The Death Penalty in the Middle East and North Africa

04-12-2012

The abolition of capital punishment is a key objective for the European Union’s human rights policy. While a handful of countries in the region no longer apply capital punishment, all retain the death penalty on their books. None of the MENA Countries has signed the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which aims to abolish the death penalty. In most countries in the MENA region, the legal system is mainly based primarily on Shari'a. Unsurprisingly, Israel's legal system has different sources. In criminal law determined by Shari'a, most crimes classified as Hudud are punishable by death, because they represent a threat for Islam. In 2012, Iran confirmed its lead position in the region with two executions per day. Despite its international obligations, Iran continues to execute juvenile prisoners. Iraq executed more than 62 people In 2011, and more than 102 in the first nine months of 2012. The number of executions per capita in Gaza is the highest in the region. Apostasy and sorcery are among the crimes punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, more than 29 people have been executed in 2012. The UN launched three moratoria on the use of the death penalty between 2007 and 2011. The European Union's campaign against capital punishment aims at persuading its partner countries to abolish death penalty, through political dialogue. In the 2007-2010 period, the EU allocated EUR 8 million to 21 projects worldwide, 4 of which were in the MENA region. The indicative budget for 2011-2013 is EUR 7 million.

The abolition of capital punishment is a key objective for the European Union’s human rights policy. While a handful of countries in the region no longer apply capital punishment, all retain the death penalty on their books. None of the MENA Countries has signed the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which aims to abolish the death penalty. In most countries in the MENA region, the legal system is mainly based primarily on Shari'a. Unsurprisingly, Israel's legal system has different sources. In criminal law determined by Shari'a, most crimes classified as Hudud are punishable by death, because they represent a threat for Islam. In 2012, Iran confirmed its lead position in the region with two executions per day. Despite its international obligations, Iran continues to execute juvenile prisoners. Iraq executed more than 62 people In 2011, and more than 102 in the first nine months of 2012. The number of executions per capita in Gaza is the highest in the region. Apostasy and sorcery are among the crimes punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. In Yemen, more than 29 people have been executed in 2012. The UN launched three moratoria on the use of the death penalty between 2007 and 2011. The European Union's campaign against capital punishment aims at persuading its partner countries to abolish death penalty, through political dialogue. In the 2007-2010 period, the EU allocated EUR 8 million to 21 projects worldwide, 4 of which were in the MENA region. The indicative budget for 2011-2013 is EUR 7 million.