《经济学人》:各国逐渐放弃死刑
日期:2011-10-19 09:40

(单词翻译:单击)

Dying out
渐失其势

Little by little, countries are ditching the death penalty
各国逐渐放弃死刑

On September 19th Abdul Hamid al-Fakki, a Sudanese, was executed in Saudi Arabia for the crime of “sorcery”. On September 21st Troy Davis, a black man convicted of shooting an off-duty white policeman, was executed in the American state of Georgia. Protests that the evidence against him was flawed proved fruitless.

9月19日,苏丹人阿布杜尔·哈米德·阿尔法基在沙特被以“巫术”罪处以死刑。9月21日,黑人特洛伊·达维斯因枪杀一名下班后的白人警察,在美国佐治亚州被处决。此前,曾有人抗议称证据有瑕疵,但未起到作用。

Despite these cases the death penalty, on the statute books since the days of Hammurabi, is disappearing in much of the world. More than two-thirds of countries have done away with it either in law or in practice. The latest is Benin. In August the west African country committed itself to abolishing capital punishment permanently. The number of countries that carry out judicial killings fell from 41 in 1995 to 23 in 2010, according to Amnesty International, a pressure group. China (chiefly), Iran, North Korea, and Yemen accounted for most of the executions. Votes against the death penalty at the UN General Assembly have passed with big and growing majorities since 2007. Capital punishment has virtually gone in Europe (only Belarus still uses it, most recently in 2010). This year China whittled down its list of crimes punishable by death.

尽管出现了这些死刑案例,但这种自汉谟拉比法典即明令在册的刑罚在世界大多数国家都已消失。三分之二以上的国家在法律上或实践中废除了死刑。最新废除死刑的国家是西非国家贝宁。今年8月,贝宁宣布永久废除死刑。根据压力集团“大赦国际”的统计,仍在执行这种法律杀戮的国家从1995年的41个减为2010年的23个。中国(占大部分)、伊朗、朝鲜和也门执行了绝大多数死刑。自2007年以来,每年联大都以绝对且不断增加的多数票通过决议,要求废除死刑。欧洲实际上已经废除了死刑(只有白俄罗斯还保留,最近于2010年执行过)。今年,中国削减了适用死刑的罪名。

Yet for all the apparent momentum, capital punishment remains entrenched in the Middle East and north Africa, and in parts of Asia, notably China. Jacqueline Macalesher of Penal Reform International, a lobby group, thinks the Arab spring could be a new spur to abolition, though she worries that executing political enemies may prove attractive in the short run.

尽管废死刑的势头很强,但中东、北非与亚洲部分地区仍坚持不愿放弃之。游说组织“刑法改革国际”的杰奎琳·马卡莱舍尔认为,阿拉伯之春可能成为废除死刑的新动力,但她也担心,在短时间内,处决政治对手也可能颇有吸引力。

The other big exception is America, where two-thirds of states still have the death penalty. A leading Republican candidate for the presidency, Rick Perry, is governor of Texas, the state that uses it most. The state has carried out a record 236 executions in his nearly 11 years as governor. Mr Perry says he loses no sleep over it, and many voters feel the same.

美国是另一个例外的主要国家,其三分之二的州仍有死刑。共和党重量级总统候选人里克·佩里是德克萨斯州州长,该州死刑案例最多,在佩里任州长的近11年内共执行了创纪录的236例死刑。佩里表示,他对此并不担心,许多选民也持同样看法。

But the abolitionist trend seems inexorable. In March Illinois became the fourth state in four years to scrap the death penalty. Maryland, Connecticut and California may follow suit. Squeezed state budgets are eroding enthusiasm. The cost of fighting protracted legal battles and maintaining separate facilities for those condemned to death looks increasingly unaffordable when schools and libraries are being closed. California alone has more than 700 people on death row.

但废除死刑的趋势看起来不可阻挡。3月,伊利诺伊州成为四年内第四个废除死刑的州。马里兰、康乃狄克与加利福尼亚也可能跟进。地方财政紧缩影响到各州坚持死刑的意愿。目前,因财政紧张,学校与图书馆纷纷关闭。在这种情况下,冗长的诉讼过程以及单独关押被判死刑者所耗费用不赀,显得越来越难以负担。仅加利福尼亚一州,就有700名被判死刑而未决者。

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a pressure group that espouses abolition, ascribes increasing unhappiness over the death penalty to a long-term growth in sensitivity to human rights. A growing number mind that the death penalty in America falls disproportionately on blacks and poor people. The chance that innocent folk may be executed counts for more, with many, than the deterrent effect of capital punishment (itself questioned by academic studies). Gruesome details about the mechanics of executions also stoke public disquiet.

支持废除死刑的压力集团“平等司法倡议”创始人拜延·斯蒂文斯表示,长期以来人们对人权的关注度不断增加,因而对死刑的容忍度日趋下降。越来越多的人认为,在美国获死刑者中,黑人与穷人比例过高。许多人对无辜者被错杀的关切也超过了对死刑威慑作用(研究结果对此提出置疑)的认可。执行死刑过程中可怕的细节也增加了公众的不安感。

Pressure to get into international clubs has also propelled abolition. The Council of Europe, a Strasbourg-based talking shop that requires members to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights, has made the death penalty a bar to membership. That (plus other things such as election rigging) has left Belarus’s application with rigor mortis.

融入国际社会的压力也促进了有关国家废除死刑。设在斯特拉斯堡的清谈组织欧洲委员会要求其成员国加入“欧洲人权公约”,死刑遂成为加入该委员会的障碍。这(以及操纵选举等其它情形)令白俄罗斯加入该委员会的申请决无生机。

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重点单词
  • exceptionn. 除外,例外,[律]异议,反对
  • momentumn. 动力,要素,势头,(物理)动量
  • committedadj. 献身于某种事业的,委托的
  • accedevi. 同意,就职,加入
  • stokevi. 添加燃料 vt. 给(炉子)添燃料,烧(火) 大
  • academicadj. 学术的,学院的,理论的 n. 大学教师,
  • legaladj. 法律的,合法的,法定的
  • enthusiasmn. 热情,热心;热衷的事物
  • disquietvt. 使不安,使担心 n. 担心,焦虑
  • scrapn. 碎片,废品 vt. 舍弃,报废 vi. 打架