Death penalty is defined as the execution of a criminal who is convicted by the government. It is also called as capital punishment because it serves as a punishment for the crimes which are known to be as capital crimes. As recorded in the history, most of the executions done by the criminals are implemented to restrain political dispute and also to punish the criminals. Nowadays many countries or states worldwide have already chosen to abolish the death penalty or more commonly called as the capital punishment.
All of the European countries except for Belarus, many countries in the Pacific Area states and Canada are among those who have already stopped using capital punishment. Moreover, in Latin America, they have also abolished capital punishment but in some countries such as Brazil, they have only partially abolished death penalty. The reason for Brazil to still embrace the death penalty is because of the punishment to be given to those people who have committed disloyalty during wartime. However, there are those countries that still use capital punishment as part of their judicial system.
Among these countries are the United States of America, Guatemala, most of the democratic countries in Asia and most of the Caribbean countries. Death penalty had been used extensively in the ancient times. The start of using the death penalty as a punishment was written in history during the c. 1750 B. C. in the code of Hammurabi. In the Western Europe, capital punishment had been practiced which started from the Fall of Rome until the beginning of the new era. During the start of the 18th century, several movements were born to be able to bring the death penalty to abolishment.
The writings done by Montesquieu and Voltaire had the first writings written in history for the start of the abolishment “We should abolish death penalty” “Page No 2” of the death penalty. Included in the writings that started the abolishment of the death penalty was the essay done by Cesare Beccaria entitled Essays on Crimes and Punishment. This was published in the year 1764. In the 18th and 19th century, it was in Great Britain who has recorded the most number of reduced capital offences. It was under the influence of Jeremy Bentham when the reduced criminal punishments in Great Britain had happened.
Among the first countries to abolish capital punishment were Venezuela, San Marino and Costa Rica (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2007). The Abolishment of Death Penalty Capital punishment was recorded to be first banned in China. This was during the years between 747 and 759. The book written by Cesare Beccaria entitled On Crime and Punishments also included some points of the disagreement of the death penalty. It was also the objective of Beccaria to illustrate the injustices and the ineffectiveness of the death penalty exercised by some of the countries as a part of their judicial system.
By the time the duke of Tuscany had read and reflected some points from the book of Beccaria, he had immediately abolished the death penalty in his country. Grand Duke Leopold II had spread the reform of the penal code; he had ordered that all the instruments and materials used for the capital punishment be destroyed. This was for the permanent abolishment of the death penalty in his country. The revision of the penal code was done on November 30, 1786 and on year 2000, the date November 30 had been proclaimed as holiday to commemorate the event. The abolition of the capita punishment was viewed as uncommon and unnecessary.
Death penalty punishments were totally stopped in the Roman Republic in 1849. This was followed by “We should abolish death penalty” “Page No. 3” Venezuela in 1863. Portugal had also banned death penalty in 1867. Some states in the United States of America had also participated in the abolishment of the death penalty. The first state in the US to ban the capital punishment was the state of Michigan. This had happened on March 1, 1847. As of today, there were twelve states in the United States of America which is currently banning the capital punishments.
In the year 2000, there had been one hundred and eighteen countries which had ended up or abolished the capital punishment. Reports have been made indicating that there is a typical of three countries annually that totally abolish the capital punishment or the death penalty. In October 2004, there were a total of twenty four countries in the African Union that had completely abolished the death penalty in law and in practice (Amnesty International, 2006). The Amnesty International had presented ten reasons why we should abolish the death penalty.
The very first reason is that the capital punishment or the death penalty is against the right of every person to live. It is documented by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that every person in this world has the right to live. The person’s right to life had been unbreakable because of the existence of many treaties internationally and regionally that supports the abolishment of the death penalty. This was also included in the set of procedures of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In 1989, these set of procedures was also adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (Amnesty International, 2006).