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Why Countries Choose the Death Penalty

Capital Punishment
Carsten Anckar


The abolition of the death penalty was brought to the fore after the end of the Second World War, particularly by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 1948. Although the death penalty was highly debated in subsequent decades, it took quite a while before the abolitionist movement truly gathered speed. The turning point came in the 1980s with the drafting of a number of international treaties that proclaimed the abolition of the death penalty. At the same time, countries started to remove the death penalty from their criminal codes at high rates and ever since, the number of abolitionist countries has increased steadily.