3, 1938. The bill was passed with 53.5% yes-votes and came into force on January 1, 1942, abolishing the civil death penalty in Switzerland.

    The 32-year-old three-time murderer Hans Vollenweider from Zurich was the last to be executed after civil criminal proceedings on October 18, 1940 in Sarnen in the canton of Obwalden . Since the abolition of the death penalty had already been decided at this point, but was not yet in force, the rejection of the petition for clemency by the Obwalden cantonal parliament sparked a sometimes heated debate. Paul Irniger was also only convicted and executed after the vote in 1939 in the canton of Zug ; Irniger, however, had renounced appellation and pardon.

    Death penalty in military criminal law

    Swiss military criminal law continued to provide for the death penalty for treason during wartime. On this basis, 30 people were sentenced to death in World War II; 17 of them were shot by the end of the war. On the occasion of a petition for clemency for three condemned to death as traitors, the Protestant Reformed Church in the canton of Zurich discussed the legitimacy of the death penalty in 1942. The theologian Leonhard Ragaz rejected it, his colleague Emil Brunner affirmed it in exceptional cases. He thus contributed to the parliamentary rejection of the pardon. The Third Reich's espionage activities in Switzerland ceased after the execution of the first military death sentences in 1942. The military death penalty was carried out for the last time on December 7, 1944 against the spies Walter Laubscher and Hermann Grimm in Eggwald near Bachs . On March 20, 1992, the death penalty in martial law was abolished by the Federal Assembly following a parliamentary initiative by National Councilor Massimo Pini ( FDP / TI ) . In the total revision of the Federal Constitution of 1999, the death penalty was also prohibited at constitutional level. Since then, Article 10 paragraph 1 of the Swiss Federal Constitution has read :

    “Everyone has the right to life. The death penalty is forbidden. "

    Reintroduction discussions

    Since the abolition of the civil death penalty, there have been several attempts to reintroduce it. In 1979 National Councilor Valentin Oehen ( SD / BE ) submitted a parliamentary initiative that would have introduced the death penalty for murder and terrorism with hostage-taking . The National Council rejected this with 131 votes against 3. In 1985, a popular initiative to reintroduce the death penalty for drug traffickers in the collective stage failed . In August 2010, an initiative committee consisting of seven members of a woman murdered in Kriens in 2009 submitted the list of signatures for a popular initiative calling for the introduction of the death penalty for "murder with sexual abuse" for the purpose of preliminary examination and publication in the Federal Gazette . The initiative committee announced one day after publication and the start of collecting signatures that it would withdraw the initiative.

    No attempts have been made to reintroduce the military death penalty.


    In Spain, José I. Bonaparte (1768–1844) ordered in 1809 to carry out executions only with the garrote . Shortly afterwards he changed his mind; From 1832 (until the abolition of the death penalty in the Second Republic) only guillotine executions were carried out.

    The constitution of the Second Republic did not contain the death penalty (span. Pena de muerte or pena capital ). The Franco regime reintroduced them and increased the number of crimes that were punishable by the death penalty. The last people to be executed with the garrotto were people who had been convicted of ETA or FRAP terrorists (FRAP = Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota) and a German .

    In 1978 Spain received a new constitution (entered into force on December 29, 1978). Article 15 has abolished the death penalty, but contains an exception in the event of war:

    «Todos tienen derecho a la vida ya la integridad física y moral, sin que, en ningún caso, puedan ser sometidos a tortura ni a penas o tattos inhumanos o degradantes. Queda abolida la pena de muerte, salvo lo que puedan disponer las leyes penales militares para tiempos de guerra. "

    “Everyone has the right to life and physical and moral integrity, and no one should ever be subjected to torture or inhuman and degrading punishment or treatment. The death penalty has been abolished, with the exception of provisions that military penal laws may lay down in wartime. "


    In 2004 Turkey abolished the death penalty by law. The main reason was that Turkey wanted to become a member of the EU and this made the abolition of the death penalty a condition for admission. Illegal killings by the police and the military, whether through arrest or torture in custody, continued to occur in Turkey.

    After the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 , President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had the reintroduction of the death penalty examined. This would require a two-thirds majority in parliament. However, since Article 38 of the Turkish Constitution rules out the retrospective application of the death penalty, death sentences against alleged coup participants would be unconstitutional. Article 7 of the ECHR (No punishment without a law) also prohibits the retroactive increase in punishment. Turkey partially suspended the ECHR in July 2016. According to observers, this does not justify the reintroduction of the death penalty.

    After the constitutional referendum in Turkey in 2017 , Erdogan described the reintroduction of the death penalty as his "first task". In July 2017, he said that criticism from the EU would not prevent him from immediately signing a law reintroducing the death penalty. He also threatened to "tear off the heads" of the alleged initiators of the coup. For a death penalty law either a parliamentary two-thirds majority has to pass a constitutional amendment or a parliamentary majority of 60% has to pass a referendum on the death penalty.

    United Kingdom

    In the 18th century in the Kingdom of Great Britain around 200 different offenses could be punished with death. However, the application of the law was very inconsistent. In addition, it was at the discretion of the judge whether the convicted person's appeals for clemency were allowed. From 1861, the death penalty was only imposed for murder, high treason, piracy and serious arson . In addition, from 1868 onwards, there was no longer any public execution because of the frequent violence and theft among the audience.

    In England around 1800 more death sentences were imposed than ever before. Up until the 1820s, the death penalty was imposed on around 400 crimes in England, including a. on pickpocketing when doing one thing worth a shilling was more or stolen.

    In 1949 the government set up a commission that published a report on the pros and cons of the death penalty in 1953. Based on their recommendations, from 1957 the death penalty was only imposed for particularly serious cases of murder, for example on police officers while on duty. What sparked controversy over the death penalty was the case of young Derek Bentley , who was hanged in 1953 for a murder he did not commit. The last woman to be executed was Ruth Ellis in 1955 ; the two robberies Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans were the last men to be hanged on August 13, 1964. Already at the beginning of the 1960s, after the highly controversial executions in the Evans († 1950), Bentley († 1953), Ellis († 1955) and Hanratty († 1962) cases, a controversial debate about the abolition of the Death penalty passed.

    In 1965, the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act was passed, suspending the death penalty for murder for the next five years. In 1969, one year before the deadline, it was decided to extend the law indefinitely. After that, a death sentence was only possible for high treason or piracy, but was never carried out.

    In Northern Ireland , the death penalty was formally allowed until 1973. However, no executions have taken place since 1962 . In October 1998 the death penalty was abolished in Great Britain and Northern Ireland also in the military sector ( see also : Human Rights Act 1998 ). Nobody had been executed there since 1964. Two parliamentary reintroduction initiatives failed. In December 1999 the United Kingdom ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , which makes abolition binding under international law.

