13 May 2017 :
- During the years, many parliamentary motions and questions were presented and approved on the initiative of Hands off Cain. They dealt with the presentation of the moratorium on executions at the UNCHR and the UN General Assembly; the harvesting of organs from condemned prisoners in China; the cases of condemned prisoners, including Karla Tucker, Joe Cannon and Rocco Barnabei; the death penalty in China, Cuba, the Philippines and the Caribbean; cases of extradition from Canada and Italy to retentionist countries; on trade of drugs for lethal injections.
- On 16 and 17 December 1997, Hands off Cain organised in Strasbourg a meeting between the American association of criminal defence lawyers and the Speaker of the European Parliament, parliamentary groups and representatives of the Council of Europe. The U.S. delegation, headed by civil rights leader Julian Bond and composed of members of the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers and representatives of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, proposed that Europe exert pressure, also at the economic level, on American States where executions still take place, pointing out that many European businesses could open branches in death-penalty-free states rather than in Texas, Georgia or Virginia. In the following weeks, a resolution embodying this proposal was narrowly defeated twice in the European Parliament. A similar proposal was included in a resolution on the Karla Tucker case, presented in the Italian Senate, which was unanimously approved.
- From 11-13 March 1998, a delegation from the Italian Senate and Hands off Cain visited Manila and met with several leading figures, including Foreign Minister Domingo Siazon, the Speaker of the Senate Neptali Gonzales and the Archbishop of Manila Jaime Sin, in view of the upcoming vote on the resolution against the death penalty at the UN Commission on Human Rights, and in an attempt to prevent the reinstatement of executions in the Philippines. As a result, the scheduled execution of Leo Echegaray, the first after twenty years of legal or de facto abolition, was suspended, and the Philippines abstained on the Italian resolution at the UNCHR in Geneva.
- From 20-31 April 1999, a mission was undertaken by the Italian Senate and Hands off Cain to El Salvador, Guatemala and Cuba. Following these visits, El Salvador withdrew its proposal to reintroduce the death penalty and decided both to sponsor and vote for the resolution subsequently approved by the UNCHR in Geneva, after abstaining the year before; Guatemala abstained, as it had done the previous year; Cuba pardoned two Salvadorans, condemned to death for killing an Italian tourist, for whom clemency had been requested.
- On 22 March 1999, a mission from the Italian Senate attended the Canadian Supreme Court trial of Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay, two Canadian citizens who risked being extradited to the State of Washington for murders committed in 1994, to express Italy´s position on extradition - which is steadily being adopted by the European Union -, established by the landmark sentence handed down by the Italian Constitutional Court in the Pietro Venezia case. The mission also asked the Canadian Government to respect its vote at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, by not extraditing the offenders to a country where the death penalty is inflicted.
- At the end of August 1999, Hands Off Cain, together with the Italian Chamber of Deputies, organised missions to Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. These Caribbean countries have stated that they intend to denounce international human rights agreements that offer condemned prisoners further avenues of appeal. A delegation from Hands off Cain and the Italian lower house also went to Pakistan to support local human rights movements by asking for the abolition of the death penalty for juveniles, and to visit inmates in Rawalpindi and Lahore.
- From 25-29 October 1999, another mission was undertaken by Hands off Cain and the Italian Senate to Kirghizistan and Uzbekistan, where encouraging abolitionist trends are emerging although both countries are retentionist in theory. Kirghizistan has put in place a moratorium on executions, while Uzbekistan has drastically reduced the number of capital crimes.
- From October 14-18, 2002 Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, carried out a mission to Nigeria. It was carried out at a time when Nigeria was under intense international criticism for the death-by-stoning sentence passed on Amina Lawal by a state Sharia court. The Federal Government however assured that, by the laws laid out in the Constitution of Nigeria, Amina Lawal would not be stoned. HOC´s visit was aimed to express support for President Olusegun Obasanjo - to whom HOC´s 2002 report on the death penalty worldwide was dedicated for his anti-death penalty stance and his commitment to the process of democratisation within the country- and to ask the country for its support on a resolution for a worldwide moratorium on executions to be presented at the UNGA. The mission also aimed to counteract the boycott, prompted by Amina´s case, of the international Miss World beauty contest due to be held in the country. President Obasanjo expressed his personal commitment to HOC´s initiative for a worldwide moratorium on executions established through a UN General Assembly resolution.
