In Good Company?

A report from the of the Secretary-General to Economic and Social Council lists the number of executions by country during 1999-2003 (5 leading countries in bold). While the report states that the number of executions are on the decline, you'll notice that the U.S. is still in the top five.

Afghanistan 78
Belarus 37-52
China 6,687
Dem. Rep. Congo 350

Egypt 59+
Iran 604+
Japan 13
Jordan 52+
Nigeria 4
Pakistan 48+
Saudi Arabia 403+
Singapore 138
Sudan 53+
Taiwan 67
Tajikistan 35+
Thailand 43
Uganda 33
USA 385
Uzbekistan 35+
Viet Nam 128+
Yemen 144+
Zimbabwe 3

Source: Death Penalty Information Center at, citing (Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, Report of the Secretary-General to Economic and Social Council, E/2005/3, Session July 29, 2005).


  1. What do the pluses next to the numbers mean?

  2. WTF? USA not #1??! We need to come back strong on the death penalty or we will send the wrong message to the terrorists! But all hope is not lost - we do have a secret weapon in this struggle for global dominance - civilians in Iraq.

    If we can get even partial credit for each civilian we have killed, say each one is the equivalent of one-fifth of the value of an American (or one-fourth, due to depreciation), our numbers will improve and put us back in the black!!

    Go USA!

  3. It would be interesting to normalize these numbers for population.

    Just the values say very little on their own.

  4. I think the pluses mean "at least" that many, or "more than" that number.

    As for population size, you're absolutely right. For example, China has a considerably larger population.

    If you find data that accounts for populations, please send it to me and I'll be happy to post it.