IOC President Thomas Bach says the Olympic body does not necessarily condone the political or legal systems in countries it selects to host the games.
In a speech at a sports congress in Denmark, Bach reiterated his position that the International Olympic Committee must remain "politically neutral" but also consider the political implications in choosing host cities.
He says "choosing a host city does not mean that the IOC necessarily agrees with the political and/or the legal system in the host country."
The IOC has been criticized by human rights groups for sending the games to China and Russia. Later this year, the IOC will choose between Beijing and the Kazakh city of Almaty to host the 2022 Winter Games.
Bach also says "it does not mean that we agree with the death penalty."