- On June 28, 2003, Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, met President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo to request clemency for the 30 men sentenced to death for the assassination of his father, former president Laurent Kabila. The meeting took place just before the formation of a new government of national unity, that was set up after long and extenuating negotiations on June 30, 2003. The HOC delegation, led by former EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Emma Bonino, now an MEP, and including Aldo Ajello, the special EU representative for the Great Lakes region, also requested the DRC´s support for a resolution for a worldwide moratorium on executions to be presented at the UNGA. President Kabila pledged to refrain from signing the execution orders of the 30 condemned men, to maintaining a moratorium on executions, and to submit the issue of the abolition of the death penalty in the country to a transition parliament that was to be set up during the months following the visit.
- From June 23-29, 2003 HOC President Marco Pannella visited Cambodia. Pannella met government authorities who confirmed Cambodia´s favourable vote to the pro-moratorium resolution at the UN General Assembly. He also raised the issue of resolution co-sponsorship with them. Pannella, an MEP, was part of a European Parliament mission that visited the country in the run-up to general elections, that later confirmed the Cambodian People´s Party to power.
- From July 30 - August 8, 2003 Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, carried out missions to Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Mali and Senegal, to request these countries´ support for a resolution for a worldwide moratorium on executions to be presented at the UN General Assembly. The missions were carried out by Lista Bonino MEP and HOC Board Member Marco Cappato.
In Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo confirmed his personal commitment to HOC´s campaign for a worldwide moratorium on executions through a UN General Assembly resolution. In Ghana, a de facto abolitionist country, highly positive indications were given pointing to a favourable stance to the pro-moratorium resolution at the UNGA in 2003. The country in December 2000 held the first democratic elections and elected current President John Kufour, a devout Catholic.
In Togo the President of the National Assembly Ouattara Fambare Natchaba said: "If we had difficulties in the past (regarding the moratorium - Ed.), we won´t have them again; maybe we voted against because there hadn´t been consultations with Italy (and Europe - Ed.)."Togo is the only African de facto abolitionist state, with the exception of Swaziland, to have voted against the moratorium at the UN Commission on Human Rights. "It is outrageous that people continue to be sent to the executioner; innocent people end up being sentenced to death," he added.
Mali, that has been observing a legal moratorium on executions since 2002, gave assurances that the country would vote in favour of a resolution for a moratorium on capital executions at the UN General Assembly. Maitre Demba Traore, vice President of the Mali Justice Commission, made the statement following a meeting with Cappato and consultations with Foreign Minister Lassana Traore.
In Senegal a de facto abolitionist country who was amongst the first to ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court, Mrs Bassine Niang, Minister without portfolio for Peace and Human Rights, declared on behalf of the President of the Republic that they cannot but support to this battle.
- From July 30 to August 7, 2003 Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, carried out missions to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The HOC delegation was made up of Benedetto della Vedova and Bruno Mellano, respectively MEP and Regional Counsellor for the Lista Bonino, and HOC Board Member Antonio Stango. In Kyrgyzstan, that is observing a legal moratorium on executions, all authorities met by the delegation expressed their support for a UN moratorium but underlined the fact that the final decision would come down to President Askar Akayev. In Kazakhstan all meetings showed favourable signs towards the gradual abolition of the death penalty, both in the context of EU-Kazakh relations and in order to help the development of a democratic society. In Uzbekistan, a retentionist country, Vice Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov did not rule out the possibility of the government abstaining on the moratorium resolution at the UNGA.
- From August 4-11, 2003 a joint No Peace Without Justice and Hands Off Cain delegation, led by the President of the Transational Radical Party Sergio Stanzani, visited Sierra Leone. The delegation discussed the death penalty and the country´s opinion with regard to a worldwide moratorium on executions through a UN resolution with various government authorities.
Vice-President Solomon Berewa said he was personally favourable to the abolition of the death penalty. He also expressed his awareness of the fact that with the institution of the Special Tribunal for Sierra Leone - that does not prescribe the death penalty for the grave crimes that it has been assigned to judge - a national paradox has been created: capital punishment can be meted out to people found guilty of crimes like murder under national jurisdiction, but the perpetrators of the worst crimes during ten years of civil conflict will never be condemned to death.
Justice Minister Eke A. Halloway told the delegation he was absolutely favourable to the abolition of the death penalty, and was preparing a paper entitled "The Path to Peace" that was to be included among the official proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He committed himself to inserting the abolition of the death penalty among the recommendations that he was to make on behalf of the Justice Ministry.
With regard to the country´s position on a moratorium resolution at the UN General Assembly, both authorities said they would discuss the issue with the council of ministers.
*In September, Sierra Leone´s Ambassador to the United Nations, Allieu I. Kanu, informed HOC´s office in New York that his government had instructed him to vote in favour of a resolution calling for a moratorium at the UNGA and against the "domestic jurisdiction" amendment likely to be presented by retentionist countries to nullify the resolution.
