Capital punishment refers to death sentences that are accorded to individual offenders by judicial institutions. The sentence has raised controversies especially due to the fact that innocent individuals may be victims of such sentences in inefficient judicial processes. Political influence has also been raising controversies over the sentence.
This paper seeks to discuss the political view of capital punishment. The paper will look into political parties’ views over the punishment, its related policies in different countries and related forces towards its abolition.
Trend in abolition of the Death Penalty
Death penalty can be viewed as a traditional exercise in many territorial jurisdictions as it was widely practiced in many countries. The move for its abolition however started in the nineteenth century with Venezuela in the year 1863. The abolition trend was then spread to other countries across the globe even though it started slowly with a gradual growth.
Costa Rica and San Marino joined Venezuela in the nineteenth century to the abolition with only a few more countries in the first half of the twentieth century. By the end of the first half of the twentieth century, only about ten countries had abolished the penalty. The trend however picked up in the second half of the century (Neumayer, 2007).
Political Perspective of Capital Punishment
Though a number of factors may be attributed to the abolition of Capital punishment by a number of countries, political factors have played a significant role in the trend. This is because quiet a number of the abolitions have been associated with democratic developments in political systems of the countries that have abolished the penalties.
This argument is consistent with the fact that all countries that still practices the penalties, in high numbers, apart from the United States are still under dictatorships. Most of the countries that realized transitions into the abolition also did so following political transformations into democracies.
Such political impacts have also been associated with alignments in political views. Conservatives and liberals are for example associated with varying views regarding the abolition of the considered harsh penalty along political lines. These views are for instance significant in both politician and even the electorate (Neumayer, 2007).
The conservatives are for example identified with the opinion that capital penalty establishes responsibility of the offenders over their crimes. They hold the opinion that the practice is moral as it has a biblical basis. They also believe that by having the penalty, a significant accountability for crimes by individuals will be held and others will be deterred from committing such crimes.
The liberals on the other hand are opposed to the capital penalty which they identify to be harsh to human life. They hold the opinion that the approach is not effective in curbing crimes besides putting innocent lives at risk (American, 2004).
Conservatives have in the United States been strongly opposed to the abolition of capital penalty (DPIC, 2010). These divisions have also been realized among countries following their alignment along liberals and conservatives views. China for instance provides an example of imposition of death penalty according to transparency international (Hong, 2008).
Capital punishment has been enlisting different opinions along political lines as countries move to its abolition with time. Though undertaken at national legislative levels by political leaders, the change is being driven by varied factors such as international pressure and democratic movements into movements for human rights preservation.
American. (2004). Issues and allegations: capital punishment. Retrieved on June 21, 2011 from: http://static.newrules.org/voice2004/capitalpunishment/index.html
DPIC. (2010). New voices – conservative voices. Retrieved on June 21, 2011 from: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/new-voices-conservative-voices
Hong, L. (2008). China’s death penalty: reforms on capital punishment. Retrieved on June 21, 2011 from: http://www.eai.nus.edu.sg/BB412.pdf
Neumayer, E. (2007). Death penalty: the political foundations of the global trend towards abolition. Retrieved on June 21, 2011 from: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/geographyAndEnvironment/whosWho/profiles/neumayer/pdf/Deathpenaltyarticle.pdf