government: constitutional monarchy
state of civil and political rights: Partly free
constitution: 11 November 1962
legal system: mixed legal system consisting of English common law, French civil law, and Islamic religious law, incorporates elements of Islamic law concerning rights of the person
legislative system: Unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-umma)
judicial system: Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges); Supreme Court or Court of Cassation (organized into several circuits, each with 5 judges) High Court of Appeal
religion: 85% Muslim; 15% Christian
death row: 11 (Source: Amnesty International, end of 2015)
year of last executions: 1-4-2013
death sentences: 11
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
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) (only signed)
The death penalty is provided for by laws based on the Sharia.
Capital crimes include murder, rape and crimes against the security.
Since 1995 the death penalty has been a mandatory punishment for certain drug-related offences.
Death sentences, which are normally carried out by hanging, can be appealed twice and must receive the final approval of the Emir of the State of Kuwait.
Kuwait has executed a total of 74 men and three foreign women since it introduced the death penalty in 1964. Most of those condemned have been convicted murderers or drug traffickers.
In 2014 and in 2015, there were no executions in Kuwait where 5 people were put to death in 2013 (four for murder and one for abduction and rape) in the first executions of the Gulf State since May 2007. According to Public Attorney Mohammad al-Duaij, another 46 people were on death row awaiting a final decision on their sentences by the Emir.
The previous execution was carried out in May 2007, when Kuwait hanged Khan Anwar Islam, a Pakistani national convicted of drug trafficking.
In 2015, at least 14 death sentences were imposed for murder, including 7 for acts of terrorism. At least 11 people were under sentence of death at the end of the year, according to Amnesty International.
Although the death penalty is permitted under the Islamic Sharia, it is restricted to cases involving capital crimes and is subject to numerous checks and controls, including the consent by the victim’s family and final approval by the country’s Amir.
On 28 January 2015, Kuwait was reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. In its National Report, the Government said that although the death penalty was permitted under the Islamic Sharia, it was restricted to cases involving capital crimes and was subject to numerous checks and controls, including the approval by the country’s Emir. The Government informed that, during the period 2007-2013, the death penalty was enforced only in six cases (four cases involving criminal acts of murder, one case involving the smuggling of drugs for purposes of trafficking therein, and one case involving abduction and rape) and, during the same period, the Emir issued three decrees under the terms of which the death sentences passed on 16 persons were commuted to life imprisonment.
On 19 December 2016, Kuwait voted against the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.