- Between August 7-13, 2003, Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, carried out a mission to Kenya, a de facto abolitionist country, and Zambia a retentionist state, to request the two countries´ support for a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions at the UN General Assembly. The HOC delegation was comprised of former EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and MEP Emma Bonino, HOC General-Secretary Sergio D´Elia and Treasurer Elisabetta Zamparutti. The Kenyan authorities met by the delegation expressed their full support for the moratorium campaign. Kenya´s newly-elected government led by President Mwai Kibaki - to whom HOC´s 2003 report is dedicated - has repeatedly demonstrated its will to abolish the death penalty internally. In Zambia Foreign Minister Kalombo Mwansa stated that his country would abstain on a General Assembly vote for a moratorium on capital executions.
- Between September 15-20, 2003, Hands Off Cain, as part of a project funded by the EU, carried out a mission to India a retentionist state and Sri Lanka, a de facto abolitionist country, to request the two states´ support for a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions at the UN General Assembly. The HOC delegation was made up of Italian MP Enrico Buemi (SDI), Marco Cappato and Alessandro Litta Modignani, respectively MEP and Regional Counsellor for the Lista Bonino and HOC Board Member Anna Zammit. The two countries confirmed that at the UN General Assembly their voting behaviour would be consonant to that observed in the UN Commission for Human Rights, where they have regularly abstained.
- From September 23-30, 2003 HOC´s honorary president George Ryan, former governor of Illinois, toured European capitals to lobby for support for the presentation of a moratorium resolution of the UN General Assembly. Ryan visited France, Spain, United Kingdom and Belgium to request that the European Union reconsiders the decision taken at the July 21 EU General Affairs Council not to support the proposal by the Italian government - current term-president of the EU - to present the pro-moratorium resolution.
George Ryan is the American politician who has, above all others, brought public opinion to reflect on the issue of the death penalty and led many to change their stance on capital punishment. As governor of Illinois, in 2000 he became the first US governor to introduce a legal moratorium on executions in his state. Despite being a staunch supporter of the death penalty, Ryan was troubled by the finding that 13 people had risked execution in Illinois before being found innocent. As the last act of his mandate, on January 10, 2003, he decided to empty death row by commuting the sentences of 167 convicts and releasing 4 inmates of whose innocence he was personally convinced.
On the European tour, that was part of a project funded by the EU, Governor Ryan was accompanied by one of the men he pardoned, Leroy Orange - who spent 19 years on death row -HOC Treasurer Elisabetta Zamparutti, Board member Anna Zammit and Orange´s lawyer and North-Western University assistant professor Cathryn Crawford. As a result of this mission, the September 29 EU General Affairs Council decided to re-introduce in its agenda the issue of the presentation of a pro-moratorium resolution to the 2003 UN General Assembly.
- From October 18 - 21, 2004 a four-day visit to Zambia by a delegation from the Italian Senate's Human Rights Commission and HOC officials marked the point of no return in the process towards abolition in the country judging from political commitments made and the huge public exposure the delegation's abolitionist brief was given, HOC said. All the authorities and representatives of civil society met by the delegation stated that abolition will be determined through the constitutional review process, that includes wide consultations with non-governmental organizations. Constitution Review Commission chief Willa Mungomba said the force of the arguments presented by both sides will carry the issue, rather than simply a majority in numbers. All political authorities met by the delegation have already taken a stance in favour of abolition and intend to play a leading role in the public debate. The delegation consisted of senate commission president Enrico Pianetta (FI) and includes senators Antonio Iovine (DS), Alessandro Forlani (UDC), and Cinzia Dato (Margherita). HOC was represented secretary general Sergio D'Elia and senior annual report editor Elisabetta Zamparutti.
- From 12 to 14 October, 2010, a delegation from Hands Off Cain, composed of MPs Elisabetta Zamparutti and Marco Perduca, in the framework of an EU project, carried out a mission to Zambia. They took part in the “Death Has No Appeal” forum organized by the European Union at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka. Then, they visited the “Mukobeko” maximum security prison where death row inmates in Zambia are kept. On October 13, the delegation met the Zambian parliamentary members of the National Commission for the New Constitution and the President of the parliamentary majority Vernon J. Mwaanga, who presided over the meeting, said that «at this table sits parliamentarians that you can consider your allies. During the preparation for the draft that will now be discussed in parliament and then put to a popular referendum in order to be confirmed, they fought to end the death penalty.” On October 14, the Hands Off Cain delegation met Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande, who said: “Regarding this, you have opened a door,” and suggested the organisation of two seminars and a campaign of public information in view of a crucial event next year, the parliamentary examination of the constitutional reform draft presented by the National Constituent Conference. In February, at the end of an open debate, the article of the Constitution that allows the death penalty was confirmed by only one vote – 26 to 25. The Hands Off Cain delegation was then received by George Kunda, Vice President of the Republic and Justice Minister, who was accompanied by his vice Todd Stewart. Both personally abolitionist, they confirmed that President Rupiah Banda, following in the steps of his predecessor Levy Mwanawasa, will not sign any execution decrees for those sentenced to death, even if capital punishment is kept in the new constitution.
