Russia's Constitutional Court is set to meet on Tuesday to decide whether to overturn the country's moratorium on the death penalty.
The issue was raised last week by the Supreme Court, and could overturn a 10-year ban on judicial killings.
When the moratorium was first announced it was to remain in place until every region and republic of the Russian Federation adopted trial by jury. On January 1, 2010, Chechnya is set to become the final republic to use juries in courts, paving the way for a potential return of the death penalty.
Russia first undertook to scrap capital punishment in 1997 when it signed up to protocol six of the European Convention on Human Rights, but has still not ratified that decision.