The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law

The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law

The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law

The Abolition of the Death Penalty in International Law

Synopsis

This extensively revised third edition covers developments since publication of the second edition in 1997. It includes consideration of the UN human rights system, international humanitarian law, European human rights law and Inter-American human rights law. New chapters address capital punishment in African human rights law and international criminal law. An extensive list of appendices contains many of the essential documents for the study of capital punishment in international law. (Introduced with a Foreword by Judge Gilbert Guillaume, President of the International Court of Justice.) Previous Edition Hb (1997): 0-521-58135-4 Previous Edition Pb (1997): 0-521-58887-1

Excerpt

Since the first edition appeared in 1993, the debate about capital punishment in international law has been utterly transformed. The astonishing speed of events has only confirmed the original thesis of the book, that there is aninexorable trend in international law towards the abolition of capital punishment. Indeed, in the first edition I noted that according to the lists prepared by Amnesty International, slightly less than half the countries in the world had abolished the death penalty, and that 'if the trend continues uninterrupted, sometime prior to the year 2000 a majority of the world's states will have abolished the death penalty'. That point was reached in the summer of 1995, shortly before I prepared the second edition. The trend has continued uninterrupted into the new millennium. Now a large majority of states have abolished capital punishment, and it is banned by the new international criminal courts. Those that still retain it now fight a rearguard action in the international arena, sensing that they are becoming the new pariahs of international human rights law.

My research assistants at the UniversitéduQuébec à Montréal (1991– 2000) and, subsequently, at the National University of Ireland, Galway, have made important contributions to this study: Yanick Charbonneau, Dan Connelly, Julie Desrosiers, Geneviève Dufour, Laetitia Husson, David Koller, Carmel Morgan, Alexandre Morin, Audrey Murray, Angeline Northup and Nancie Prud'homme. My colleagues at the Irish Centre for Human Rights also gave me important encouragement, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to thank them publicly. The support of my wife, Penelope Soteriou, and my daughters, Marguerite and Louisa Schabas, is and always will be, as they well know, most dearly appreciated.

William A. Schabas Oughterard, October 2001 . . .

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