[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jul 12 23:51:10 CDT 2007
Chiefs Against Death Penalty
CHIEFS are against the death sentence and have called on Government to
impose life sentences on all murderers while families of the murderers
should pay restitution to appease families of the bereaved and avoid
avenging spirits (ngozi).
The chiefs were also in agreement that anyone hired to hang another
person, even a murderer, attracts ngozi from that person. It was therefore
unfair to spread the ngozi to many families. The chiefs were responding to
Zimbabwe Association of Crime Rehabilitation Organisation which sought the
opinion of the chiefs on capital punishment at a seminar in Harare
Zacro is on a crusade campaigning against the death penalty arguing that
the death penalty is not African and was imposed by the colonial
governments as a political weapon to intimidate and eliminate nationalists
during the first and second Chimurenga.
The organisation also feels the death penalty is legalised murder and is
not consistent with human rights. Chief Enos Masakwa Musarurwa said that
African tradition does not allow anyone to spill blood.
"If anyone kills it is African tradition that the person or his family
pays restitution to appease the family of the victim.
"The payment is usually in the form of cattle," he said.
He said after all the African rituals are performed it is then that the
cause of legal justice should prevail.
"But again the murderer should not be murdered. He or she should receive a
life sentence and wait for the hand of God to take him," he said.
President of the Chiefs' Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira said there was
no tribe in Zimbabwe that uses capital punishment.
He said the only remedy that has existed in the Shona culture is the
payment of cattle to the family of the murdered.
Chief Chimombe felt the topic was very sensitive and required that the
chiefs go back and consult their subjects and other chiefs back home.
One of the chiefs had the house in stitches when he said those in favour
of capital punishment were possessed by ngozi.
A chief from Rushinga said in his area, families with relatives who were
murdered in 1680 were recently paid restitution after the spirits of the
dead had wrecked havoc.
However, Chief Naboth Makoni felt differently. He argued that murderers
should be hanged to deter any would-be murderers from committing the
He said removing the capital punishment was tantamount to encouraging the
Debate on the matter was deferred to the annual chiefs' conference
scheduled for September this year.
(source: The Herald)
Rwanda's Senate Votes to Abolish Death Penalty
Rwanda's senate has unanimously voted to abolish the death penalty. This
follows Rwandan cabinet approval at the beginning of the year of the bill
put forward by President Paul Kagame. Abolishing the death penalty was one
of the preconditions specified by the international community before it
transfers genocide suspects to the Rwandan judiciary. It is estimated that
about 800 Rwandans on death row would have their sentences commuted to
life imprisonment. Government sources say the new law would be promulgated
as the death penalty is officially abolished by the end of July.
>From the capital Kigali, Rwandas Minister for Justice Tharcisse Karugarama
tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that the new law would
be operational by the end of this month.
"The senate voted unanimously to abolish the death penalty from the
statutes of Rwanda. This is a process that has taken approximately eight
months of debates and consultations across the country. The draft law went
through the lower chamber of parliament yesterday was towards the end of
the entire process. What remains now is for the law to be signed, and then
it would be sent for publication in the government gazette. The date of
its publication will be the date when it will become operational. That
should happen perhaps I should say before the end of the month," he said.
He said Rwandans agree that the death penalty has no place in view of the
"For ordinary Rwandans who were involved in the debate that proceeded the
drafting of the law itself and the debate that went into parliament and
into the senate, there were consultations across the country. There was
what you can call a 100% unanimity over the abolition. But there was in
general terms a general consensus that the death penalty has no place in
Rwanda. That Rwandans have lost so many lives, that human life in Rwanda
had lost value, and that it was time to restore the dignity of the human
life in this country, especially, given its sad history, especially in
regard to the genocide," he pointed out.
Karugarama said he is sure the president would be a happy man concerning
the lives that would be spared with the promulgation of the new law.
"I think President Kagame was part of then process that moved this process
forward, from the very inception of the idea to abolish the death penalty,
he was part and parcel of the process. In the consultations in cabinet,
these are meetings he chaired I would imagine that he would be happy to
sign into law. You can imagine we have had being close to 800 people on
the death role in the country so I think the president would be saved from
exercising a sad duty of signing death sentences, " Karugarama said.
(source: Voice of America News)
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