    State death penalty practice

    Countries where the death penalty applies to apostasy


    India's legal system has included the death penalty since the state was founded in 1947 as a legacy of the colonial days of British India . Death sentences are rarely carried out; there were no executions between 2004 and 2012. In the summer of 2012, President Pratibha Patil commuted 35 death sentences to prison terms. In November 2012, the Mumbai assassin was Ajmal Kasab , and in February 2013 Afzal Guru was executed for a terrorist attack on Parliament in New Delhi in December 2001.

    As a result of the gang rape in Delhi in 2012, India tightened its sex criminal law in February 2013 : Since then, the death penalty can be imposed for rape victims whose victim falls permanently into a coma or dies. In September 2013, the four adult defendants in this case were sentenced to death under the new law. In addition to them, another 18 people sentenced to death are currently waiting to be executed in India. The president refused her appeals for clemency. In March 2020, the four main adult perpetrators of the gang rape were hanged.

    In July 2015, Yakub Memon , who was sentenced to death in connection with a series of attacks in March 1993 in Bombay, was executed.


    In January 2015, despite international protests, Indonesia executed six inmates convicted of drug offenses, including five foreigners (Netherlands, Brazil, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria). 20 executions have been announced for 2015 (as of January 2015); There were no executions in 2014. In April 2015, eight other inmates convicted of drug offenses were executed, including four Nigerians, two Australians, and one Brazilian and one Indonesian. In late July 2016, four men were executed for drug offenses; at the same time, at least 121 people were on death row, almost all of them for drug offenses.


    In Iraq , the death penalty was abolished after the fall of Saddam Hussein , but was reintroduced in August 2004. By April 2007, at least 270 people had been sentenced to death and 100 executed. In 2009, Iraq was third in the world with 77 executions and in 2012 with 129 executions.

    Many death sentences in Iraq come after unfair trials, according to Amnesty International . Suspicions that confessions were obtained through torture are rarely followed up.

    In Iraq, the death penalty is carried out by hanging.


    Iran has been one of the countries with the highest number of executions per year, especially since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 ; in absolute terms, it ranks second after China. They are often carried out in public, mostly by hanging . Stoning is also possible, especially in the case of sexual offenses ( extramarital intercourse , homosexuality , prostitution , see also Zinā ) . Murder, adultery, and drug trafficking are death-worthy crimes; a death sentence for repeated alcohol consumption is also known. Often minors were sentenced to death and executed at the time of the crime . Even rape victims who killed their rapist in self-defense have already been sentenced to death.

    During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's term of office (2005–2013) as Iranian President, the number of executions increased, particularly in the wake of the protests following the Iranian presidential elections in 2009 . After Hassan Rouhani took office on June 14, 2013, the execution numbers rose again significantly. A total of 852 people were verifiably executed between July 2013 and June 2014, and 966 people in the 2015 calendar year, more than since 1989.


    The following exceptional laws have existed since 1950 that provide for the death penalty: In times of war, in cases of genocide , crimes against humanity and against the Jewish people, the death penalty can be imposed. Based on these exceptional laws from 1950, Adolf Eichmann was executed on May 31, 1962 for “crimes against the Jewish people”.

    The death penalty also applies in military criminal law. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli military justice allows the death penalty. The death penalty can (as of 2017) only be imposed if a group of three military judges unanimously pronounces the verdict. According to current military law, the death penalty can only be imposed if the military judges unanimously - the unanimous vote of the three judges is required. Defense Secretary Avigdor Lieberman tabled an amendment in 2017 that a military judge's majority judgment should be sufficient to impose the death penalty. According to the draft law, a simple majority of military judges is sufficient to execute terrorists convicted of murder. The heads of the six government parties agreed on this legislative initiative in December 2017. In the preliminary reading in January 2018, the majority of parliamentarians in the Knesset voted in favor of easing the death penalty: 52 out of 120 MPs voted in favor, 49 were against.

    On February 16, 1954, Israel abolished the death penalty in civil criminal law for ordinary crimes and in peacetime. Defense Secretary Avigdor Lieberman's amendment on Sunday, December 18, 2017 also provides that criminal courts should be subject to the same requirements as military criminal law imposing the death penalty.

    On April 29, 1979, Israel introduced the death penalty for terrorists who have carried out particularly cruel attacks. The decision in such cases is left to the prosecutors.

    No one has yet been sentenced to death as a terrorist. Israel is one of the states that do not use the death penalty. Targeted killings of enemies of the state, including abroad, are carried out by Israel as part of its military self-defense.


    Before the unification of Italy , all states (including the Kingdom of Sardinia , with the exception of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany ) provided for the death penalty. For the sake of standardization, the Criminal Code of the Kingdom of Sardinia was extended to all of Italy with the exception of Tuscany.

    The death penalty was in fact abolished in 1877, the year of the general amnesty of Umberto I of Savoy (amnesty decree of January 18, 1878). In 1889 the death penalty was abolished throughout the Kingdom of Italy with the almost unanimous approval of the new penal code by both chambers during Giuseppe Zanardelli's tenure . One of the last convicted prisoners was Giovanni Passannante, who had carried out an assassination attempt on King Umberto I in 1878; his death sentence was not carried out but was commuted to life imprisonment. In the Military Criminal Code and the Colonial Criminal Code, however, the death penalty remained in effect and was used on a massive scale during World War I (1915–1918) for acts of desertion , disobedience and "dishonorable behavior".


    The death penalty can be used for 17 crimes in Japan . Most of them are convictions for murder or crimes resulting in death. More than 600 executions have taken place since 1945, 98 of them between 1979 and 2009. During the same period, four convicts were released after retrial found their innocence. The number of convictions has been declining for years (as of 2010). The approval rate for the death penalty in 2009 was 85.6% and the opposition rate was 5.7%.

    Death sentences are carried out by hanging in Japan . Decapitation by the sword was also used in the 1870s, but was later abolished because of its cruelty. An execution can take place as soon as the legal process has been exhausted and the Minister of Justice has ordered this in writing. There are no legal guidelines for the further procedure. Death row inmates often have to wait several decades to be executed. Tomiyama Tsuneki died of natural causes on September 9, 2003, at the age of 86 after 36 years on death row. The condemned's contact with the outside world is largely limited. You are monitored around the clock in a cell measuring just a few square meters. Death row inmates are not allowed to use televisions and only have three pre-approved books. Physical activity outside the cell is permitted for 30 minutes per day.

    Neither their relatives nor their legal counsel are informed in advance of the time of the execution; even the convicts themselves only find out a few minutes beforehand. This is criticized as particularly cruel by human rights organizations and foreign governments. The permanent fear of death that this triggers drives many death row inmates insane, according to human rights organizations.

