state of civil and political rights: Free
constitution: 2 December 1990
legal system: based on French civil law and customary law
legislative system: unicameral National Assembly (Assemblee Nationale)
judicial system: Constitutional Court; Supreme Court; High Court of Justice
religion: Christian 42.8%, Muslim 24.4%, Vodoun 17.3%, other 15.5%
year of last executions: 23-9-1987
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
On 21 February 2018, the government of Benin commuted the death sentence of all the 14 men to life imprisonment. This is after the decision, by the Constitutional Court of Benin, to abolish the death penalty for all crimes in a 2016 after the entry into force of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
In March 2017 a bill was submitted to Parliament for consideration and adoption in, and which included, inter alia, a provision on the abolition of the death penalty, buti t could not be adopted because of the lack of a quorum. The new Criminal Code, which would be adopted in the first quarter of 2018 by Parliament, would formally confirm the abolition of the death penalty in Benin.
On 5 July 2012, Benin became part of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR
The law of ratification was approvaed by the National Assembly with a great majority.
“The Abolitionist of the Year 2014” Award, which is promoted by Hands off Cain to recognize the person, who, above all others, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment in the struggle for a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty, is conferred this year upon Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin.
During the summer of 2014, Benin hosted a panafrican conference to lobby African governments on the vote in favour of the 2014 UNGA Resolution for a Universal Moratorium on capital executions and for the adoption of a Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights for the abolition of the death penalty.
The last reported executions were carried out on 23 September 1987, when two persons were shot after receiving death sentences for ritual murder. The last death sentence was handed down in 2010 to a woman sentenced in absentia for murder.
In November 2017, Benin was revised under its third cycle of Universal Periodic Review. In March 2018, Benin accepted reccommendations on the abolition of the death penalty as documented in the Report of the Working Group on the UPR.
On 19 December 2016, as in 2014 and 2012, Benin co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly. It was absent in 2010.