government: Parliamentary democracy
state of civil and political rights: Free
constitution: 1 January 1962
legal system: based on English common law and local customs, judicial review of legislative acts with respect to fundamental rights of the citizen
legislative system: Unicameral Legislative Assembly (Fono)
judicial system: Supreme Court, Court of Appeal
religion: Congregationalist 34.8%, Roman Catholic 19.6%, Methodist 15%, other
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
Samoa commenced formal measures to abolish the death penalty on January 15, 2004 and on January 21, 2004, the Head of State, Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, gave his assent to the removal of the death penalty from the statute books. The abolition bill was introduced in parliament by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and had the support of the leaders of the opposition. It won quick passage.
The last execution in Samoa took place in 1952. Although the death sentence was still delivered by judges, it was always commuted to life imprisonment.
The last time the death penalty was carried out in Samoa - when a man was hanged for axing his wife to death - the country was still under New Zealand control. New Zealand abolished capital punishment in 1961, but when Samoa gained independence in 1962 it retained the former New Zealand law to punish crimes of murder and treason.
On December 18, 2008 Samoa co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.
On December 21st, 2010 Samoa voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly. On December 20, 2012, Samoa co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution. On December 18, 2014, Samoa co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution. On December 17, 2018, Samoa voted in favour of the Resolution, but did not co-sponsored.