Dödsstraff i världen
Dödsstraffet verkställs i många stater i världen, även om en långsiktig trend mot avskaffande kan skönjas. Världens fyrafolkrikaste länder; Kina, Indien, USA och Indonesien praktiserar alla dödsstraff, men endast i Kina och en rad delstater i USA tillämpas det någorlunda regelmässigt. Enligt Amnesty International avrättades år 2010 följande antal individer i följande länder (samtliga, utom USA, klassades då som diktaturer):
69 länder har kvar dödsstraffet i sin lagstiftning och har genomfört avrättningar de senaste 10 åren, 25 länder har kvar straffet men har inte verkställt det på minst 10 år, 11 länder har kvar dödsstraff bara för vissa speciella brott (i allmänhet brott i krigstid). 186 länder har helt tagit bort straffet ur lagstiftningen. Antalet dödsdomar minskar totalt sett i världen, tack vare att antalet minskar i Kina.
Exe- cutions, 2010
Death sent- ences 2010
Death sent- ences 2011
TOTAL EXE- CUTED, 2007-2011
TOTAL SENT- ENCED TO DEATH, 2007-2011
SOURCE: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
|CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC||14||0||14|
|CONGO (Democratic Republic)||0||0||74|
|PAPUA NEW GUINEA||5||0||8|
|SAINT KITTS & NEVIS||1||1|
|SAINT VINCENT AND & THE GRENADINES||0||1|
|TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO||0||2||0||12|
|UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||28||1||31||2||64|
|TOTALS (exc China & others)||521||2015||670||1792||5541||17951|
The world’s major religions have mixed opinions on the death penalty, depending on the sect, the individual believer, and the time period.
There is disagreement among Buddhists as to whether or not Buddhism forbids the death penalty. The first of the Five Precepts (Panca-sila) is to abstain from destruction of life. Chapter 10 of the Dhammapada states:
”Everyone fears punishment; everyone fears death, just as you do. Therefore you do not kill or cause to be killed.”
Chapter 26, the final chapter of the Dhammapada, states, ”Him I call a brahmin who has put aside weapons and renounced violence toward all creatures. He neither kills nor helps others to kill.” These sentences are interpreted by many Buddhists (especially in the West) as an injunction against supporting any legal measure which might lead to the death penalty. However, as is often the case with the interpretation of scripture, there is dispute on this matter. Historically, most states where the official religion is Buddhism have imposed capital punishment for some offenses. One notable exception is the abolition of the death penalty by the Emperor Saga of Japan in 818. This lasted until 1165, although in private manors executions continued to be conducted as a form of retaliation. Japan still imposes the death penalty, although some recent justice ministers have refused to sign death warrants, citing their Buddhist beliefs as their reason. Other Buddhist-majority states vary in their policy. For example, Bhutan has abolished the death penalty, but Thailand still retains it, although Buddhism is the official religion in both.
Views on the death penalty in Christianity run a spectrum of opinions, from complete condemnation of the punishment, seeing it as a form of revenge and as contrary to Christ’s message of forgiveness, to enthusiastic support based primarily on Old Testament law.
Among the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew, the message to his followers that one should ”Turn the other cheek” and his example in the story Pericope Adulterae, in which Jesus intervenes in the stoning of an adulteress, are generally accepted as his condemnation of physical retaliation (though most scholars agree that the latter passage was ”certainly not part of the original text of St John’s Gospel”) More militant Christians consider Romans 13:3–4 to support the death penalty. Many Christians have believed that Jesus’ doctrine of peace speaks only to personal ethics and is distinct from civil government’s duty to punish crime.
In the Old Testament, Leviticus Leviticus 20:2–27 provides a list of transgressions in which execution is recommended. Christian positions on these passages vary. The sixth commandment (fifth in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches) is translated as ”Thou shalt not kill” by some denominations and as ”Thou shalt not murder” by others. As some denominations do not have a hard-line stance on the subject, Christians of such denominations are free to make a personal decision.
Roman Catholic Church
St. Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, accepts the death penalty as a deterrent and prevention method but not as a means of vengeance. (See Aquinas on the death penalty.) The Roman Catechism states this teaching thus:
Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.
In Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II suggested that capital punishment should be avoided unless it is the only way to defend society from the offender in question, opining that punishment ”ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” The most recent edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church restates this view. That the assessment of the contemporary situation advanced by John Paul II is not binding on the faithful was confirmed by Cardinal Ratzinger when he wrote in 2004 that,
if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
While all Catholics must therefore hold that ”the infliction of capital punishment is not contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the power of the State to visit upon culprits the penalty of death derives much authority from revelation and from the writings of theologians”, the matter of ”the advisability of exercising that power is, of course, an affair to be determined upon other and various considerations.”
Southern Baptists support the fair and equitable use of capital punishment for those guilty of murder or treasonous acts, so long as it does not constitute as an act of personal revenge or discrimination.
Anglican and Episcopalian
This Conference: … 3. Urges the Church to speak out against: … (b) all governments who practice capital punishment, and encourages them to find alternative ways of sentencing offenders so that the divine dignity of every human being is respected and yet justice is pursued;….