- From 10 to 12 November 2010, Hands Off Cain and Radical Party, in the framework of an EU project, carried out a mission to Mali to accelerate the parliamentary procedures for the definitive abolition of the death penalty in the country after Mali's support for the UN resolutions on universal moratorium on capital punishment. The delegation, composed by Marco Pannella, Elisabetta Zamparutti and Matteo Angioli, first met the President of the Mali Order of Lawyers, Maiga Seydou Ibrahim, and then various members of the Platform of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including executive secretary of the People's Movement for Education on Human Rights Mahamari Mohamed El Moktar and the vice president of the National Commission of Human Rights Kané Nana Sano. Openly abolitionist, the president of the Order of Lawyers explained the internal difficulty of seeing to completion the parliamentary procedures of the legal project for the definitive abolition of capital punishment, presented by the Government in October 2007. The difficulties are tied to aggression by certain Muslim exponents and their complaints prevented the parliament approving the procedure. The Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights didn't have the strength to give a positive opinion on limiting itself to record the imans' 10 reasons of aversion and the abolitionists' 10 reasons in favour. On November 11, the delegation attended a hearing held by the Justice Commission of the Mali National Assembly. Kassoum Tapo, the first person to sign a proposed law for the abolition of the death penalty was present. He explained how "the parliamentarians do not have the strength to assume the political responsibility of the decision.” “Instead of voting according to their consciences, the parliamentarians continue to take time speaking of wanting to compare with the actual electorate. But the people have fear of the Imams' reactions and this fear is echoed in their political representatives.” Then, the delegation made a visit to Bamako Women's Prison and was received by the Secretary General of the Foreign Minister, Al-Maamoun Baba Lamine Keita, by Justice Minister Maharafa Traore, and by the President of the Mali League for Human Rights, Amadou Tieoule Diarra. The mission concluded on November 12, with a meeting with the President of the Republic of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré.
- From 22 to 24 November, 2010, a delegation of Hands Off Cain, comprising MPs Elisabetta Zamparutti and Marco Perduca, in the framework of an EU project, carried out a mission to Congo to ask for an internal adjustment to the position expressed at the international level by Congo, which co-sponsorised the new pro moratorium Resolution in discussion at the United Nations' General Assembly. After meeting the Secretary General of the Congo Foreign Affairs ministry Daniel Owassa, they met with representatives of the Congolese Senate and National Assembly in Brazaville. President André Obami Itou was at the senate meeting, accompanied by Benjamin Boukoulou (First Vice President of the Senate and President of the Italy-Congo Friendship Committee) and by Gabriel Oba-Apounou (President of the Senate Foreign Commission). “Congo is ready,” the Senate President said because “if Congo wants to be a part of the UN Council of Human Rights it cannot stay at the margins of the abolitionist campaign.” Personally, the President also expressed his solidarity with Marco Pannella's non violent initiative against Tarek Aziz's death sentence.
At the meeting with the National Assembly was Pierre Ngolo, First Secretary of the Office of the President, accompanied by Bati Benoît Tsiaki, President of the Italy-Congo Friendship Association and member of the Justice Commission, and by parliamentarian Gaston Ndivili. Pierre Ngolo said “The abolition of the death penalty is a long process." Bati Benoît Tsiaki, a judge, underlined the importance "of jail conditions, but also the necessity of never losing sight of Abel as well as Cain.” He explained that “the Justice Minister is in the process of revising the penal code, and that starting a parliamentary debate that must include the death penalty depends on this.” On November 24, the delegation met Justice Minister Aimée Emmanuel Yoka, who has declared himself a convinced abolitionist. He acknowledged the necessity of an act of internal coherence and made a commitment to a government initiative to present a proposed abolitionist law at the March session of parliament.
- From 9 to 10 December, 2010 Hands Off Cain carried out a mission to Ghana, in the framework of an EU project, to call for the abolition of the death penalty and to lobby for a vote favourable on the pro moratorium resolution in discussion at the United Nations.
