[JURIST] A resolution [DOC text] calling for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the death penalty has been introduced before the United Nations General Assembly. Over 70 states [co-sponsor list, XLS] have backed the proposal, which will be voted on by the Assembly next week. The draft resolution states that capital punishment "undermines human dignity," that "there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty's deterrent value" and that "any miscarriage or failure of justice in [its] implementation is irreversible and irreparable." Two previous attempts to abolish the death penalty failed to win a majority in the 192-member assembly. This time, however, the resolution calls for a suspension, rather than a complete abolition, of capital punishment. BBC News has more.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed support [JURIST report] for the international trend towards abolishing the death penalty earlier this year. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has also championed the cause [JURIST report] in recent months, calling on all countries in late September to institute a moratorium on capital punishment. Prodi has noted that support for the resolution has gained ground in Europe, despite a recent decision by Poland to reject plans [CNSNews report] for a European Union "day against the death penalty" [press release; JURIST report]. Some 88 countries ban capital punishment [Amnesty International list], while 69 still use it. Six countries – China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the United States – account for approximately 90 percent of all executions.