Capital Punishment and International Law

  • Matthew Christopher Kolasa (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


Some have argued there is an emerging norm of international law against capital punishment. While the European Union, Canada, and other countries have banned the death penalty, a diverse group of countries maintain the practice. These include India, the world's largest democracy, China, the world's second largest economy and most populous, and Japan, the third largest economy and a highly developed country. The largest and most influential country in international law has traditionally been the United States, where capital punishment is allowed under state law in 28 states and for certain federal crimes in 50 states. While the number of countries allowing capital punishment has declined, the trend has not been uniform. Turkey, with its application for EU membership stalled, may reinstate the death penalty despite having no executions since 1984 and banning the practice formally in 2004. This paper suggests under customary international law, the international community is far from a consensus on capital punishment on a global scale. This is in tension with a growing movement in international law and several procedural and conflict of laws issues, as several cases demonstrate. The debate has also raised issues regarding what constitutes customary international law and who decides its boundaries.
Period24 Sept 2020
Event titleInternational Studies Association West Annual Conference 2020
Event typeConference
LocationPasadena, United States, CaliforniaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • International Law
  • Criminal Jusice
  • Judiciary
  • Law & Norms