After a meeting with Foreign Minister Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, the delegation composed by MPs Elisabetta Zamparutti and Marco Perduca met the chief delegation of the European Union, ambassador Claude Maerten. Afterwards, Elisabetta Zamparutti and Marco Perduca met the National Commission on Human Rights and the Administration of Jutice (CHRAJ), represented by Vice President Richard A. Quayson and investigations vice chief Isaac L. Annan, who emphasised the conditions of jail overpopulation – around 40 thousand prisoners kept in depalidated structures constructed during the colonial period – and the length of custody, which could be up to 10 years.
The two CHRAJ representatives expressed a position in favour of the abolition of the death penalty. The Hands Off Cain mission finished with a meeting with the Commission for the revision of the Constitution. Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary, explained the characteristics of the reform process that should be concluded by 2011. They have presented more than 60 thousand observations, and this is destined to reach 100 thousand by the end of the year, finishing with the possibility for Ghanians to contribute to constitutional revision. Then, in March 2011, an international conference will be held in Accra during which there will be 12 themes examined, resulting from synthesis work done by the Commission. At the conference there will be participation by international experts and Hands Off Cain was invited to suggest speakers, moderators and observers for the whole conference. The conference will provide the first evaluation to the President of the Republic, which will act with the Government to then put this to the parliament.
- On 4 March 2011, on behalf of Hands Off Cain, MP and Speaker of the OSCE on Human Rights, Democracy and Humantiarian Issues, Matteo Mecacci, attended in Accra, Ghana, the National Conference Constitutional. The conference was a crucial step in the process that the Constitutional Review Commission, established by the President of the Republic, started a year before, to amend the Constitution of Ghana in 1992.
Among the topics to address the Conference there were human rights and, in particular, the question of whether or not to keep the death penalty in the new constitution. Among the topics to address the Conference there were human rights and, in particular, the question of whether or not to keep the death penalty in the new constitution. The National Constitutional Conference, was inaugurated on 1 March by President John Evans Atta Mills and concluded on March 5. It provided the Constitutional Review Commission its first proposals. These proposals were then presented to President of the Republic who should share them with the government and then submit to Parliament.
The debate began with the pre-eminent position in favor of maintaining the death penalty, but later it was decided to transmit to the Commissioners an open position against the two options-maintenance and abolition of the death penalty - with the various arguments for and against, in addition to request the President to clarify and explain his position on the issue. When on December 20th the Constitutional Review Commission presented its final report to the President, among recommendations there was the elimination of the death penalty from the Constitution and the penal codes of the country.
- From 20 to 22 August 2012, a delegation of Hands Off Cain, composed by Sergio D'Elia, secretary and MPs Marco Perduca and Elizabeth Zamparutti, in the framework of a project funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, carried out a mission to Zimbabwe to call for the internal abolition and for a vote in favor of the resolution for a moratorium on executions during the UN General Assembly in December. The delegation held hearings in the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, the Foreign Affairs Commission of the House of Representatives and the Commission for Human Rights of the Senate. The delegation met with the Minister for Constitutional Affairs E. Matinenga, abolitionist lawyer, the Minister for Industry Welshman Ncube, who is also the president of the MDC-N, the third political force in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Thakozani Khupe, President of the Chamber of Deputies Lovemeore Moyo, the President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the party that was in opposition to Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change, has confirmed his disapproval of hangings, which he considers a "legacy of the colonial era." He risked the death penalty when he was arrested in 2002 for treason and acquitted in 2004 by the High Court of Zimbabwe. During the meeting, Tsvangirai was committed to submit to the Council of Ministers the change of vote on the resolution for a universal moratorium on executions at the next UN General Assembly. During parliamentarian hearings, Mps were committed to present acts calling for abolition. In February 2013 a motion for the abolition of the death penalty was officially presented at the Senate.
- On October 10, 2012, on the occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty, a delegation of Hands Off Cain and the Nonviolent Radical Party transnational and transparty (TRP), composed by the Secretary of Hands Off Cain Sergio D'Elia and MPs Marco Perduca and Elizabeth Zamparutti, carried out a mission to Sierra Leone as part of a project of the Italian Foreign Ministry. The goal was to call for abolition of death penalty in Sierra Leone and to obtain a vote in favor of the resolution for a moratorium on executions at the UN Assembly General in December. The delegation attended a ceremony at the State House in Freetown, the seat of the Presidency of the Republic, during which they delivered the Prize "Abolitionist of the Year 2012" to President Ernest Bai Koroma, because in 2011, he emptied death row, commuted all death sentences and accepted international recommendations to abolish the death penalty.
