Abolish death penalty—committee

Abolish death penalty—committee

The Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has recommended the abolition of the death penalty, saying it serves no purpose.

The committee’s chairperson Peter Dimba said this in Parliament yesterday when he presented a report on the matter following the consultations they carried out across the country.

He said about 99 percent of those consulted supported the abolition of the sentence which has not been executed since the adoption of multiparty democracy in 1994.

Dimba: Law has outlived its purpose

Said Dimba: “The country should be considering removing the archaic and obsolete death penalty law as it had outlived its purpose and does not present any evidence to deter offenders nor grant an opportunity for reformation and rehabilitation of offenders.

“Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice should work to review the statute governing the death penalty in order to abolish the sentence completely from the laws of Malawi.”

He said they took the stand after soliciting views from stakeholders through round table discussions and public inquiries.

Dimba said the committee is convinced that such an amendment “does not require a referendum since the death penalty is not a prescription of the Constitution, but a statute”.

He called on the Ministry of Justice to lead in the process of reviewing relevant provisions of the law to remove the death penalty.

In an earlier interview, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance executive director Victor Mhango supported the removal of the statute, saying its abolition would be right as it remains cruel and against international standards.

Debate on the report has been deferred to a later date allow Parliamentarians scrutinise it before having an input.

The abolition of the penalty has been one long-standing sticky issue that successive governments since 1994 have failed to resolve.

Deliberations in the National Assembly continue this morning with questions, statements, reports and bills lined up.

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