Capital punishment or Death penalty is a legal process by which a person is killed by the state as punishment for a crime committed. The ruling condemning someone to death is called death sentence, while the process that leads to death is called execution. Crimes that can result in the death penalty are called capital crimes. The word capital comes from the term Latin capitalism, meaning “referring to the head”.
Historically, the penalty is used in cases of murder, espionage, rape, adultery, homosexuality, political corruption (apostasy), and / or - do not follow the official religion in countries theocratic. It is abolished in almost all countries in Europe and Oceania. In North America, it was abolished in Canada and Mexico and in some states in the United States. In South America, Brazil, Chile and Peru maintains the legal death penalty in exceptional cases, such as war crimes. The United States, Guatemala and most of the Caribbean, the Asia and Africa still have the penalty Death legalized and use it in several cases. In other countries, however, as Russia has the legal death penalty, but in practices it is not used. The United Nations, during its General Assembly in 2007, also disliked the legality and use of the death penalty, warning countries to become illegal use and if this is not reintroduced. The European Union agreed with the decision and now no country in the bloc adopts the death penalty.
Among the countries with democratic political systems, the United States and Japan are the only ones that effectively apply the death penalty.
In countries like China and Iran and much of the Middle East, the death penalty is applied frequently.
Since 1990 there have been over 40 countries that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. In Africa, Ivory Coast and Liberia; in the Americas, Canada, Mexico and Paraguay; in Asia and the Pacific, Bhutan, Samoa, Turkmenistan and Philippines; in Europe and the Caucasus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Serbia, Turkey, Cyprus and Montenegro.
According to data in 2005, there are 74 countries that retain the death penalty, 28 who have no executions or convictions for over ten years, 9 that maintain the death penalty for exceptional circumstances and 89 that abolished for all crimes.