The ceremony was attended among others, by the Minister of Justice, Franklyn Bai Kargbo, the former UN Ambassador and Director General of the TRP, Allieu Ibrahim Kanu, the head of the NGO Manifesto 99, Rahim Kamara, and a representative of Amnesty International.
Speaking to thank Prize, President Koroma said: "The commitment of my Government eflects the aspirations of our people. On 13 September 2011, my Government has accepted in principle, and subject to a revision of the Constitution, fifteen recommendations that call to abolish the death penalty. We have already made a commitment to put the question of the abolition of the death penalty on the agenda of the Government. The constitutional review process will be resumed after the elections [planned in mid-November]. The demand of the abolition of the death penalty will be a priority and an integral part of our program for the defense, protection and promotion of human rights. "
The Sierra Leone passed from a vote of abstention to a vote in favor of the resolution for a universal moratorium on executions adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 2012.
- From 24 to 27 October 2012, a delegation of Hands Off Cain and the Nonviolent Radical Party transnational and transparty (TRP), composed by the Secretary of Hands Off Cain Sergio D'Elia and MPs Marco Perduca and Elizabeth Zamparutti, carried out a mission to Central African Republic as part of a project of the Italian Foreign Ministry. The goal was to call for abolition of death penalty in CAR and to obtain a vote in favor of the resolution for a moratorium on executions at the UN Assembly General in December. The delegation was welcomed by Justice Minister Jacques M'Bosso who gave them the news that, just in anticipation of the arrival of the delegation, the Council of Ministers had approved on October 9 a bill to abolish the death penalty from the Penal Code. The Minister of Justice said he wanted CAR to become one of the protagonists of the abolitionist process in the world and has also announced that the bill will be sent to the National Assembly for its final adoption by stressing the importance of start at the same time a campaign to raise public awareness. The delegation then met with the Committee to reflect the abolition of the death penalty - a group of judges, lawyers, directors general of ministries and of the three main religions, established by the participation of the RCA at the conference on the death penalty organized by Hands Off Cain and the Government of Rwanda, in October 2011 in Kigali. The Committee, chaired by Dominique Said-Banguindji. This was followed by a meeting with the High Commissioner for Human Rights Abacar Dieudonné Nyakanda and then with the President of the National Célestin Leroy Gaombalet. The delegation also attended a hearing before the joint committees justice and human rights. The mission ended with a meeting with the Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadera who secured the vote of the Central African Republic in favor of the resolution on the universal moratorium during the UN General Assembly in December. The Prime Minister also expressed the political will to implement all legal means available to remove the death penalty, confirming the commitments made by his government before the UN Human Rights Council for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant International Civil and Political Rights for the definitive abolition of the death penalty, no longer applied in the country for over 30 years. The delegation of Hands Off Cain and the Radical Party then visited two prisons in the capital Bangui, Bangui of the female and the male-Child of Ngaragba.
- From 20 to 23 November 2012, a delegation of Hands Off Cain and the Nonviolent Radical Party transnational and transparty (TRP), composed by Marco Panella, Demba Traore, Secretary of the Radical Party, MP Elisabetta Zamparutti and Matteo Angioli, general counsel of the Radical Party, carried out a mission to Chad as part of a project of the Italian Foreign Ministry. The goal was to call for abolition of death penalty in Chad and to obtain a vote in favor of the resolution for a moratorium on executions at the UN Assembly General in December. The delegation met with the Hon. Yussouf Alzanif Mahamat, Chair of the Parliamentary Commission communication, new technologies, fundamental rights and freedoms, the Hon. Neatobeye-Nasseguen'Gar, Vice President and Hon. Ahmat Issa Badi, Rapporteur of the Commission.
On 21 November, the delegation met with the President of the National Assembly Haroun Kabadi and then the undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tedebe Ruth, the Minister of Justice Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul and Minister for Lands Earth Jean Bernard Padare. The delegation then met with representatives of the international community - the European Commission, representatives of the German Embassy and Ambassador of France - and the NGOs Human Rights Without Borders and the League for Human Rights of Chad. The mission concluded on November 22 with a meeting with Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar who described efforts and progress made by Chad on the death penalty and on human rights. He said that his country now has to fill a gap on its international image. Chad voted in favor of the UN resolution for a universal moratorium on executions at the General Assembly on December 20, 2012, after years of absence at the time of the vote.