    Neither a petition for clemency nor a request for a retrial guarantee that enforcement will be postponed. There is (as of 1997) no recognizable system according to which a decision is made as to whether a convicted person is to be executed or respected. The law provides for the execution of the death penalty within six months of the judgment becoming final; however, the order of enforcement is in the individual case at the discretion of the Minister of Justice, who does not always adhere to the six-month period.

    The relatives are also rarely informed whether the convicted person is still alive or has already been executed. The bodies of those executed are not always handed over to them either. In 1997, the prison authorities refused to hand over the executed Nagayama Norio and had him cremated arbitrarily. His lawyer suspected that this was to hide traces of the agony from the relatives. In Japan, death sentences can also be passed on people who were under the age of majority (20 years old under Japanese law) at the time of the crime.

    In 2014, the debate about the death penalty resumed in Japan after the death sentence of Iwao Hakamada , who had been convicted of four murders, had to be revised after 48 years in prison on death row. The reopening of the trial, one of only six reopenings in post-war history, led to the release of the now 78-year-old due to the weak burden of proof.

    A robbery murderer was executed on June 25, 2015. In December 2015, two multiple murderers were executed, the number 13 and 14 since Prime Minister Shinzō Abe took office at the end of 2012. Two other men convicted of murder were executed in March 2016. The Japanese Lawyers Association first spoke out in favor of abolishing the death penalty in 2016. Two men convicted of murder were executed in July 2017. One of them was sentenced to death on September 12, 1995.

    On October 10, 2017, World Day Against the Death Penalty, around 130 people sentenced to death had to wait for their execution in Japan.

    In early July 2018, Shōkō Asahara and six members of his sect were hanged for the 1995 poison gas attacks on the Tokyo subway and other murders. On July 26, 2018, six other members of his sect were executed in the same manner.
    Two men were executed in late 2018; Since Prime Minister Shinzō Abe took office in December 2012, a total of 36 people have been executed.

    Japanese Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita announced on December 27, 2018 the execution of two death row murderers in the Osaka detention center. The two executed men, 60-year-old Keizo Okamoto (a former yakuza member) and 67-year-old Hiroya Suemori (a former investment advisor) had been convicted of kidnapping two businessmen in January 1988 for 100 million ransom money Blackmail yen. They both strangled, poured the bodies in concrete and buried them in the mountains. The Supreme Court dismissed all appeals in September 2004 and upheld the death sentences.


    In Libya under dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi , the death penalty was provided for many crimes; it was mainly imposed on murder, drug trafficking, and alcohol trafficking. The government did not provide exact figures. Civilians sentenced to death were executed by hanging, military personnel by shooting. Some executions were televised, most of them carried out in secret.

    Death sentences passed in May 2004 against six Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor in the so-called HIV trial in Libya were finally overturned in July 2007 after strong international protests and commuted to life imprisonment. The new French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to get the six Bulgarian women released a week later and flown to Bulgaria.

    Libya rejected the 2008 UN moratorium on executions and often denied the rule of law to those sentenced to death. In 2010, 18 foreigners caught were arbitrarily executed in Libya. Gaddafi had announced several times that Libya wanted to abolish the death penalty. However, this did not happen during his reign. In the 2011 civil war in Libya , Gaddafi extended the death penalty to include possession of satellite phones.

    After Gaddafi's fall (August 2011), the new rulers maintained the death penalty in criminal law and threatened to impose it on members of the overthrown government and relatives of Gaddafi.


    Pakistan has been carrying out death sentences again since the 2014 Peshawar massacre . Originally, the death penalty was only to be carried out again for those convicted of terrorist offenses. Without further justification, it was reintroduced shortly afterwards for other offenses. Between then and the beginning of 2016, Pakistan had executed a total of 329 people. Pakistan also has the highest number of death row inmates awaiting execution. At the end of 2015 there were 6016 people. Reports from Pakistani human rights organizations have shown that there are also numerous people waiting on death row convicted of offenses that do not necessarily result in the death penalty under the Criminal Code. Most of them are poor and uneducated who have no access to a competent criminal defense lawyer.

    The Pakistani Criminal Code provides for the death penalty for a total of 27 offenses. In addition to murder and robbery resulting in death, this also includes rape, kidnapping, adultery, blasphemy, drug trafficking, sabotage of the railway system, mutiny, incitement to riot etc. The death penalty is practiced by hanging. Critics at home and abroad point to the sometimes shocking circumstances in the investigation of evidence, in which confessions were extracted using torture. This has probably already brought a number of innocent people to the gallows. Minors or people who are dependent on wheelchairs are also executed.

    Saudi Arabia

    Safat Square (ساحة الصفاة) in Riyadh , a place of public executions
    Executions carried out
    in Saudi Arabia
    year number
    2007 143
    2008 102
    2009 69
    2010 27
    2011 82
    2012 79
    2013 79
    2014 90
    2015 157
    2007-2015 828

    Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy ; Islamic law ( Sharia ) shapes its legal system. In Saudi Arabia, the judges follow the conservative and dogmatic direction of the Wahhabis and Salafists .

    Criminal offenses that are not clearly defined give judges a great deal of discretion ; there is little legal certainty . Death sentences are pronounced for a number of religious offenses ( hudud ) , which are also considered an attack on the state order: the desecration of the Koran , blasphemy and apostasy from Islam . The latter is punished with death for men and life imprisonment for women. There are also a number of social and sexual offenses (qisas) : murder, adultery, homosexuality, rape of other women or one's own wives, sexual abuse of women or children and prostitution . The death penalty can also be imposed for drug trafficking, robbery in connection with the seriously injured or dead, and alcohol consumption, trafficking or smuggling.

    A judgment ( fatwa ) from 1988 provides for the death penalty for "sabotage" and "depravity ( corruption ) on earth". Because they “promoted corruption in the country and endangered security”, z. For example, on April 4, 2005, six Somalis were beheaded who allegedly had committed car theft and threatened taxi drivers.

    Death sentences are carried out by beheading with the sword , usually in the morning in a public square. Since those condemned to death can be pardoned if all members of a victim's family have forgiven them, they often wait for decades in prison until the victims' minors are of legal age and can make decisions. The convicts, their lawyers and relatives are often not informed of the execution date. Last court of grace is the reigning king of the Saud dynasty . According to Amnesty International , at the time of the crime, minors were sentenced to death, confessions of torture were used in trials, trials were conducted without legal counsel, and trials against foreigners had no interpreter.

