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Europe is today the only region in
the world where the death penalty is no longer applied. All
the Council of Europe's 47 member states have either
abolished capital punishment or instituted a moratorium on
The Council of Europe played a pioneering role in the battle for abolition, believing that the death penalty has no place in democratic societies.
This determination to eradicate the death penalty was reflected in Protocol No.6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, on the abolition of the death penalty in peacetime, which was adopted in April 1983, following an initiative from the Parliamentary Assembly. In 2002, another important step was taken with the adoption of Protocol No. 13 on the abolition of capital punishment in all circumstances.
The Council has made abolition of the death penalty a prerequisite for membership. As a result, no execution has taken place on the territory of the organisation's member states since 1997. The Parliamentary Assembly continues to monitor the capital punishment issue. It has extended its action to countries enjoying observer status with the Council - this mainly concerns Japan and the United States.