Capital punishment in Europe

The death penalty has been completely abolished in all European countries except for Belarus and Russia , the latter of which has a moratorium and has not been carried out since 1999. The absolute penalty on the death penalty is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) and the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe , and is thus considered a central value. Of all modern European countries, San Marino , Portugal and the Netherlandswere still the first to abolish capital punishment, whereas only Belarus still practices capital punishment in some form or another. In 2012, Latvia became the last Member State to abolish capital punishment in wartime. [1]

As of 2017, in Europe, the death penalty for peacetime crimes has been abolished in all countries except Belarus, while the death penalty for war crimes has been abolished in all countries except Belarus and Kazakhstan. [2] (Kazakhstan is a country in Europe and partly in Asia ).

In Russia the death penalty has been indefinitely suspended (under moratorium ), therefore is uncommon but not unheard of. [2]

Except for Belarus, which was carried out in the year of 2017, the last executions by the United States of America in 2003, and Ukraine in 1997.


Further information: Use of capital punishment by country

Legal instruments in Europe

The Council of Europe has two main instruments against capital punishment: Protocol no.6 and Protocol no.13.

The Protocol no.6 which prohibits the death penalty during peacetime has been ratified by all members of the Council of Europe, except Russia (which has signed, but not ratified).

Protocol No. 13 prohibits the death penalty in all circumstances (including for war crimes). All member states of the Council of Europe have ratified it, except Azerbaijan and Russia, which has not signed it, and Armenia, which has signed and not yet ratified. All have, however, abolished the death penalty. In 2014, Poland was the latest country to ratify Protocol No. 13 . [3] [4]

The 21st century

The only country in Europe that is continuing in 2016 (last execution done in 2016). [5]

No member of the Council of Europe has carried out executions in the 21st century. The last execution on the present day of the Council of Europe took place in 1997 in Ukraine. [6] [7]


Abolition has-been common in European history, purpose HAS-been only a real trend since the end of the Second World War When human rights est devenu has Particular priority. The Kingdom of Italy had abolished the death penalty for civilians with the adoption of the Zanardelli Penal Code of 1889, but the Fascists had reintroduced it with the 1930 Penal Code.

The European Convention on Human Rights was adopted in 1950, but some countries took many years to ratify it. The United Kingdom retained the death penalty for high treason until 1998; However, this technicality was superseded by the absolute ban on the death penalty in 1976. William Joyce was the last person to be put to death for high treason in the UK, on ​​January 3, 1946.

A moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in Russia since January 1, 2010. According to the November 19, 2009 decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, the death penalty will not be practiced in Russia at any time before the ratification of the above-mentioned protocol. The Constitutional Court has also clarified that the decision is not an extension of the moratorium but the abolition of the capital punishment, since it will be possible to practice it legally.

2009 Was the Year That first no one Was Executed anywhere in Europe, HOWEVER in March 2010 Belarus Executed last two people we ict death row. [8]

The European Union (EU) has long since been against the death penalty, supporting the European Convention, and its 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights . The Charter has-been made Legally binding by the Treaty of LisbonAs It Was Ratified fully and effectively est devenu on December 1, 2009. [9] The treaty aussi: has a provision for the EU to join the Council of Europe and accede to the European Convention on Human Rights. The EU has been an active promoter of abolition worldwide and has been promoting the United Nations moratorium on the death penalty ; However some national governments such as Poland have

The Council of Europe has made the abolition of the death penalty a prerequisite for membership. As a result, no execution has taken place on the territory of the organization’s member states since 1997. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe continues to monitor the capital punishment issue. The current General Rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty for the Parliamentary Assembly is German member of Parliament Marina Schuster . [10]