    From 1993 to 2009, the following offenses were most frequently punishable by death:

    • Murder: 1035 people
    • Drug smuggling, trade: 540
    • Rape of women: 175 men
    • Serious robbery: 83 men
    • Rebellion: 63 men
    • Bomb attacks: 16 men

    In 2012 and 2013, 79 people were beheaded. According to Amnesty International, 90 people were executed in 2014 and at least 157 in 2015, the highest number in 20 years.

    On January 2, 2016, 47 people were executed, including the prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr . Those executed, whom the Saudi Interior Minister collectively referred to as “terrorists”, were, along with al-Nimr, people who, according to Saudi Arabia, had ties to al-Qaeda or who were involved in attacks or unrest in the years 2003 to 2006 were involved. After the executions, Shiites protested in the Saudi Arabian "eastern region" of Ash-Sharqiyya on the Persian Gulf . In the days that followed, a serious diplomatic crisis developed between Saudi Arabia and Iran , which also protested sharply against the executions.

    As part of reforms led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman , Saudi Arabia abolished flogging and the death penalty for minors by decree in April 2020 . The maximum sentence for crimes committed by minors should now be ten years in a juvenile prison.

    Sierra Leone


    The criminal law in Singapore is different to compulsory (mandatory) death penalty, in which the judge for determination of guilt has no discretion over the sentence, not mandatory death penalties, where he can take into account mitigation, reasons such as the factual circumstances and background of the offender.

    The death sentence is mandatory for murder, murder orders, illegal use of firearms, treason and drug trafficking. A murderer is anyone who kills one or more people with the intention of deriving an advantage from his or her death (e.g. inheritance, robbery, silence or satisfaction of an instinct). Anyone who knowingly fires a firearm in such a way that a projectile emerges from its muzzle without permission is guilty of the illegal use of firearms. There does not have to be a victim. Anyone who knowingly endangers the internal and / or external security of Singapore is guilty of treason. Persons during their arrest more than 15 grams (g) are considered to be drug traffickers, heroin or 30g of cocaine , 30 grams of morphine , 200 grams of cannabis resin (hashish), 250 g of methamphetamine , 500 grams of cannabis herb ( marijuana ) or 1200 g opium have or carry it with you. The owner doesn't have to be the owner.

    Singapore's judiciary generally uses the prima facie rule for drug possession crimes above these limits , the so-called prima facie evidence , which results in a reversal of the burden of proof . The Dutchman Johannes van Damme was executed for drug trafficking in 1994 , the Australian Van Tuong Nguyen in 2005 and the Nigerian Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi in 2007 . A then 23-year-old German escaped charges with a compulsory death sentence in 2002 because the amount of 687 g cannabis found on her actually consisted of only 280 g pure cannabis according to a laboratory analysis.

    The Filipino woman Flor Contemplacion was executed for double murder in 1995 , which led to a long-term diplomatic crisis between the two countries. In 1996, the Singapore judiciary executed John Martin Scripps , a British man convicted of murder .

    Offenses without the compulsory death penalty include mutiny, piracy, kidnapping, false testimony leading to the execution of an innocent person, robbery in which at least one victim was injured, and initiative and appointment to assassinate the president.

    Singapore is the country with the highest execution rate in the world in terms of population. At least 420 people have been executed since 1991, one every 14 days on average, 85 to 90% of them for drug trafficking. The executions are carried out by hanging with a rope. The "long case" is used to ensure that the death row inmate's neck is broken. Executions take place in Changi Prison on Friday morning at sunrise. Very rarely is someone condemned to death pardoned. Until 2006 , the chief executioner in Singapore was Darshan Singh , who carried out around 1,000 executions.

    Although the death penalty is rarely discussed in public in Singapore, some human rights groups tolerated by the government have emerged against it in recent years. They particularly criticize the compulsory death penalty, arguing that it undermines the authority of the judiciary. Some former judges have also criticized this legal situation.

    The British author Alan Shadrake accused Singapore's judiciary in his book Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock, among other things, of imposing death sentences or lighter sentences based on the origin and / or nationality of the accused. On November 16, 2010, the Singapore High Court sentenced him to six weeks in prison and a fine of around 11,000 euros.

    Since November 2012, Singapore law no longer mandates the death penalty for drug trafficking and homicides, but gives judges the discretion to impose life imprisonment for mere drug couriers and offenders who cooperate with the investigative authorities.

    Sri Lanka

    In Sri Lanka , rape, drug trafficking and murder are criminally punishable by the death penalty. In the past, the death penalty was practiced by hanging. However, a moratorium has existed since 1976 and no more convicts have been executed since then. On June 26, 2019, President Maithripala Sirisena signed a decree lifting the moratorium on the death penalty. He justified this with the increasing problem of drug trafficking. Specifically, the decree concerned four arrested convicted drug traffickers. In a statement on June 27, 2019, the European Union condemned the planned resumption of executions. The death penalty is "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and studies have shown that it is not a deterrent.

    South Korea

    The last executions in South Korea - 23 in number - took place in December 1997 (as of 2017). 902 people have been executed since 1948. In February 1998, then-President Kim Dae-jung put a freeze on executions. As of August 2017, 61 people were sentenced to death.

    United States

    State death penalty:
  • no use
  • declared unconstitutional
  • not used since 1976
  • applied since 1976
  • The death penalty has been discussed there since the founding of the United States in 1789. Beccaria's writing influenced its founding fathers Thomas Jefferson , Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush , later also criminal lawyers like Edward Livingston and Robert Rantoul and publicists like John L. O'Sullivan . Some states such as Wisconsin , Michigan , Minnesota abolished the death penalty in the 19th century. In others such as Oklahoma , South Carolina , Texas, and Virginia , moves to abolish or suspend never stood a chance.

    Over the past 30 years, 99% of all men executed in the United States were women, and 1% were women. African Americans, who make up 12% of the total population, are relatively more likely to be executed (1976: 38%) , according to the Death Penalty Information Center . However, proportionally more often they belong to the poorer class of the population, and their capital offenses are more often exposed and prosecuted than with other groups of perpetrators. It is therefore debatable whether persistent racism or the poverty gap explain these statistics. Some specialists speak of “discrimination based on geography”: Those convicted in a state or district with a high execution rate receive twice as often the death penalty for the same crime as in more liberal areas.

    The Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972, so it was suspended nationwide, but allowed it again in 1976. He is responsible for the final examination of individual capital proceedings relevant to federal law. The US president can nominate new federal judges who, if approved by the Senate, often remain in office for life.

    As governor of Texas, George W. Bush had almost consistently turned down pardons . After his re-election for president, he nominated two federal judges to support the death penalty: John Roberts and Samuel Alito . Roberts wanted to limit the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court in death penalty cases. Alito replaced a previous woman, whose voice used to occasionally tip the balance against the death penalty. Liberal lawyers therefore fear majority decisions by the court for executions to be decided by it in the coming decades.

