At least 682 people were executed in 21 countries in 2012. In 2011, there was a reported 680 executions in 21 countries worldwide. Most executions took place in China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen – in that order.
During 2012, 21 countries, about one in 10, carried out executions – the same number as in 2011, but down by a quarter from a decade ago (28 countries executed in 2003).
140 countries worldwide, more than two-thirds, are abolitionist in law or practice.
On 20 December, 111 member states of the United Nations voted in favour of the fourth UN General Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Commutations or pardons of death sentences were recorded in 27 countries in 2012 - down from 33 in 2011.
At least 1,722 death sentences were imposed in 58 countries – down from 1,923 in 63 countries in 2011. At least 23,286 people were on death row at the end of 2012.
Global trend towards abolition of death penalty in 2012
• The USA is the only country to have carried out executions in the Americas.
• Belarus is the only country to have carried out executions in Europe and Central Asia.
• The USA and Belarus were the only two of the 56 member states of the Organisation for Security and cooperation in Europe to have carried out executions.
• Five of the 54 member states of the African Union were known to have carried out judicial executions: Botswana, Gambia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Thirty-seven member states are abolitionist in law or practise.
• Seven of 214 member states of the League of Arab States carried out confirmed executions. Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, UAE and Yemen. There were reports of executions in Syria but it was not possible to verify them.
• No executions were recorded in the 10 member states of the Associations of Southeast Asian Nations.
• Five of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth were known to have carried out executions: Bangladesh, Botswana, Gambia, India and Pakistan.
• Japan and the USA were the only countries in the G8 to have carried out executions.
• 174 of the 193 member states of the United Nations were execution-free in 2012.