The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) presented a report on the death penalty in the OSCE region on 28 September on the margins of the annual OSCE human rights conference in Warsaw.
The report notes that 50 out of the 56 OSCE participating States have completely abolished the death penalty.
Latvia abolished capital punishment for crimes committed in peacetime but retains it for wartime crimes. Three participating States - Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan – are de facto abolitionist, retaining the death penalty but not carrying out executions.
Belarus and the United States are the only countries in the OSCE area carrying out executions.
During the reporting period, 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, Illinois abolished the death penalty, becoming the 17th jurisdiction in the US to take this step. Kyrgyzstan acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty.
OSCE documents do not require participating States to abolish capital punishment. However, participating States have committed themselves to using the death penalty as punishment only for the most serious crimes and in a manner not contrary to their international commitments, as well as to keeping the elimination of capital punishment under consideration.