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Report No. 262

(vi) International Developments

1.3.20 In 1967, when the 35th Report was presented, only 12 countries had abolished capital punishment for all crimes in all circumstances.48 Today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Further, the number of countries that have remained "active retentionists", namely they have executed at least one person in the last ten years, has fallen from 51 in 2007 to 39 (as of April 2014).49

A category of countries have also abolished death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder and retained it for exceptional crimes such as crimes under military law or under exceptional circumstances.50 The death penalty is most prominently used in Iran, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.

48. Columbia (1910), Costa Rica (1877), Dominican Republic (1966), Ecuador (1906), Federal Republic of Germany (1949), Honduras (1956), Iceland (1928), Monaco (1962), Panama (1922), San Marino (1865), Uruguay (1907), Venezuela (1863). See Law Commission of India, 35th Report, 1967, available at
http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/1-50/Report35Vol1and3.pdf
(last viewed on 24.08.2015).

49. ROGER HOOD AND CAROLYN HOYLE, THE DEATH PENALTY: A WORLDWIDE PERSPECTIVE 5 (5th ed. 2015).

50. ROGER HOOD AND CAROLYN HOYLE, THE DEATH PENALTY: A WORLDWIDE PERSPECTIVE 5 (5th ed. 2015).

1.3.21 The issues relating to capital sentencing and the move towards the abolition of the death penalty internationally subsequent to the publication of the 35th Report deserve detailed consideration.



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