Thanks to the essential contributions of the Council of Europe, the death penalty is on the verge of total abolition in Europe. Nevertheless, discussion on the topic flares up from time to time. Moreover, capital punishment is still being applied in Belarus and remains on the books in the Russian Federation. In the Americas, not only the United States but also a number of Caribbean and American states still retain the death penalty, although executions are largely abstained from, except in the United States. For decades, the CoE and OAS have been working to create international instruments in order to support abolition, and some promising goals have been achieved. In addition, the human rights courts that form part of these organisations have developed an extensive body of jurisprudence on the matter. Although both relevant Conventions provide for the death penalty as an exception to the right to life, there is growing support for the point of view that intentional state killings cannot be compatible with the right to life and thus that the death penalty is an inhuman punishment. Therefore, the present paper examines the differences and similarities between the European and Inter-American human rights systems, with regard to the death penalty and the right to life in terms of the underlying legal framework and the relevant jurisdiction of the competent institutions. Furthermore, the current situation of capital punishment in selected countries, especially in relation to the activities of the OAS and CoE, is depicted. The interaction between the diverse factors that influence death penalty politics is shown as well.