History of the Death Penalty Its Impacts on Human Rights and Its Approach in US China and Canada
This form of punishment was common in ancient times and was used to punish a large variety of offenses. It is, however, not that common today and only practiced in 56 countries, among them being China and the U. S. (CNN). In Canada, it was practiced until 1976 when it was abolished. The death penalty was also included the Hittite Code in the 14th Century B. C. , the Draconian Code of Athens in the 7th B. C. century and the Roman Law of the Twelve Tables in the 5th century B. The law was, however, softened seven years later from fear that no one would want to settle in Virginia. The death penalty laws varied from colony to colony. In Massachusetts Bay Colony, its first execution was in 1630, while the New York Colony instituted the Duke's Laws in 1665.
Other colonies like Pennsylvania made first-degree murder the only offenses while Michigan abolished the death penalty for all crimes but treason. In 1972, the U. This shift is perhaps due to the large numbers of death row inmates that are being exonerated. Between 1973 and December 2014. One hundred fifty innocent people have been exonerated from death row. This number just seeks to show the faults that exist in the current justice system. Despite this move towards the abolition of the death penalty, the U. In the Warring State Period (475-221 BCE), under the Punishment of Lu Xing, there were 200 capital offenses. The number continued growing with 233 capital offenses during the Tang code (654 CE) and 293 offenses during the song dynasty (960-1279) (Hong Lu. and Terance Miethe, 12).
There was a brief time (618-907) when the death penalty was abolished by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. The punishment was replaced by severe scourging with a thick rod or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. It was not until 1976 that the death penalty was abolished in the Canadian Criminal Code and was replaced with a life sentence without possible parole for 25 years. The law was not, however, abolished in the Canadian National Defence Act until 1998. This abolishment of the death penalty was brought by socio-economic changes Today, there have been controversial debates on whether capital punishment should be reinstated. Supporters of the death penalty say that it will reduce homicide. However, there is no evidence that shows that the homicide rate is affected by either abolition or re-introduction of capital punishment.
The state of waiting and not knowing is also tortured. These two rights are protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted in 1948 by the U. N (Amnesty International). In addition to the violation of human rights, the death process is often applied in a discriminatory manner without due processes. Many of these trials are conducted unfairly and in clear violation of international law and standards. It also works to strengthen international and national standards against the use of the death penalty. Moreover, it monitors the use of the death penalty and holds to account governments that use inhumane and cruel punishment. The organization publishes an annual report analyzing trends and reporting figures from different countries on the issue.
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