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church, along with other Methodist churches, also condemns capital punishment, saying that it cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life. The Church also holds that the death penalty falls unfairly and unequally upon marginalised persons including the poor, the uneducated, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with mental and emotional illnesses. The General Conference of the United Methodist Church calls for its bishops to uphold opposition to capital punishment and for governments to enact an immediate moratorium on carrying out the death penalty sentence.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In a 1991 social policy statement, the ELCA officially took a stand to oppose the death penalty. It states that revenge is a primary motivation for capital punishment policy and that true healing can only take place through repentance and forgiveness.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also called Mormons) neither promotes nor opposes capital punishment, although the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., supported it. However, today the church officially state it is a ”matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law.”
Community of Christ
Community of Christ, the former Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), is opposed to capital punishment. The first stand against capital punishment was taken by the church’s Presiding High Council in 1995. This was followed by a resolution of the World Conference in 2000. This resolution, WC 1273, states:
[W]e stand in opposition to the use of the death penalty; and … as a peace church we seek ways to achieve healing and restorative justice. Church members are encouraged to work for the abolition of the death penalty in those states and nations that still practice this form of punishment.
Several key leaders early in the Protestant Reformation, including Martin Luther and John Calvin, followed the traditional reasoning in favour of capital punishment, and the Lutheran Church‘s Augsburg Confession explicitly defended it. Some Protestant groups have cited Genesis 9:5–6, Romans 13:3–4, and Leviticus 20:1–27 as the basis for permitting the death penalty.
Mennonites, Church of the Brethren and Friends have opposed the death penalty since their founding, and continue to be strongly opposed to it today. These groups, along with other Christians opposed to capital punishment, have cited Christ‘s Sermon on the Mount (transcribed in Matthew Chapter 5–7) and Sermon on the Plain (transcribed in Luke 6:17–49). In both sermons, Christ tells his followers to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies, which these groups believe mandates nonviolence, including opposition to the death penalty.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Eastern Orthodox Christianity does not officially condemn or endorse capital punishment. It states that it is not a totally objectionable thing, but also that its abolishment can be driven by genuine Christian values, especially stressing the need for mercy.
A basis can be found in Hindu teachings both for permitting and forbidding the death penalty. Hinduism preaches ahimsa (or ahinsa, non-violence), but also teaches that the soul cannot be killed and death is limited only to the physical body. The soul is reborn into another body upon death (until Moksha), akin to a human changing clothes. The religious, civil and criminal law of Hindus is encoded in the Dharmaśāstras and the Arthasastra. The Dharmasastras describe many crimes and their punishments and call for the death penalty in several instances, including murder, the mixture of castes, and righteous warfare.
Some forms of Islamic law, as in Saudi Arabia, may require capital punishment, but there is great variation within Islamic nations as to actual capital punishment. Apostasy in Islam and stoning to death in Islam are controversial topics. Furthermore, as expressed in the Qur’an, capital punishment is condoned. Instead, murder is treated as a civil crime and is covered by the law of retaliation, whereby the relatives of the victim decide whether the offender is punished with death by the authorities or made to pay diyah as compensation. Muslims frequently refer to the story of Cain and Abel when referring to killing someone. The Qur’an says the following:
- ”If anyone kills person– unless it be (a punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief in the land— it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people” (Qur’an 5:32).
This verse, in accordance with the Mosaic Law, maintains that the punishment for murder is the death penalty. ”Mischief in the land” has been interpreted universally to refer to one who upsets the stability of the entire nation or community, in that his actions seriously damage the society, either through corruption, war or otherwise.
Although many hard-line and extremist Muslim societies have adopted capital punishment for other than the crime of murder, this is in violation of the Qur’anic law mentioned above, and so is rejected by most orthodox commentators and scholars.
However, there is also a minority view within some Muslims that capital punishment is not justified in the light of Qur’an.
The official teachings of Judaism approve the death penalty in principle but the standard of proof required for application of death penalty is extremely stringent. In practice, it has been abolished by various Talmudic decisions, making the situations in which a death sentence could be passed effectively impossible and hypothetical. A capital case could not be tried by a normal Beit Din of three judges, it can only be adjudicated by a Sanhedrin of a minimum of 23 judges. Forty years before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, i.e. in 30 CE, the Sanhedrin effectively abolished capital punishment, making it a hypothetical upper limit on the severity of punishment, fitting in finality for God alone to use, not fallible people.
The 12th century Jewish legal scholar, Maimonides said:
- ”It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.”
Maimonides argued that executing a defendant on anything less than absolute certainty would lead to a slippery slope of decreasing burdens of proof, until we would be convicting merely ”according to the judge’s caprice”. Maimonides was concerned about the need for the law to guard itself in public perceptions, to preserve its majesty and retain the people’s respect.
The state of Israel retains the death penalty only for Nazis convicted of crimes against humanity. The only execution in Israeli history occurred in 1961, when Adolf Eichmann, one of the principal organizers of the Shoah, was put to death after his trial in Jerusalem.