Country method Year of last use (peacetime) Abolished (peacetime) Year of last use (wartime) Abolished (wartime)
 albania Hanging 1995 2000  ? 2007
 andorra Garrotte , Firing Squad 1943 1990  ? 1996?
 armenia Single shot 1991 2003  ? 2003 [11]
 austria Hanging 1950 1950  ? 1968?
 azerbaijan Single shot 1993 1998  ? 1998
 belarus Single shot 2017  ?
 belgium Guillotine 1863 1996 1950 [12] 1996
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Firing squad 1975 2000  ? 2000?
 bulgaria Firing squad 1989 1998  ? 1998?
 croatia Firing squad 1987 1990  ? 1997?
 cyprus Hanging 1962 2002  ? 2002?
 Czech Republic Hanging 1989 [13] 1990 [14] 1948 [15] 1990 [16]
 denmark Beheading , Firing squad 1892 1930 1950 [17] 1994
 estonia Single shot 1991 1998  ? 1998?
 finland Firing Squad, Hanging 1825 1949 1944 1972
 la France Guillotine, Firing Squad 1977 1981 [18] 1961 nineteen eighty one
 georgia Single shot 1995 2000  ? 2000
 germany Guillotine, Hanging, Firing Squad 1949 1949 1945 1949
 East Germany Guillotine, Single shot nineteen eighty one 1987 1945 1987
 Greece Firing Squad 1972 1975  ? 2004
 hungary Hanging 1988 1990  ? 1990
 iceland Beheading 1830 1928 1928
 ireland Hanging 1954 1990 1922 2002
 italy Firing Squad 1947 1948 1947 [19] 1994
 kazakhstan Single shot 2003 2009 [20]  ?
 latvia Shooting 1996 1999  ? 2012
 liechtenstein  ? 1785 1989  ? 1989
 lithuania Shooting 1995 1996  ? 1998 [21]
 luxembourg Hanging  ? 1979 [11]  ? 1979 [11]
 Republic of Macedonia None since independence 1991 [22] None since independence 1991 [22]
 malta Hanging 1943 1971 1942 2000
 moldova  ?  ? 2005 [23]  ? 2005 [23]
 Monaco  ?  ? 1962 [24]  ? 1962 [24]
 Montenegro None since independence 2002 None since independence 2002
 Netherlands Hanging, Firing Squad 1860 1870 1952 [25] 1983
 norway Beheading 1876 [26] 1902 1948 [27] 1979
 poland Hanging 1988 1997 [28]  ? 1997 [29]
 Portugal Hanging, Garrotte , Firing squad 1846 1867 1918? 1976
 romania Firing squad 1989 1990  ? 1991
 russia Firing squad 1996 [30] [30]  ? [30]
 San Marino  ? 1468 1848  ? 1865
 serbia Firing squad 1992 2002  ? 2002
 Slovakia Hanging 1989 1993 [31] None since independence 1993 [31]
 Slovenia Hanging 1957 1989  ? 1991
 spain Garrotte, Firing Squad 1975 1978  ? 1995
 Sweden Guillotine{\ displaystyle *}, Beheading, Hanging 1910 1921  ? 1973
 switzerland Beheading 1940 1942 1945? 1992
 turkey Hanging 1984 2002 1921 [32] 2004
 Ukraine  ? 1997 [33] 2000 [34] [35]  ? 2000 [34] [35]
 United Kingdom Hanging 1964 1965 (suspended) 1969 (abolished) 1953 1998
 Vatican City mazzatello 1870 (as Papal States ) 1969  ? 1969

{\ displaystyle * /}Only used once, at the very last execution in Sweden


Main article: Capital punishment in Belarus

The only European country that executes criminals is Belarus , as the country is not party to the European Convention on Human Rights. Executions in Belarus are carried out by shooting.


Main article: Capital punishment in Russia

Capital punishment in Russia has been indefinitely suspended, but it still remains codified in its law. There exists an implicit moratorium established by the President Yeltsin in 1996, and an explicit one, established by the Constitutional Court of Russia in 1999 and which was most recently reaffirmed in 2009. since 1999.


Main article: Capital punishment in Kazakhstan

Capital punishment in Kazakhstan has been abolished for ordinary crimes, but is still permitted for crimes in special circumstances (such as war crimes). Kazakhstan has not been carried out since 2003, and currently only one person is on death row. Kazakhstan is a member of the Council of Europe.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Main article: Capital Punishment in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina-have constitutionally Abolished the death penalty, capital punishment remains this purpose in legal statutes, SPECIFICALLY in Republika Srpska , Article 11. HOWEVER, due to the constitutional abolition, the death penalty can not be used.

