Definition of death penalty
death penalty (uncountable)
- (law) A punishment in which the person who committed the offence is put to death by the state.
Capital punishment or the death penalty, is the execution of a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offense. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from Latin capitalis, literally "regarding the head" (Latin caput). Hence, a capital crime was originally one punished by the severing of the head.
Capital punishment has been practiced in virtually every society, and thus can be considered to be a cultural universal or close to it, excluding those with state religious proscriptions against it. It is a matter of active controversy in various countries and states, and positions can vary within a single political ideology or cultural region. In the EU member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment.
Today, most countries are considered by Amnesty International as abolitionists, which allowed a vote on a nonbinding resolution to the UN to promote the abolition of the death penalty. But more than 60% of the worldwide population live in countries where executions take place insofar as the four most populous countries in the world (the People's Republic of China, India, United States and Indonesia) apply the death penalty and are unlikely to abolish it at any time soon.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.