Against the Death Penalty: International Initiatives and Implications, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Against the Death Penalty

International Initiatives and Implications, 1st Edition

Edited by Jon Yorke


334 pages

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This edited volume brings together leading scholars on the death penalty within international, regional and municipal law. It considers the intrinsic elements of both the promotion and demise of the punishment around the world, and provides analysis which contributes to the evolving abolitionist discourse. The contributors consider the current developments within the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the African Commission and the Commonwealth Caribbean, and engage with the emergence of regional norms promoting collective restriction and renunciation of the punishment. They investigate perspectives and questions for retentionist countries, focusing on the United States, China, Korea and Taiwan, and reveal the iniquities of contemporary capital judicial systems. Emphasis is placed on the issues of transparency of municipal jurisdictions, the jurisprudence on the 'death row phenomenon' and the changing nature of public opinion. The volume surveys and critiques the arguments used to scrutinize the death penalty to then offer a detailed analysis of possible replacement sanctions.


'With cool scholarship and passionate moral commitment, this book convincingly signposts the steady world-wide progress towards abolition and the elimination of the need perceived by states to show their authority by killing their citizens.' Justice Albie Sachs, Constitutional Court of South Africa 'The appearance of this book is something of a landmark in the evolution of the movement it documents. The scope of this collection reflects the extraordinary degree to which the abolition of the death penalty has become a human rights movement of global proportions. All this happened quickly. Since 1980, the movement to restrict state execution was first expanded from national prerogative to regional minimum standard of civilized governance. The success of this movement in Europe has only intensified the effort to banish executions worldwide. Many leading figures in this global movement contribute to this volume, but the topics and authors in these pages go well beyond rounding up the usual suspects. All who contribute to this book live on a planet that is already much too small to tolerate state killings in any of its provinces.' Professor Franklin E. Zimring, University of California, Berkeley Co-author of The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia 'Against the Death Penalty: International Initiatives and Implications makes a positive contribution to the literature on the death penalty…[this] book reminds us that the fight to eliminate capital punishment in the United States cannot be properly understood without awareness of how other regions of the world or individual nations treat the death penalty.' The Law and Politics Book Review 'Jon Yorke's book, Against the Death Penalty is an edited collection of a number of very thoughtful contributions to the capital punishment debate, nationally and internationally.' Criminal Law Forum

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction, Roger Hood; Part I Regional Conspectus and Analysis: The United Nations and abolition of the death penalty, William A. Schabas; The evolving human rights discourse of the Council of Europe: renouncing the sovereign right of the death penalty, Jon Yorke; Taking the death penalty debate further: the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, Lilian Chenwi; Challenging the death penalty in the Caribbean: litigation at the Privy Council, Quincy Whitaker. Part II Perspectives and Questions for Retentionist Countries: Constraining America's death penalty: the 8th Amendment and excessive punishment, Julian Killingley; Walking the 8th Amendment tightrope: 'time served' in the United States Supreme Court, Jane Marriott; A crisis of confidence: Americans' doubts about the death penalty, Richard C. Dieter; The death penalty in China: towards the rule of law, Nicola Macbean; The abolitionist movement in death penalty-friendly Asia: the cases of South Korea and Taiwan, Sangmin Bae. Part III Overview of Abolition Strategies and Alternatives to the Death Penalty: Capital punishment: a review and critique of abolition strategies, Peter Hodgkinson, Seema Kandelia and Lina Gyllensten; A fate worse than death? The problems with life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty, Rachael Stokes; Index.

About the Editor

Jon Yorke, Senior Lecturer in Law, BCU School of Law, Birmingham City University, UK

About the Series

Law, Justice and Power

Law, Justice and Power
To speak about law is always and necessarily to be engaged in a discourse about both justice and power. While law's relationship to justice is everywhere contingent and uncertain, law completely divorced from power is unthinkable. And, while law need not be virtuous to be law, if it had no effect in the world it could hardly be said to merit the name law. Recognizing these facts, the series on Law, Justice and Power takes a broad view of legal scholarship.It publishes books by social scientists, humanists and legal academics which connect an understanding of culture's normative ideals with examination of the complex ways that law works in the world, insist that justice is inseparable from social practices and analyze law as one form of power, one way of constituting, controlling and changing the social world. It focuses on state law as well as law in communities and cultural practices and on identities and their articulation in and through law, on law's power in the taken-for-granted world, on its role in the complex construction of nation and national power and on global developments which today destabilize and transform the meaning and significance of law. The series invites innovative scholarship that crosses disciplinary as well as geographic and temporal boundaries.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International