The Death Penalty Worldwide Database tracks the laws and practices of capital punishment in every country that retains it. Our goals are to ensure transparency in the documentation of human rights violations and to track the evolution of international norms relating to the death penalty.
We designed the Database to meet the needs of policymakers, lawyers, judges, scholars, journalists, human rights advocates, and members of the public looking for comprehensive information regarding the application of the death penalty worldwide. Reliable data regarding death penalty practices is difficult to obtain for a number of reasons. Some states classify death penalty figures as state secrets. Others provide only selective data. And in others, record-keeping practices are so unreliable that researchers must travel to prisons to obtain accurate data on prisoners and death row conditions. The Center’s approach prioritizes primary sources and collaboration with in-country partners. When a definitive conclusion cannot be reached, we set out the available information and offer an informed assessment of state practice. To ensure that the users can gauge the accuracy of our information, we provide sources for each fact cited in the Database.
The Database’s user-friendly interface and intuitive filters allow researchers to easily access reliable information. Users can quickly find the answers they need by combining more than sixty variables through the Database’s advanced search capabilities.
Media & Publications
Can Biden abolish the death penalty?, Al Jazeera, Feb. 2, 2021.
Joseph Onyekwere, Capital defence lawyers task Federal Government on right to life, The Guardian, Oct. 22, 2019.
Katie Dangerfield, 2nd Canadian faces execution in China — a look at the country’s death penalty laws, Global News, Apr. 30,
Bill Bostock, This chart shows how Saudi Arabia is on course to behead more people than ever before in 2019, Business Insider, Mar. 24, 2019.
Damion Mitchell, Death-Penalty Backlash – Support Amassing Against Executions Globally, The Gleaner, Feb. 27, 2019.
Newswire, Francis On Death Penalty: ‘I am for the law!’, St. Lucia Times News, Feb. 1, 2019.
Newswire, Egypt must end death penalty: EU politicians, Al Jazeera News, Feb. 08, 2019.
Martha Chikoti, Chiefs want death penalty abolished, Malawi 24, Apr. 19, 2018.
Aleesha Matharu, With 22 Executions Over Three Successive Tuesdays, Is Egypt’s Sisi Sending a Warning?, The Wire, Jan. 30, 2018.
Samantha Stern, Arrested, Assaulted and Tortured: Exiled Human Rights Lawyer Details Problems With Chinese Death Penalty, Cornell Daily Sun, Nov. 2, 2017.
G. S. Mudur, Saudi Arabia: Dr Noose? Spare Us, The Telegraph, Oct. 26, 2017.
Ali al-Shihabi, A response to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Al Arabyia English, August 10, 2017.
Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia: 14 Shia at Risk of Imminent Execution. Aug. 10, 2017.
Sean Murphy, A glance at some of the recent executions around the globe, Associated Press, Apr. 28, 2017.
Lincoln Caplan, The growing gap between the U.S. and the international anti-death-penalty consensus, The New Yorker, Dec. 31, 2016.
Jason Mclure, Morning Edition, Global Journalist: Saudi executions rise despite criticism, KBIA Radio, Dec. 8, 2016.
Shruti Juneja, Experts Debate the Death Penalty, Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University, Oct. 27, 2016.
Mariana Escobar Roldan, Pena de muerte, estrategia errada contra el terrorismo, El Colombiano, Oct. 12, 2016.
Zahid Gishkori, Walking the tightrope: Kaniza Bibi among 47 women on death row in Pakistan, The Express Tribune, Nov. 15, 2015.
Joanna Sugden, India’s Use of the Death Penalty Rises, Wall Street Journal, Jul. 10, 2015.
The Guardian, North Korea has carried out 1,400 public executions since 2000, report claims, The Guardian, Jul. 6, 2015.
James King, 16 Things That Could Get You Executed In Saudi Arabia, Vocativ, Jun. 18, 2015.
Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia: 100 Executions Since January 1, Jun. 16, 2015.
Adam Taylor, Chart: The mystery behind a dramatic rise in executions in Saudi Arabia, Washington Post, May 28, 2015.
Sarah Kaplan and Sarah Larimer, Bali Nine’ leaders executed by firing squad in Indonesia, Washington Post, Apr. 28, 2015.
William Gibson, Death in the Land of Smiles, Apr. 12, 2015.
Sara Schonhardt, The Short Answer: Death Row Diplomacy in Indonesia, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 4, 2015.
An Dien, Jury out as Vietnam holds fast to white-collar noose, Thanh Nien News, Feb. 26, 2015.
Lora Moftah, Saudi Arabia Defends Public Beheadings After ISIS Comparisons, International Business Time, Feb. 2, 2015.
Catherine Gouëset, Arabie saoudite: cachez ces décapitations que je ne saurais voir, L’Express, Jan. 22, 2015.
An Dien, Is Vietnam ready to abolish death penalty?, Thanh Nien News, Jan. 22, 2015.
Wall Street Journal, How Indonesia’s Record on Executions Stacks Up, Jan. 20, 2015.
Collier Meyerson, Woman Who Maintained Innocence Publicly Beheaded in Mecca, Jezebel, Jan. 17, 2015.
Amel Ahmed, Beheadings remain integral part of Saudi justice system, Al Jazeera America, Sep. 11, 2014.
Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia: Surge in Executions, Aug. 21, 2014.
Jesper Hjorth, Domstol: Fire voldtægtsmænd skal hænges, Ekstra Bladet, Mar. 13, 2014.
AFP, Death for Qatari for killing British teacher, Mar. 27, 2014.
Terrence McCoy, Vietnam’s punishment for corrupt bankers: Death, Washington Post, Apr, 4, 2014.
Carol J. Williams, Gambia, Iraq executions buck worldwide abolitionist trend, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 31, 2012.
WBEZ 91.5 (Chicago Public Radio), Worldview, Interview with Sandra Babcock on EU legislation aimed at limiting US access to European-produced drugs used to carry out executions, Jan. 20, 2012.