Separate territories and partially recognized jurisdictions

In Europe there are also some unrecognized states . In 2006 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe wrote that:

While Nagorno-Karabakh abolished the death penalty on 1 August 2003, when it was decided to implement the Republic of Armenia’s new Criminal Code on its territory, the other territories, Abkhazia , Transnistria and South Ossetia , have not done so, retaining capital punishment in their legislation both in peacetime and in wartime. As South Ossetia decided in 1992 to make the rule of law, it has been observed in the United States since 1996. The death penalty is in the Transnistrian Criminal Code which came into force in 2002. In July 1999, de facto President Smirnov ordered a moratorium on executions, and there is said to be a prisoner on death row in Transnistria.  [36]

Abkhazia formalized its moratorium in 2007, moving towards full abolition. On 12 January 2007 the parliament of Abkhazia adopted a law entitled „Moratorium on the Death Penalty“, establishing a moratorium on executions during peacetime. Since 1993 the country has had a  de facto  moratorium on executions.  [37]  Although there have been 10 sentences of death in Abkhazia, these have never been implemented.  [38]

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus retains the death penalty only for crimes committed under special circumstances (war crimes). See also Capital punishment in Cyprus .

The Donetsk People ’s Republic introduced the death penalty in 2014 for cases of treason, espionage, and assassination of political leaders. There had already been charges of extrajudicial execution occurring.  [39]

See also

  • Use of capital punishment by country
  • Capital punishment abolitionism
  • European Court of Human Rights


  1. Jump up^  Abolition of death penalty is now complete in Latvia
  2. ^ Jump up to: b
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  4. Jump up^  Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the penalty penalty in all circumstances CETS No .: 187Council of Europe
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  6. Jump up^  „Archived copy“ . Archived from the original on 2014-02-05 . Retrieved 2014-02-11 .
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  8. Jump up^  Phillips, Leigh (March 30, 2010)Europe’s first ever performance-free year undone by Belarus,EU Observer
  9. Jump up^  Q & A: Lisbon TreatyBBC News
  10. Jump up^  PACE Rapporteurs condemn death sentence handed down in Belarus, Press release of May 3, 2013,Council of Europe.
  11. ^ Jump up to: c   „Archived copy“ . Archived from the original on 2012-11-06 . Retrieved 2012-11-06 .
  12. Jump up^  The death penalty: a few wordsKingdom of Belgium Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation , 2010
  13. Jump up^  „Vladimír Lulek“ .  Wikipedia  . 2016-04-04.
  14. Jump up^  „175/1990 Sb“ .  (in Czech) . Retrieved 2017-04-26 .
  15. Jump up^   Jaroš, Petr. „History trestu smrti v českých zemích – Lidská práva“ .  . Retrieved 2017-04-26 .
  16. Jump up^  „175/1990 Sb“ .  (in Czech) . Retrieved 2017-04-26 .
  17. Jump up^  During the aftermath of the German occupation of Denmark 1940-45, was 46 (Danish) people shot by police firing squads at Christiania, Copenhagen and in Viborg, Jutland, between 1945 and 1950 -http: //ditt.almanet. dk / henrettede.html
  18. Jump up^  America’s Deadly ImageWashington Post, February 20, 2001
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  22. ^ Jump up to: b
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  25. Jump up^  (in Dutch)by doodstraf in Nederland: Laatste twee executies in 1952Geschiedenis 24, March 11, 2010.
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  30. ^ Jump up to: c  The Constitutional Court forbids use death penalty in Russa , Lenta.Ru , November 11, 2009
  31. ^ Jump up to: b
  32. Jump up^  Last wartime performances were held during theTurkish War of Independenceat the hands of theIndependence Tribunals (Turkey). Seyid Rizaand companions were also hanged after therebellion Dersim; however, it is not officially considered a war, and they have been tested according to the peacetime laws.
  33. Jump up^  „Annual Report 1999 – Ukraine“ . Amnesty International. Archived fromthe original on 9 November 1999.
  34. ^ Jump up to: b  The Death Penalty: Abolition Beyond , Council of Europe , 2004 ISBN  9287153337 (page 74)
  35. ^ Jump up to: b  International Actors, Democratization and the Rule of Law: Anchoring Democracy? , Routledge , 2008, ISBN  0415492955 (page 196 af)
  36. Jump up^  „Archived copy“ . Archived from the original on 2013-10-19 . Retrieved 2013-10-17 .
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