    Over 1,000 death row inmates have been executed since 1976, and over 3,000 are waiting. 176 convicts were released for proven innocence or serious procedural errors. It is estimated that since 1976 there have been up to 100 misjudgments, errors of justice, and innocent executions. When well-founded doubts and appeals for clemency were not taken into account, critics speak of judicial murders. After independent investigators found numerous wrongful convictions and procedural deficiencies in Illinois , Governor George Ryan suspended the executions there in 1999 and pardoned 167 death row inmates on January 12, 2003 to life imprisonment.

    Both proponents and opponents of the death penalty are highly organized in the United States. Also because of the initiatives and protests of numerous NGOs and legal associations, the Supreme Court banned the death penalty on March 1, 2005 for those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, as it contradicted the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids cruel and unusual types of punishment (cf. . Roper v. Simmons ). As a result, 122 death sentences were initially commuted to life imprisonment.

    Some free churches in the USA, especially in the “ Bible Belt ”, affirm the death penalty as a divine ordinance and an indispensable state law. The " religious right " campaigns for the retention of the death penalty and has thus influenced local politics and jurisprudence for decades.

    No presidential candidate has so far included the abolition of the death penalty in their program. After the September 11, 2001 attacks , over 50% of US citizens supported the death penalty even if there was life imprisonment with no pardon as an alternative. In 2006 this approval rate fell to 47%. In 2009, 64% of those polled supported the death penalty for murder.

    People's Republic of China

    The People's Republic of China provides the death penalty for at least 68 different offenses, including murder, aggravated robbery, rape, bribery, counterfeiting money and checks, tax evasion, various thefts, pimping, deliberately spreading germs, looting of archaeological ruins and graves, especially killing animals protected species.

    Since 2006, death sentences can only be carried out with the approval of the highest Chinese court, and since 2008 only with lethal injection. China's criminal law also recognizes a “conditional” death penalty on probation : the execution is postponed for two years. If the convicted person does not commit any further crimes within this period, his death sentence is automatically reduced to a life-long or 25-year prison term. This can be further limited with good guidance. According to a Chinese report, those sentenced to this sentence are said to have been released after an average of 18 years in prison.

    Of all countries in the world, China has the most people executed each year (in absolute terms). The government does not publish any figures and keeps most of the executions secret. In 2004, Amnesty International registered over 3,400 people executed in China, up from 10,000 people according to unofficial information from People's Congress members. According to AI, this also included a minor, as in 2003, although the death penalty for minors at the time of the crime has been prohibited since 1997. In response to multiple criticism of the lack of transparency in the judiciary, the Chinese government set up a public national database of court judgments, in which death sentences can also be found. However, according to Amnesty International, it was extremely incomplete. According to media reports, at least 931 people were executed between 2014 and 2016 (only a fraction of the total number of people executed in China), but the database only found 85 of these cases.

    Final death sentences are usually carried out within a week, for example with lethal injections in “court fines”, until 2006 also by a policeman shot in the neck of the kneeling convict or in public mass executions broadcast on local television. Organ trafficking is often carried out with parts of those who were executed , although this is prohibited in China. Prisoners of conscience sentenced to particularly long prison terms are at increased risk of becoming victims of organ removal, which is also equivalent to a death sentence.

    On December 29, 2009, despite strong international protests, the British Akmal Shaikh was the first time in 50 years that a European was executed in China.


    Additional information

    See also


    statements published before 1945

    • Hans J. Pieper (Ed.): But if he murdered, he must die. Classics of philosophy on the death penalty. Günter Seubold, Alfter 2003, ISBN 3-935404-11-5 .
    • Wilhelm Gotthelf Schirlitz: The death penalty in natural law and moral relation. 1825.
    • Charles Lucas: On the penal system and the detention theory in general; from the death penalty in particular. 1830.
    • Franz Joseph Felsecker: Words to Bavaria, regarding the abolition of the death penalty. Nuremberg / Fürth 1831.
    • Conrad Samhaber: The abolition of the death penalty for legal, political and religious reasons. 1831.
    • Andreas Neubig: The illegal death penalty and the lawful execution. 1833.
    • Christian Leberecht Fritzsche: About the death penalty. An attempt to defend the same ... Colditz 1835.
    • Johann Christian August Grohmann: Christianity and reason for the abolition of the death penalty. 1835.
    • Carl Ferdinand Theodor Hepp: About the current status of the dispute over the admissibility of the death penalty. Tübingen 1836.
    • Giovanni Carmignani: The Death Penalty. A philosophical-juridical treatise. Bamberg 1837 ( full text online )
    • August Friedrich Holst: The death penalty viewed from the standpoint of reason and Christianity. 1837.
    • Johann Sporschil: Attempt at direct evidence of the legality of the death penalty. 1838.
    • Heinrich Zoepfl: Memorandum on the legality and appropriateness of the death penalty. 1839.
    • Carl Philipp Reidel: The legality of the death penalty. 1839.
    • Wilhelm Goette: About the origin of the death penalty. 1839.
    • D. Gies: Treatise on the legality or illegality of the death penalty. 1841.
    • Michael Petocz: The immoral thing about the death penalty. 1841 (reprint: Kessinger, 2010, ISBN 978-1-160-46331-7 ) (full text online)
    • JC Althof: About the reprehensibility of the death penalty and what to put in its place in Germany. Lemgo / Detmold 1843. (full text online)
    • Moriz Carriere: Science and Life in Relation to the Death Penalty. 1845.
    • G. Fiangieri: Filangieri on the legality of the death penalty. 1848.
    • Mauritius Müller-Jochmus: About the death penalty: a principal investigation. 1848.
    • Georg Heinrich Diestel : The problem of the death penalty. 1848.
    • Justice Commission of the Kingdom of Belgium: Lecture on the admissibility and applicability of the death penalty in legislation. 1851.
    • Georg Friedrich Schlatter : The injustice of the death penalty. Erlangen 1857. (full text online)
    • Albert Friedrich Berner : Abolition of the death penalty. 1861
    • Carl Joseph Anton Mittermaier : The death penalty: According to the results of scientific research, the progress of legislation and experience. 1868. - Reprint: BSA, 2003, ISBN 3-901924-05-1 ( full text online )
    • Karl Eduard Pfotenhauer: The death penalty: Academic lecture given in Bern in front of a mixed auditorium on January 9, 1863. Heuberger 1863.
    • JN Berger: About the death penalty. 1864.
    • NB Donkersloot: The death penalty and psychology. 1865.
    • Buje Karl Sophus Christiansen: The absurdity of the so-called death penalty. 1867; The legal impossibility of the death penalty. 1868.
    • Anton Beyerle : About the death penalty. Lecture at the Royal Württemberg Ministry of Justice. JB Metzlersche Buchhandlung, Stuttgart 1867. (digitized version)
    • Richard Eduard John : On the Death Penalty: A Popular Lecture. 1867.
    • G. Mehring: The question of the death penalty. Stuttgart 1867.
    • Johannes Emil Kuntze : About the death penalty: retention or abolition? 1868.
    • Theodor Erasmus Hilgard: On retention or abolition of the death penalty. 1868.
    • Friedrich Oskar von Schwarze : Aphorisms about the death penalty. 1868.
    • A. Fürer: The death penalty: an attempt to justify it. 1869.
    • Albert Bitzius : The death penalty from the standpoint of religion and theological science. 1870.
    • H. Hetzel: The death penalty in its cultural and historical development. 1870.
    • Paul Scheibner: The death penalty is a postulate of humanity. 1872.
    • Franz von Holtzendorff : The crime of murder and the death penalty. 1875.

