Zimbabwe May Scrap Death Penalty

In an interview Copac co-chairperson representing the MDC-T, Douglas Mwonzora, said the resolution by the management committee virtually strikes off death penalty because it would be hard to prove aggravated murder.

“We have resolved that the death penalty is now outlawed except in cases of aggravated murder. What the clause will do, it will leave the onus of proof of aggravated murder on the state. Even in cases of aggravated murder the death penalty will be difficult to retain. An example would be assuming that (General Solomon) Mujuru was murdered, that would be aggravated murder,” he said.

Mwonzora said only cases of an evil intent such as the killing of a wife and cutting parts off her body could possibly qualify as aggravated murder.

Amnesty International immediately welcomed the move by Copac describing capital punishment as, “the ultimate denial of human rights”. ““The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner,” said amnesty international.

The amnesty international has since released statistics that at least 1,923 people were known to have been sentenced to death in 63 countries in 2011, a significant decrease from 2010 where a minimum of 2, 024 people were put on death row worldwide.