The 10th October 2016 will be the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, an annual day that was created by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty in 2003. This year, the focus is on the use of the death penalty in cases of terrorism, and campaigning to “stop the cycle of violence.”
According to the World Coalition, there has been a global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty since the 1980s. However, in recent years a number of governments have begun to use the death penalty for terrorism related acts, in the name of counter-terrorism and protecting their countries. The World Coalition is using this World Day Against the Death Penalty to draw attention to problems involved in using the death penalty being for terrorism, and to continue to promote the message that no crime should ever be met with the punishment of death.
A leaflet outlining the relevant facts and figures surrounding the use of the death penalty in cases of terrorism has been created by the World Coaltion, and can be read here. The leaflet also answers questions on why the death penalty shouldn’t be use to punish terrorist acts, like “Is the death penalty a deterrent for terrorism?”
Is the death penalty a deterrent for terrorism?
No. It has never been conclusively shown that the death penalty deters crimes more effectively than other punishments. The correlation between crime rates and the death penalty seems to be even less relevant in the case of terrorism, where the act is politically motivated, with often no cost-benefit calculation. People committing terrorist acts are dedicated to their cause, which counteracts and neutralizes whatever legal threat is meant to deter them. Some terrorists assume that they will die while engaging in acts of terrorism, therefore the threat of an execution does not serve as a deterrent for such acts. Moreover, many terrorism-related cases are never solved and terrorists who have not killed themselves in the act are rarely apprehended.
– World Day Against the Death Penalty 2016 Leaflet, World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, p. 6
To find out more about why people are campaigning to abolish the death penalty around the world, and what progress is being made, have a look at the World Coalition website, www.worldcoalition.org.