African court orders Tanzania to abolish death penalty

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has urged Tanzania to revoke its death penalty, citing violations of the right to life and human dignity. 

The court’s decision comes in two separate cases involving death row inmates Nzigiyimana Zabron and Dominick Damian.

The ACHPR emphasized that Tanzania’s mandatory death penalty for certain crimes violates the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 

The court granted Tanzania six months to remove the death penalty from its statutes.

Tanzania, however, has pushed back against the ruling. Deputy Solicitor-General Sarah Mwaipopo called the decision an infringement on the country’s sovereignty and vowed to appeal. 

Tanzania argues that the death penalty serves as a deterrent for serious crimes.

Despite maintaining the death penalty on its books, Tanzania hasn’t carried out an execution in nearly three decades.

Currently, over 490 individuals remain on death row facing an uncertain future.

Human rights groups welcomed the ACHPR’s decision. 

Anna Henga, head of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, called for the complete abolition of the death penalty, stating it has no place in a modern society.

The clash between the ACHPR’s ruling and Tanzania’s stance highlights the ongoing debate surrounding capital punishment. 

While the international community increasingly views the death penalty as inhumane, some countries, like Tanzania, defend its use as a necessary deterrent.

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