Europe is today the only region in the world where the death penalty has been almost completely abolished. In the Council of Europe's 45 member states, including the European Union's 15 member states and its 13 candidate countries, capital punishment is no longer applied. The Council of Europe played a pioneering role in the battle for abolition, believing that the death penalty has no place in democratic societies. This determination to eradicate the death penalty was reflected in Protocol No.6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, on the abolition of the death penalty in peacetime, which was adopted in April 1983, then in Protocol No.13 on the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, adopted in May 2002.
Introduced by Roger Hood, an international expert on death penalty legislation, this book reviews the long and sometimes tortuous path to abolition in Europe. It also addresses the tangible problems which countries face once the death penalty has been abolished, and related issues: the situation of murder victims' families and alternatives to capital punishment, particularly the choice of a substitute sentence.
The Council of Europe's campaign for abolition is currently being pursued beyond Europe's borders, in those states which have Observer status with the organisation, particularly the United States and Japan: the situation in these countries is discussed here.
This publication will be of interest to all those who feel concerned by this issue, particularly members of NGOs, lawyers, officials in departments dealing with legal and criminal affairs, and human rights campaigners.