    statements published after 1945

    • Karl Barth: Die Kirchliche Dogmatik III / 4 (The Doctrine of Creation / The Commandment of God the Creator), §55 Freedom to Live. (1st edition 1951). 3. Edition. Theological Verlag, Zurich 1969, ISBN 3-290-11013-3 , pp. 513-580.
    • Paul Althaus: The death penalty as a problem of Christian ethics. Publishing house of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences 1955.
    • Arthur Koestler, Albert Camus, E. Müller-Meiningen, Jr., F. Nowakowski: Vengeance is mine. Theory and Practice of the Death Penalty. Ernst Battenberg, Stuttgart 1961.
    • Albert Camus: The guillotine. Reflections on the Death Penalty. In: Questions of Time. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-499-22195-0 .
    • Major reform of criminal law, deliberations on the death penalty, statements by Dahs, Jescheck, Lange, Mezger, Sieverts, Eb. Schmidt, Welzel. Writing down Volume XI, 1959
    • Hans Peter Alt: The Problem of the Death Penalty. Christian Kaiser, Munich 1960
    • R. Maurach, Eb. Schmidt, W. Preiser: The Question of the Death Penalty: Twelve Answers (Lectures of a series of the Süddeutscher Rundfunk). Piper, Frankfurt am Main 1962
    • Frank Müller: Death penalty dispute. Patmos, Düsseldorf 1998, ISBN 3-491-72380-9 .
    • Robert Badinter : L'abolition. Fayard, Paris 2000.
    • Ulrike Siebauer: Controversies about the death penalty. Three surveys among prominent contemporaries from literature, science and society 1910, 1928, 1931. Regensburg 2000, ISBN 3-88246-220-5 .

    History in general

    • Peter Schuster: Criminals, victims, saints. A History of Killing 1200-1700. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-608-94845-5 .
    • Wolfgang Rother : Crime, Torture and the Death Penalty. Philosophical arguments of the Enlightenment . With a preface by Carla Del Ponte . Schwabe, Basel 2010, ISBN 978-3-7965-2661-9 .
    • Martin Haidinger: From the guillotine to lethal injection: The history of the death penalty. Facts - cases - misjudgments. Ecowin, Salzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-902404-45-9 .
    • Dieter Reicher: State, scaffold and feeling of guilt. What state building and the death penalty have to do with each other. Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2003, ISBN 3-8100-3831-8 .
    • Michael Kahr: The History of the Death Penalty. Kahr, Fürstenfeldbruck 2001, ISBN 3-935678-02-9 .
    • Jürgen Martschukat: Staged Killing. A history of the death penalty from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Böhlau, Vienna 2000, ISBN 3-412-04700-7 .
    • Karl Bruno Leder: death penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. (1st edition 1980). dtv, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-423-10622-0 .
    • Ludwig Barring: Saying God and Executioner's Hand. The death penalty in human history. Gustav Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1967.

    State of History

    • Michael Kahr: The History of the Death Penalty in the USA. Kahr Media, Fürstenfeldbruck 2011, ISBN 978-3-935678-01-8 .
    • Friedrich Küppersbusch, Oliver Becker: Life sentence, death penalty. Konkret, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-89458-187-5 .
    • Richard J. Evans : Rituals of Retribution. The death penalty in German history 1532–1987. Kindler, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-463-40400-1 (reviews) .
    • Stefan Suter: guillotine or penitentiary. The abolition of the death penalty in Switzerland. Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel 1997, ISBN 3-7190-1659-5 .
    • Rolf Peter Calliess: The death penalty in the Federal Republic of Germany. NJW 1988, pp. 849-857.
    • Bernhard Düsing: The history of the abolition of the death penalty in the Federal Republic of Germany. Bollwerk-Verlag, 1952

    Criminological Research

    • Christian Tobias Torture: The Deterrent Effect of the Death Penalty: A Qualitative Meta-Analysis. Lit Verlag, Münster 2014, ISBN 978-3-643-12567-5 .



    • Helmut Ortner: The Book of Killing - About the Death Penalty. To Klampen Verlag, Springe 2013, ISBN 978-3-86674-227-7 .
    • Silke Porath: An eye for an eye - the death penalty today. Summit book, Waldsolms / Hessen 2006, ISBN 3-937591-31-1 .
    • Christian Boulanger (Ed.): On the topicality of the death penalty, interdisciplinary and global perspectives. 2nd Edition. Berlin-Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-8305-0277-X .



    Web links

    Wiktionary: Death penalty  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
    Commons : Death Penalty  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

    Current data and facts



    Initiatives (selection)

