GREECE - Abolitionist
Government: parliamentary republic
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 11 June 1975; amended March 1986 and April 2001
Legal System: based on Roman law
Legislative System: unicameral Parliament (Vouli ton Ellinon)
Judicial System: Supreme Judicial Court; Special Supreme Tribunal; all judges appointed for life by the president after consultation with a judicial council
Religion: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7% minorities
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- 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
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
Greece abolished the death penalty as a punishment applicable to offences defined in the Greek Penal Code in 1993. However, the death penalty continued to be provided for a number of offences under the Greek Military Penal Code.
In 1997 a new Military Penal Code was introduced which restricted the death penalty to the most serious crimes in time of war. The same year, when ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Greece made a reservation allowing for "application of the death penalty in time of war pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime of a military nature committed during wartime".
In January 2001 the Greek Parliament approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting the death penalty in peacetime, and in April 2001 a revised Constitution was adopted, including this amendment, which states: "The death penalty may not be imposed, except in cases which are prescribed by law for felonies which are committed in time of war and are connected with it".
On February 1, 2005, Ambassador Constantin Yerocostopulos, Permanent Representative of Greece to the Council of Europe, transmitted to Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the instruments of ratification of the Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances (entry into force: 01.06.2005).
The last execution in Greece was carried out in 1972.
On December 19, 2016, as in previous years, Greece co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.