11 October 2005 :Europe's leading human rights watchdog pleaded with the United States and Japan to end capital punishment, arguing their example would force others to follow. In the 46 member states of the Council of Europe, there had not been an execution since 1997 and the group's Secretary General Terry Davis said he wanted to institute an ever-bigger "death penalty-free" zone outside the continent too. Davis used the World Day Against the Death Penalty to press Japan and the US to abolish the death penalty.
"What is at stake is the most fundamental right to life and human dignity, and this is well worth a temporary drop of a few points in opinion polls," he said in a statement.
"If the United States of America and Japan, as two leading democracies in the world, would abolish the death penalty, others would follow," he added.