    Individual evidence

    1. Resolution A / RES / 62/149: Moratorium on the use of the death penalty ( Memento of the original of November 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 24 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
    2. Amnesty International (ed.): The death penalty. Rowohlt, 1979, ISBN 3-499-14535-9 , pp. 1-9.
    3. Amnesty International: Country Report India
    4. a b The Independent : US votes against UN resolution condemning gay sex death penalty, joining Iraq and Saudi Arabia , October 3, 2017
    5. ^ The 13 countries where being an atheist is punishable by death , on, accessed June 23, 2018
    6. "Abolition of the Death Penalty" on ( Memento from June 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    7. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty Art. 1 (PDF, p. 1; 117 kB)
    8. ^ Death Penalty Information Center (USA, February 2011): Execution of Juveniles in the US and other Countries
    9. Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with regard to the Abolition of the Death Penalty in All Circumstances CETS No. : 187th Council of Europe , accessed 30 May 2013 .
    10. Press release issued by the Registrar Chamber judgment Al-Saadoon & Mufdhi v. the United Kingdom (application no. 61498/08). European Court of Human Rights , March 2, 2010, accessed May 30, 2013 .
    11. Gero Ziegenhorn: The influence of the ECHR in the law of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Genuinely Charter-law protection of fundamental rights according to Art. 52 Para. 3 CFR. Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-428-12893-8 .
    12. Death Sentences and Executions 2019 (PDF; 5.91 MB)
    13. Death Sentences and Executions 2010 (PDF; 674 kB), p. 30 of 60.
    14. Death Sentences and Executions 2019. (PDF; 5.9 MB), published April 2020.
    15. Death Sentences and Executions 2018. (PDF; 5.9 MB), published April 2019.
    16. Death Sentences and Executions 2017. , published April 2018.
    17. Death Sentences and Executions 2016. (PDF; 3.5 MB), published April 2017.
    18. Death Sentences and Executions 2015. (PDF; 1.2 MB), published April 2016.
    19. Death Sentences and Executions 2014. (PDF; 1.2 MB), published April 2015.
    20. Death Sentences and Executions 2013. (PDF; 1.2 MB), published March 2014.
    21. Death Sentences and Executions 2012 (PDF; 5.1 MB), pp. 7 and 34 of 68, published April 2013.
    22. Death Sentences and Executions 2011 (PDF; 1.7 MB), p. 36 u. 63 of 74, published March 2012.
    23. Death Sentences and Executions 2010 (PDF; 674 kB), p. 29 and 50 of 60.
    24. Death Sentences and Executions 2009 (PDF; 485 kB), pp. 8, 19 and 34 of 40.
    25. Death Sentences and Executions 2008 (PDF; 1.2 MB), p. 5 and 8 of 30.
    26. Death Sentences and Executions in 2007
    27. Death Sentences and Executions in 2006
    28. Death Sentences and Executions in 2005
    29. Facts and figures on the death penalty
    30. Facts and figures on the death penalty
    31. Facts and figures on the death penalty
    32. Facts and figures on the death penalty
    33. Death Sentences and Executions in 2000
    34. Death Sentences and Executions in 1999
    35. Death Sentences and Executions in 1998
    36. Death Sentences and Executions in 1997
    37. Death Sentences and Executions in 1996
    38. Death Sentences and Executions in 1995
    39. Death Sentences and Executions in 1994
    40. Death Sentences and Executions in 1993
    41. Death Sentences and Executions in 1992
    42. Death Sentences and Executions in 1991
    43. Death Sentences and Executions in 1990
    44. Death Sentences and Executions 2012 (PDF; 1.7 MB), pp. 34–35, published April 2013.
    45. China executions shrouded in secrecy , BBC News, December 29, 2009.
    46. Death penalty statistics: Human rights lobby speaks of 5,000 executions in China , Der Spiegel , August 1, 2010.
    47. ^ President Arroyo abolishes the death penalty , Der Spiegel, June 24, 2006, accessed September 17, 2012.
    48. Police violence under Duterte , Spiegel, August 28, 2017.
    49. Pakistan wants to execute 500 convicted extremists . The government in Islamabad reacts to the Taliban's attack on a school with a zero-tolerance policy. She now wants to carry out numerous death sentences. - Agency report from December 22nd, 2014 in Zeit online
    50. Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères: Chad - Abolition of the Death Penalty (May 20, 2020). Retrieved September 14, 2020 .
    51. Amnesty Against the Death Penalty - Info. Amnesty International, accessed July 29, 2017 .
    52. a b When the state kills. List of states with and without the death penalty . Retrieved August 24, 2018.
    53. Ronald Ryan: Did Australia Hang on Innocent Man? on (on February 3, 1967, Ronald Joseph Ryan (41) was hanged in Melbourne for the alleged murder of a prison officer during an unsuccessful attempt to escape from prison in Melbourne.)
    54. ^ Constitution of the Saarland. (PDF) Retrieved September 21, 2020 .
    56. Amnesty International Annual Report 2015
    59. BBC News, June 24, 2009: Togo abolishes the death penalty
    60. ^ Constitution of Brazil of 1891: Article 72, § 21 (Portuguese). ( Memento from August 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) During the dictatorship, the death penalty was once again available under exceptional law from 1938–1945 and 1969–1978 for political crimes resulting in death; there was one conviction in 1970 but no executions
    61. Exceptional right of the Vargas dictatorship
    62. Exceptional right of the military dictatorship
    63. Brazilian Military Criminal Code in Time of War
    66. Public execution of a homosexual in Iran. July 1, 2019, accessed October 7, 2019 .
    67. Jordan had 15 people executed. Spiegel Online, March 4, 2017, accessed on the same day.
    68. Two Israel collaborators executed in Gaza , May 7, 2014.
    69. Statistics on the death penalty in the Palestinian Authority and under Hamas control in Gaza by B'Tselem, September 11, 2013, accessed on September 21, 2013.
    70. Saudi Arabia executes 37 people. April 23, 2019, accessed October 7, 2019 .
    71. Thailand carries out first execution since 2009. Deutsche Welle , June 19, 2018, accessed November 2018 .
    72. Execution List 2020. Death penalty information center, July 17, 2020, accessed on August 22, 2020 .
    73. Hans Joachim Pieper: The idea of ​​justice. In: Helmut C. Jacobs: Against torture and the death penalty: Enlightenment discourse and European literature from the 18th century to the present. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-55009-0 , p. 171 f.
    74. Claus Roxin: Death Penalty. I. Legal A. Criminal law. In: Evangelisches Staatslexikon Volume 2. 3rd edition. Kreuz Verlag, Stuttgart 1987, Sp. 3612 f.
    75. Immanuel Kant: Metaphysical Beginnings of Legal Doctrine. Koenigsberg 1797, p. 229 .; also in: Werkausgabe 1838, Vol. 5-6, Rechtslehre Teil II, S. 168.
    76. Karl Bruno Leder: Death Penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. Munich 1986, p. 250.
    77. ^ Paul Althaus: The death penalty in the light of Christian thought. Deutsches Pfarrerblatt 55/1955, pp. 457-461; Lecture by Joachim Track: Strafe V. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Volume 32, 4th edition, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-11-016712-3 , p. 212.
    78. Oliver Michael Timothy O'Donovan: Death Penalty. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie Volume 33, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002, p. 642.