- From 11 to 22 November 2014, Hands Off Cain carried out missions, in the framework of a project supported by the Italian MFA, to three target African countries to ask the governments of Zimbabwe, the Comoros and Niger to vote in favor of the UN Resolution for a universal moratorium on executions scheduled for mid-December 2014. The delegation was composed by Sergio d’Elia, Secretary of Hands Off Cain, Marco Perduca of the Board of Director with Marco Maria Freddi. Marco Pannella and Matteo Angioli joined the delegation in Niger. The delegation, accompanied by the Ambassador of Italy Enrico De Agostini and Ms. Paula Vazquez EU responsible for “governance”, met in Zimbabwe (from 11 to 15 November) with the Hon. Christopher H. Mutsvangwa, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zimbabwe of the Zanu-PF Party and the Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa Minister of Justice.
The Hon. Emmerson Mnangagwa shared his personal story with the delegation, when, as a young freedom fighter, arrested and condemned to death, escaped it for his young age in 1965. During his detention, Mr. Mnangagwa had to accompany several comrades to the gallows and, after the hanging, was obliged to bury them in a graveyard in the back of the prison. Since then, he has been an abolitionist and has always refused to sign death sentences while in office from 1988 to 2000 and since former year.
The Minister promised to discuss the matter with his colleague of Foreign Affairs, considering the fact that the operative parts of the resolution that will be put to a vote in December reflect the changes adopted on the issue in the new Constitution adopted in 2013, which drastically limited the use of the death penalty.
In reaffirming his opposition to sign execution orders, Minister Mnangagwa has now started a process to commute the death sentences for the 97 people that are still on death row. Yesterday the Minister himself brought to the attention of Cabinet the cases of then people, three were accepted, the seven that were refused will be brought again before government at the next available opportunity.
The second meeting was at the House of Assembly with the Speaker of the House the Hon. Jacob Mudenda who recalled the African tradition that, also in cases of murder, foresees types of compensation, “the death penalty is a heritage from the colonial past”. President Mudenda asked to be updated by the delegation on the regional developments and in particular on those African countries that, like Zimbabwe, are in a de facto moratorium situation, but have voted in favour of the document. “It the vote at the UN is a governmental decision”, said the Speaker, “Parliament will be crucial to inform and involve the citizens on the country’s positions”. In the Comoros (16/18 November), the delegation, together with the Italian Ambassador Luigi Scotto, met with the Minister of Justice of the Comoros Ousseini Abdou, who is personally opposed to the death penalty and the Minister for Foreign Affairs El-Anrif Said Hassan. Authorities said they would submit to the Council of Ministers the decision to move from abstention to a vote in favor of the Resolution for a universal moratorium on executions. Comoros are a de facto abolitionist country where a recent proposed abolitionist law was rejected by the Parliament with religious motivations, while at international level, under the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, the Comoros accepted 126 of 133 recommendations (including that of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). The mission in the capital of the Comoros ended with a meeting in the Parliament and a visit to the central prison in Moroni, a dilapidated structure that dates back to the French colonial rule. Of the 221 inmates in the prison, the convicts are only 25. There are 8 women, and 6 minors. Those condemned to death are 6, and 2 those sentenced to life imprisonment. To date there were also 17 people accused of attack on the security of the state. Prisoners live in a state of utter promiscuity. In areas that could allow hospitality to 80 people (although according to the standards of the World Health Organization that prison should accommodate 50) coexist sentenced and awaiting trial, sentenced to death for murder and petty criminals, older people and minors. Prison conditions are very poor and unhealthy, and health care almost non-existent. The daily ration of food, always the same for years, consists of a single bowl of rice and sardines, which may be the only source of food for those who cannot afford some integration with the different food brought by family members in prison. The delegation held talks in particular with minors and sentenced to death, including with Fekkak Abdellaziz, Moroccan aged 47, sentenced to death in a crime of passion, who said, "In many years here I have never been examined by a doctor". The structures of the Penitentiary are completely inadequate. For example, the office of the director of the prison are in a room six feet by three. Even the infirmary is inadequate: the hall is used as a dormitory for some army guards. In Niger (19/22 November), the delegation, accompanied by the Honorary Consul of Italy in Niger, Paul Giglio, was first received by the Minister of Justice and government spokesman, Marou Amadou. During the meeting, Minister Amadou Marou announced that the Government, on 23 October, in anticipation of the arrival of the delegation, ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and is now engaged in the process of adaptation of the domestic law to the contents of the pact that provides for the abolition of the death penalty. The Minister Amadou Marou has also announced that, as will be confirmed tomorrow by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government will issue instructions to the Ambassador of Niger to the United Nations to pass from a vote of abstention to a vote in favor of the pro-moratorium resolution. Marou has stated in this regard: "It is one thing to declare, in principle, in favor of the death penalty, and I am in any case not, another thing is that those who are in favor are confronted with the practice of the death penalty and maybe put a noose around the neck of the