Capital punishment, the death penalty is the killing of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences.
Hence, a capital crime was originally one punished by the severing of the head.
Today, there are many methods of execution as:
* Firing squad
* Electrocution (electric chair)
* Stoning (lapidation)
* Gas chamber
Capital punishment has in the past been practiced in virtually / practically every society, although / but currently only 58 nations actively practice it, with 95 countries abolishing it (the remainder having not used it for 10 years or allowing itonly in exceptional circumstances such as wartime).
It is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region.
In the European Union member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment.
Today, most countries are considered by AmnestyInternational as abolitionist, which allowed a vote on a nonbinding resolution to the United Nation to promote the abolition of the death penalty.
However, over 60% (sixty per cent) of the world's population live in countries where executions, take place insofar as the four most populous countries in the world (the People's Republic of China, India, United States and Indonesia), apply the deathpenalty and all of them voted against the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the United Nation General Assembly in 2008.
Trends in most of the world have long been to move to less painful, or more humane executions.
France developed the guillotine for this reason in the final years of the 18th century while Britain banned drawing and quartering in the early 19thcentury. Hanging by turning the victim off a ladder or by kicking a stool or a bucket, which causes death by suffocation, was replaced by long drop "hanging" where the subject is dropped a longer distance to dislocate the neck and sever the spinal cord.
In the United State, the electric chair and the gas chamber were introduced as more humane alternatives to hanging, but have been almost entirelysuperseded / replaced by lethal injection, which in turn has been criticized as being too painful.
In the United Kingdom, the death penalty was abolished for murder (leaving only treason, piracy with violence, Arson in royal dockyards and a number of wartime military offences as capital crimes) for a five year experiment in 1965 and permanently in 1969, the last execution having taken place in1964. It was abolished for all peacetime offences in 1998.
Abolition occurred in Canada in 1976, in France in 1981, and in Australia in 1973 (while the state of Western Australia retained the penalty until 1984).
In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed in a formal resolution that everywhere in the world, it is desirable to "progressively restrict the number of offenses for whichthe death penalty might be imposed, with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment".
The death penalty has been abolished in almost all European countries (48 out of 50, Belorussia and Latvia still use the death penalty).
The moratorium on the death penalty is conserved in both the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rightsof the Council of Europe, and thus considered a central value.
Of all modern European countries, San Marino and Portugal were the first to abolish and only Belarus still practices capital punishment and Latvia has abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes but retains it for crimes during wartime.
Spain was the latest country (16 December 2009) to ratify protocol 13 in abolishing the...