    79. Hans Gleixner: "If God does not exist ..." On the relationship between religion and ethics. Paderborn 2005, p. 187 f.
    80. Werner Höfer (Ed.): Knast oder Galgen? Violent crimes and the execution of sentences between reaching a verdict and popular feeling: Controversy between those affected, those involved, those who are called. Schulz, 1975, ISBN 3-7962-0069-9 , p. 43 ff .; Roderich Martis: The functions of the death penalty: a critical analysis of the reality of the death penalty in the present. Forum, Godesberg 1991, ISBN 3-927066-42-7 , pp. 1 and 63
    81. Hans Joachim Pieper: The idea of ​​justice. In: Helmut C. Jacobs: Against torture and the death penalty. Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 178 ff.
    82. Examples: Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) ( Memento from March 16, 2018 in the Internet Archive ), founded in 1976; Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights (MVFHR, founded 1988): Creating More Victims: How Executions Hurt the Families Left Behind (PDF, 2.6 MB)
    83. Karl Bruno Leder: Death Penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. Munich 1986, p. 256.
    84. Death Penalty: Every Second Is For It , Der Spiegel, May 2, 1977.
    85. Karl Bruno Leder: Death Penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. Munich 1986, p. 257 f.
    86. Eckhard Jesse: The democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany: an introduction to the political system. 4th edition, Colloquium, 1980, ISBN 3-7678-0500-6 , p. 140.
    87. Christian Laue: Evolution, culture and criminality: About the contribution of the theory of evolution to criminology. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-642-12688-8 , p. 263.
    88. Hans J. Schneider: Introduction to Criminology. 3. Edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-11-009756-7 , p. 121.
    89. Werner Sarstedt: The death penalty - its justifications and its political function. (1959) In: Rule of Law as Task: Selected Writings and Lectures 1952 to 1985. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-11-089601-X , pp. 81–90, here p. 88.
    90. Wolf Middendorf: Death Penalty - Yes or No? 1st edition. Rombach 1962, p. 28; Christian Boulanger, Vera Heyes, Philip Hanfling (eds.): On the topicality of the death penalty: interdisciplinary and global perspectives. Spitz, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-8305-0277-X , p. 31.
    91. Karl Bruno Leder: Death Penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. Munich 1986, p. 254 f.
    92. ^ Rudolf Sieverts, Hans-Joachim Schneider (Ed.): Concise Dictionary of Criminology Volume II: Criminal Policy - Intoxicant Abuse. 2nd Edition. Walter de Gruyter, 1976, ISBN 3-11-007107-X , p. 6.
    93. Allgemeine Anzeiger and national newspaper of the Germans No. 96/10. April 1847, pp. 1225-1228.
    94. Robert Spaemann: Borders: To the ethical dimension of action. Klett-Cotta, 2002, ISBN 3-608-91027-1 , p. 444 f.
    95. Ralf Rother: violence and punishment: deconstruction for the right to violence. Königshausen & Neumann, 2006, ISBN 3-8260-3466-X , pp. 41–45.
    96. Wolfgang Huber: The prohibition of killing as the limit of the law. In: Wolfgang Huber: Justice and Law: Basics of Christian Legal Ethics. 3. Edition. Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2013, ISBN 978-3-579-08158-8 , p. 220.
    97. Examples: Albert Ernst Karl Max Hellwig: Justice errors. JCC Bruns, 1914, p. 17 ff .; Hugo Adam Bedau: Miscarriages of justice in potentially capital cases [and] The myth of infallibility: A reply to Markman and Cassell. USA 1988 (English); Jörg Kunkel, Thomas Schuhbauer (ed.): Miscarriage of justice! Germany in the mirror of spectacular misjudgments. Campus, 2004, ISBN 3-593-37542-7 , p. 49 ; Werner Wolbert: You shouldn't kill: Systematic considerations on the ban on killing. Paulusverlag, Freiburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-7278-1626-0 , p. 61 ff. Passim.
    98. Christian Vogel: From killing to murder: the real evil in evolutionary history. C. Hanser, 1989, ISBN 3-446-15295-4 , p. 110; Bernhard Waldenfels: Silhouettes of Morality. Suhrkamp, ​​2006, ISBN 3-518-29413-X , p. 254; Der Spiegel: Lower motives: murder or manslaughter?
    99. ^ Rainer Krieger: Determinants of thirst for knowledge: Investigations on the theory of intrinsic motivation. H. Huber, 1976, ISBN 3-456-80252-8 , p. 38; Thomas Horstmann, Heike Litzinger: At the borders of the law: Talks with lawyers about the prosecution of Nazi crimes. Campus, 2006, ISBN 3-593-38014-5 , p. 150.
    100. Dieter Keller: The death penalty in a critical view. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1968, p. 205.
    101. Siegfried Hadde Brock: Social or forensic culpability (sanity). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1992, ISBN 3-11-013611-2 , p. 78.
    102. Yvonne Höltzel: Debates about the death penalty in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1990. Berlin 2010, p. 48.
    103. Example: Adolf Meinberg (Weltbühne 1927): Down with the death penalty! In: Friedhelm Greis, Stefanie Oswalt: Making Germany out of Teutschland: A political reading book for the “world stage”. Lukas, 2008, p. 302.
    104. ^ BGH, judgment of November 16, 1995, Az. 5 StR 747/94 ; BGHSt 41, pp. 317–347.
    105. Example: Hans Seibert ( Bavarian Party ) in the Bundestag 1952. See Yvonne Hötzel: Debates on the Death Penalty in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1990. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2010, p. 72 and footnote 152
    106. Deathrow.USA: Facts about the death penalty in the USA (August 12, 2005, pdf; 474 kB) ( Memento of January 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
    107. Dieter Keller: The death penalty in a critical view. (1968) Walter de Gruyter, 1986, ISBN 3-11-001158-1 , p. 92 ff. (§ 18: The economic viability of the death penalty )
    108. Karl Bruno Leder: Death Penalty. Origin, history, sacrifice. dtv, Munich 1986, p. 35f.
    109. Martin Honecker: Grundriß der Sozialethik. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-11-014889-7 , p. 605.
      Günter Jerouschek: "Whoever sheds human blood, the blood should also be shed by human beings": Considerations on embarrassing punishment, feuds and penance in Mosaic law. Eötvös Loránd University, 2008, ISSN  1218-4942 .
    110. Cornelis Houtman: The Federal Book: A Comment (Documenta Et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui). Brill Academic Publications, Leiden 1997, ISBN 90-04-10859-9 , pp. 165 f.
    111. Christine Dietrich, Walter Dietrich, Christian Frevel, Reinhard von Bendemann: Asyl: Comparative study of a legal institution in ancient Israel and its environment. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-17-020523-9 , p. 72.
    112. ^ Justus von Daniels: Religious law as a reference: Jewish law in jurisprudential comparison. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-16-149900-5 , pp. 87-101.
    113. Hans Gleixner: "If God does not exist ..." On the relationship between religion and ethics. Schöningh, Paderborn 2005, p. 186.
    114. Günter Röhser: Representation in the New Testament. Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 2001, p. 64ff .; Jörg Frey, Jens Schröter: Interpretations of the death of Jesus in the New Testament. UTB, 2007, p. 79.
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    This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 25, 2005 in this version .