condemned, inject a lethal substance or press the button that activates an electric chair. " The Minister Marou then said: "The reasons for abolishing the death penalty are much more relevant than those to keep it," and concluded that "our agenda is the same as yours, both the respect for human rights, and the repeal of the death penalty. The President is personally committed on these goals. " The delegation met with Ibrahim Sani Abani, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Daouda Mamadou Marthé, first vice-speaker of the National Assembly, who said: "You have my word of honor, that we will do anything to achieve the abolition of the death penalty, starting from the vote on the resolution for the UN moratorium". The mission ended with the meeting with the Prime Minister Brigi Rafini. The delegation was also able to visit two prisons in the country, that of Niamey and that of Kollo, 30 km from the capital. Thanks to the presence of officials of the Ministry of Justice, the delegation was able to interact with prisoners, not all speaking French; Marco Pannella in the yard a speech - the Director of the Penitentiary Administration has translated in the local dialect – and the video is available on the website www.radioradicale.it
- From 3 to 12 November 2016, a delegation of Hands Off Cain led missions in four African countries, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland as part of a project supported by the Italian Foreign Ministry. The delegation, led by Antonio Stango (member of the association's Executive Board, and president of the Italian League for Human Rights), was also composed by Eleonora Mongelli, Yuliya Vassilyeva and Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan (Vice President of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty ), with the Hon. Roberto Rampi who joined them for the stage in Swaziland. In Kenya, in Nairobi, the delegation met, thanks to Stefano Dejak, head of the EU delegation, the Attorney General - that in Kenya also performs functions of Minister of Justice - Githu Muigai. Personally very convinced of the futility of the death penalty and decided to accelerate the process of abolition, he said he would recommend to the Minister of Foreign Affairs the vote in favor of the resolution for the moratorium to the UN General Assembly. The delegation also met with two members of parliament, Hon. Agostinho Neto, and John Muriithi Waiganjo (one of the ruling party and the other of the opposition, but both supporters of the abolition of the death and in favor of voting on the Resolution) and the Executive Director of the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists. In Zambia, in Lusaka, thanks to Ambassador Philip Scammacca, also responsible for Malawi, the delegation met with the Minister of Justice Given Lubinda who said he was personally in favor of abolition and, realizing the opportunity of a positive vote on the resolution, he said it would discuss with colleagues in government. Although one of his advisers had suggested that a formalization of the de facto moratorium in the country might seem at odds with the "Bill of Rights" included in the Constitution, which proclaims the right to life but provides exceptions if prescribed by law (in a previous meeting this position was also affirmed by the assistant director-general for international organizations at the Foreign Ministry, Eliphas John Chinyonga, according to whom a referendum would be necessary even to move from a de facto moratorium to a de jure one), the Minister Lubinda seemed convinced of the fact that the vote on the resolution would not create any problem of this type having no legal significance. Its opinion is particularly influential because he was also recently Foreign Minister and thus understands the actual implications of the vote. The Minister also claimed that in Zambia the majority of the population is satisfied with the moratorium, and noted that there were no protests after the President commuted 332 death sentences to prison terms. On a general level, he said he was oriented to promote the abolition of the mandatory death penalty for certain crimes, extending the discretion of the court, as a further positive step towards a future abolition. There was also a meeting with all the parliamentarians of the Commission of Legal Affairs, and very positive meetings with the Archbishop of Lusaka Telesphore George Mpundu, with the President of the Council of Churches, with the National Commission for Human Rights, and with representatives of numerous non-governmental associations. In Malawi, in Lilongwe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Francis Lazalo Kasaila, announced the vote “in favor” of his country. The Minister also hoped that Hands Off Cain would contribute on the field, interacting with other civil society organizations, to programs of information and awareness about the death penalty among the population in order to gain greater consensus in view of a future abolition de jure, a step he sees positively. A positive opinion was also expressed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu. In Swaziland’s capital, Mbabane, the delegation met with Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini, Minister of Economic Planning and Development, with Prince Guduza Dlamini, former Speaker of the House of Assembly of Swaziland (both princes are brothers of King Mswati III), with Senator Edgar Hillary, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and with MP Jan Sithole, president of the Swaziland Democratic Party (Swadepa). During the meetings, attended also by the Ambassador Nicola Bellomo, Head of the European Union Delegation in the Kingdom of Swaziland, the Swazi authorities have explained the constitutional and judicial system of the country. Here, after some royal commutations, only one person sits on death row. There was full agreement of the importance of a favorable vote on the resolution, and insurance to recommend to the Prime Minister to support the initiative. The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has responsibility for the decision during the period in question, given that the King at this time, defined "seclusion", refrains from political decisions.