Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Africa: Is the death penalty a sustainable solution to crime?

In Africa, many courts impose death sentences and order executions of culprits. Sometimes unfairly.

Humanity is celebrating October 10th, the World Day Against Punishment instituted in 2003. The opportunity for human rights NGOs to talk about those countries that practice capital punishment. This is the case of the United States, Japan and China.

African countries are not on the margins of the sentence. According to Amnesty International, there were 1350 death sentences passed in the continent in 2017 for 63 executions. Countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan are cited by the international NGO.

And yet, most institutions around the world today advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. “The abolition of the death penalty, in law or in practice, is a prerequisite for membership of the Council of Europe, and the absolute prohibition of the death penalty, whatever the circumstances, is Protocol No. 6 and No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU “, states the” Joint Declaration of the European Union and of the Council of Europe “on the occasion of the European and World Day Against the Death Penalty, 10 October 2018

While many states cite deterrence as the justification for maintaining the death penalty in their legislation, the history of humanity is not, however, eager for miscarriage of justice. Among these errors, the one suffered in 2001 the French Marc Machin convicted of the murder of Marie-Agnès Bedot.

Fortunately, the real culprit told him that the forty-year-old (at the time, he was 45) was simply acquitted. And according to historians, it was the eighth miscarriage of justice in France since the end of the Second World War.
An award may hide a serious miscarriage of justice

But, France remains so far marked by the famous Dreyfus affair. The young captain was sentenced to spying for Germany, while the real culprit was his superior, Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy.

If there are judicial errors that have been caught up, many people are waiting so far from the depths of their graves to be rehabilitated for being eliminated because of a miscarriage of justice.

And in Africa, there is much worse: summary executions carried out by elements of the Public Force on the orders or not of their superiors. Yet some of these countries are an integral part of states that have already abolished the death penalty.

The case of Congo whose police is accused by human rights NGOs of killing in mid-September, 13 young people at the police station of Chacona in Brazzaville. To clear this case, the Congolese authorities intend to organize a trial from 24 October.

Hence the imperative need for the presumption of innocence enshrined in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Especially in an Africa whose means of investigation seem unreliable to help judges to manifest the truth.

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