ZIMBABWE: DRAFT CONSTITUTION KILLS DEATH PENALTY BUT ONLY FOR WOMEN
July 19, 2012: in Zimbabwe, the Select Committee of Parliament on the New Constitution (COPAC), that was established in April 2009 to spearhead the Constitution-making process in the country, announced that the new draft constitution was complete and signed by all the party negotiators to the 2007 Global Political Agreement (i.e. the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the two Movement for Democratic Change formations) and members of COPAC's management committee.
Zimbabweâ€™s new draft constitution has abolished the death sentence for women and those under the age of 21 and above 70 years, but rights groups pushing for the total removal of the death penalty say it does not go far enough.
â€śEvery person has the right to life,â€ť is written in Article 4.5 of the new Charter. However, â€śA law may permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances,â€ť Article 4.5 adds. â€śThe penalty must not be imposed on a person who was less than twenty-one years old when the offence was committed; or who is more than seventy years old; the penalty must not be imposed or carried out on a woman,â€ť the draft says. â€śThe law must permit the court a discretion whether or not to impose the penalty.â€ť
The Charter, to replace the current constitution that has been amended 19 times, will be presented before an All-Stakeholders Conference in the next few weeks before going for a national referendum. (Sources: allafrica.com, 19/07/2012)