The US is one of the few federalist countries which give the states the power to legislate on the issue of the death penalty. At present there are 15 abolitionist states and 35 retentionist states in the US, although among retentionist states, 10 have not carried out any executions for at least 10 years.
In recent years, abolitionist measures have been spreading throughout the nation. Death sentences in the US have dropped over 60 percent in the past decade. In 2009, New Mexico became the 15th state to legislatively abolish the death penalty.
The world day is hoped to strengthen the trend towards abolition in the US and also the trend towards universal abolition. It is an opportunity to publicly oppose the use of this inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment and to support those in the US who are fighting for its abolition.
The ICJ is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
World day against the death penalty-news-2011-eng (full text in English, PDF)NewsWeb stories