Comparative Capital Punishment
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Comparative Capital Punishment

Edited by Carol S. Steiker and Jordan M. Steiker

Comparative Capital Punishment offers a set of in-depth, critical and comparative contributions addressing death practices around the world. Despite the dramatic decline of the death penalty in the last half of the twentieth century, capital punishment remains in force in a substantial number of countries around the globe. This research handbook explores both the forces behind the stunning recent rejection of the death penalty, as well as the changing shape of capital practices where it is retained. The expert contributors address the social, political, economic, and cultural influences on both retention and abolition of the death penalty and consider the distinctive possibilities and pathways to worldwide abolition.
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Chapter 11: International law and the abolition of the death penalty

William A. Schabas


Three international law issues relating to capital punishment are addressed in this chapter. The first concerns the tension between the reform of capital punishment, as international legal norms governing its practice become increasingly stringent. The second considers the validity of a category of states described as de facto abolitionist. It appears to be a very reliable predictor of permanent abolitionist status. The third examines the threats by the Philippines and Turkey, both of them abolitionist states, to return to capital punishment. Both states are blocked from doing this by treaty law. The situation poses a test for the effectiveness of international human rights law.

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