DEATH PENALTY: HANDS OFF CAIN ANNOUNCES ABOLITION IN GABON
|Addis Abeba January 27, 2011: Elisabetta Zamparutti and Foreign Minister of Gabon Paul Toungui
February 14, 2011: Gabon completely abolished the death penalty in February 2010, the Radical association Hands Off Cain announced. Today, the Justice Minister of Gabon sent Hands Off Cain a copy of the law published in the Official Gazette. It is the first time that a notice of such importance has arrived with such delay, the government had not communicated it to the public or to international organisations.
The news, that Hands off Cain officially confirmed today, was given to a delegation of the radical association, comprising Senate Vice President Emma Bonino and Radical parliamentarian Elisabetta Zamparutti, during a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Gabon Paul Toungui held in Addis Abeba two weeks ago for the recent African Union summit.
Law 3/2010, which abolishes the death penalty in Gabon, was approved by the Parliament in January and promulgated on February 15, 2010, with the signature of the president of the Republic, Ali Bongo Ondimba, Prime Minister Paul Biyogha Mba and Justice Minister Anicette Nanda Oviga.
According to the law, the death penalty is substituted with life imprisonment with the possibility of pardon or amnesty, conditional freedom or alternative means, only after having served at least thirty years of the punishment. The law also abolishes forced labour.
On May 3, 2007, on occasion of the mission conducted by Aldo Ajello in Libreville for the Italian Government, then President of the Republic Omar Bongo Ondimba assembled the Council of Ministers. They decided to adopt the Italian initiative for the universal moratorium on the death penalty and the presentation of a proposed abolitionist law in the Parliament.
To confirm the commitment to abolition, on December 10, 2007, Gabon hosted the sub regional conference promoted by Hands Off Cain for the moratorium and the abolition of the death penalty. Also, with then Foreign Minister Jean Ping, Gabon was a protagonist in the debate at the UN General Assembly that concluded with the historic approval of the pro-moratorium resolution.
â€śWe appreciate the fact that the new president Ali Bongo Ondimba has kept his word on the commitments made by the father of the abolition front,â€ť Sergio Dâ€™Elia, Hands Off Cain Secretary said. â€śThe abolition in Gabon confirms how the African continent is making enormous progress regarding human rights.â€ť
After Rwanda, Burundi and Togo, Gabon is the fourth African country to have abolished the death penalty in the last three years.
The abolition of the death penalty in Gabon was one of the objectives of Hands Off Cain's â€śAfrica Projectâ€ť for the realisation of the UN resolution for the moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty in the African continent. The two year project, financed in part by the European Union, foresees missions in 8 African countries for the first year and the holding of regional conferences in the second year. (Sources: HOC, 14/02/2011)