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President Bill Clinton


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The Federal Death Penalty

In addition to the death penalty laws in many states, the federal government has also employed capital punishment for certain federal offenses, such as murder of a government official, kidnapping resulting in death, running of a large-scale drug enterprise, and treason. When the Supreme Court struck down state death penalty statutes in Furman, the federal death penalty statutes suffered from the same constitutional infirmities that the state statutes did. As a result, death sentences under the old federal death penalty statutes have not been upheld.

A new federal death penalty statute was enacted in 1988 for murder in the course of a drug-kingpin conspiracy. The statute was modeled on the post-Gregg statutes that the Supreme Court has approved.

In 1994, President Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that expanded the federal death penalty to some 60 crimes, some of which do not involve murder. There have been three federal executions under these laws: Timothy McVeigh and Juan Garza in June of 2001, and Louis Jones in March 2003.

In response to the Oklahoma City Bombing, President Clinton signed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Act, which affects both state and federal prisoners, restricts review in federal courts by establishing tighter filing deadlines, limiting the opportunity for evidentiary hearings, and ordinarily allowing only a single habeas corpus filing in federal court. Proponents of the death penalty argue that this streamlining will speed up the death penalty process and significantly reduce its cost, although others fear that quicker, more limited federal review may increase the risk of executing innocent defendants. (Bohm, 1999 and Schabas, 1997)

International Views

In April 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Commission passed a resolution supporting a worldwide moratorium on executions. The resolution calls on countries which have not abolished the death penalty to restrict its use, including not imposing it on juvenile offenders and limiting the number of offenses for which it can be imposed.

As of January 2008, 138 countries are abolitionist in law or practice, leaving just 59 countries active in the use of the death penalty. Of the almost 1600 known executions to take place in 2006, 91% were carried out by the China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan and the USA. (Amnesty International, 2007)

Below are lists of countries with and without the death penalty, compiled and last updated by Amnesty International January 27, 2008: (http://tinyurl.com/52jxgf).

Retentionist Countries

 AFGHANISTAN, ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA, BAHAMAS, BAHRAIN, BANGLADESH, BARBADOS, BELARUS, BELIZE, BOTSWANA, BURUNDI, CAMEROON, CHAD, CHINA, COMOROS, CONGO (Democratic Republic), CUBA, DOMINICA, EGYPT, EQUATORIAL GUINEA, ERITREA, ETHIOPIA, GUATEMALA, GUINEA, GUYANA, INDIA, INDONESIA, IRAN, IRAQ, JAMAICA, JAPAN, JORDAN, KAZAKSTAN, KOREA (North), KOREA (South), KUWAIT, LAOS, LEBANON, LESOTHO, LIBYA, MALAYSIA, MONGOLIA, NIGERIA, OMAN, PAKISTAN, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, QATAR, RWANDA, SAINT CHRISTOPHER & NEVIS, SAINT LUCIA, SAINT VINCENT & GRENADINES, SAUDI ARABIA, SIERRA LEONE, SINGAPORE, SOMALIA, SUDAN, SYRIA, TAIWAN, TAJIKISTAN, TANZANIA, THAILAND, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, UGANDA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, VIET NAM, YEMEN, ZIMBABWE

Countries that are abolitionist in practice

 ALGERIA, BENIN, BRUNEI DARUSSALAM, BURKINA FASO, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, CONGO (Republic), GABON, GAMBIA, GHANA, GRENADA, KENYA, KYRGYZSTAN, MADAGASCAR, MALAWI, MALDIVES, MALI, MAURITANIA, MOROCCO, MYANMAR, NAURU, NIGER, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, SRI LANKA, SURINAME, SWAZILAND, TOGO, TONGA, TUNISIA, ZAMBIA

Countries that are retentionist only for exceptional crimes

BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, COOK ISLANDS, EL SALVADOR, FIJI, ISRAEL, LATVIA, PERU

Countries that are abolitionist for all crimes

 ALBANIA, ANDORRA, ANGOLA, ARGENTINA, ARMENIA, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, AZERBAIJAN, BELGIUM, BHUTAN, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, BULGARIA, CAMBODIA, CANADA, CAPE VERDE, CHILE, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, COTE D'IVOIRE, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, DJIBOUTI, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GEORGIA, GERMANY, GREECE, GUINEA-BISSAU, HAITI, HONDURAS, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND, ITALY, KIRIBATI, LIBERIA, LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA, LUXEMBOURG, MACEDONIA (former Yugoslav Republic), MALTA, MARSHALL ISLANDS, MAURITIUS, MEXICO, MICRONESIA (Federated States), MOLDOVA, MONACO, MONTENEGRO, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, NEPAL, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, NICARAGUA, NIUE, NORWAY, PALAU, PANAMA, PARAGUAY, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, SAMOA, SAN MARINO, SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE, SENEGAL, SERBIA, SEYCHELLES, SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, SOUTH AFRICA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TIMOR-LESTE, TURKEY, TURKMENISTAN, TUVALU, UKRAINE, UNITED KINGDOM, URUGUAY, UZBEKISTAN, VANUATU, VATICAN CITY STATE, VENEZUELA

 







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