RWANDA TO HOST MEET ON DEATH PENALTY
August 30, 2011: International experts from various countries, including 25 from Africa, will meet in Kigali next month to discuss the elimination of the death penalty.
The two-day conference slated for October 13, will launch a major debate on the need to abolish the death penalty on the African continent.
Rwanda abolished the death penalty in 2008.
The conference is organised by the government in conjunction with "HANDS OFF CAIN", an Italian organisation committed to the fight against the application of the death penalty with support from European Union, African Union and the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, noted that some African countries have scrapped the death penalty, adding that it was imperative to share experiences on how the penalty can be eliminated.
"This is a very important conference, not only for Rwanda, but for other countries as well. Rwanda has benefited from abolishing the death penalty and we want to share those benefits with other countries," Karugarama said.
"It's a joint effort between our government and these bodies to create a climate for sound and intellectual debate on this issue".
All AU Member States are parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which came into force on October 21st 1986, and for many in Africa, the death penalty is regarded as a violation of Article 5 of the Charter, especially regarding the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and treatment.
Article 5 of the charter stipulates: "Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited". (Sources: allafrica.com, 30/08/2011)