Of the 54 independent states in Africa that are UN members:

  • 14 (26%) maintain the death penalty in both law and practice.
  • 16 (30%) have abolished it.
  • 0 (0%) retain it for crimes committed in exceptional circumstances (such as in time of war).
  • 24 (44%) permit its use for ordinary crimes, but have not used it for at least 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions, or it is under a moratorium.

Of the two African limited recognition states not included in the above numbers – Somaliland maintains the death penalty in law and practice and Sahrawi Rep has abolished it.

The information above is accurate as of 2011 when Gabon announced the abolition of capital punishment.

  • In 2011 Sudan was Africa`s leading executioner. There have been recent moves toward abolitionism with 4 states prohibiting the death penalty in the last few years Rwanda (2007), Burundi (2009), Togo (2009), and Gabon (2010). Following the Jasmine Revolution of 2011 Tunisia is moving towards abolition.

Executions in Africa in 2010: Libya (18+), Somalia (8+), Sudan (6+), Egypt (4), Equatorial Guinea (4), Botswana (1)
Executions in Africa in 2011: Sudan (7+), Somalia (6), South Sudan (5+), Egypt (1+)


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