As of 2012, 97 countries had entirely abolished the death penalty, including the members of the European Union. Some other countries retained capital punishment only for treason and war crimes, while in several dozen others, death remained a penalty at law, though in practice there had not been any executions for decades. Among countries that retained the death penalty for ordinary crimes were many in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. China and Iran were believed to impose capital punishment most frequently.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.