Europe

Uganda has been asked by the EU to eliminate the death penalty and combat gender-based violence.

Attilio Pacifici, the European Union's Ambassador to Uganda, has urged the government to abolish the death sentence in order to promote human dignity and the growth of human rights.

Attilio Pacifici, the European Union’s Ambassador to Uganda, has urged the government to abolish the death sentence in order to promote human dignity and the growth of human rights.

Pacifici delivered the keynote talk at the International Law Reform offices in Munyonyo, Kampala, commemorating World Day Against the Death Penalty. Every 10th of October, people all over the world come together to push for the elimination of the death penalty.

No one needs or deserves to die, according to the ambassador, and educational programs in jails and other rehabilitation facilities are good examples of how not everything is lost once someone is admitted to such a facility.

“History also shows that the death sentence does not discourage crime any better than other punishments, and that abolishing the death penalty does not result in an increase in crime,” Pacifici said.

He goes on to say that no legal system is perfect, that mistakes happen, and that innocent people are put to death. In Luzira, there are presently 123 people on death row, three of whom are women. Despite the fact that Uganda is a de facto abolitionist, having last carried out a civilian execution in 1999 and a military execution in 2005, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is required by law to sign before the penalty is carried out, has repeatedly threatened to reintroduce the death penalty, causing alarm among anti-death penalty activists.

The first French Counselor in Uganda, Jean Francois, thinks the fight against the death penalty is difficult but vital. He claims that when the death sentence was abolished in France in 1981, observers predicted an increase in crime, yet this has not occurred.

“It’s also worth noting that in 1981, it wasn’t easy at all, and it wasn’t an easy thing to do.” “The majority of the populace was opposed to the death penalty being abolished,” Francois explained.

Karin Boven, the Netherlands’ ambassador to Uganda, renewed the plea for the death sentence to be abolished. She spoke specifically about women facing the death penalty, claiming that they are frequently victims of domestic violence and, as a result of discrimination and abuse, commit murder.

She claims that putting a mother to death also puts her children at danger. She requested that the authorities look into domestic violence in cases where women are accused of murdering their partners. According to a poll conducted by the International Law Reform Organization in 2021, more than 80% of the 5% of women in jail are charged with murder.

A number of women accused of murder have been victims of domestic and gender based violence, according to Justice David Batema, who has been a strong judicial advocate against gender based violence and domestic violence. However, courts do not pay much attention to such history when prosecuting cases of alleged murder. For example, Justice Batema claims that when someone is assaulted, the law mandates them to employ self-defense.

This means that if a woman is abused and her rights are infringed by her spouse, and she commits murder, she cannot claim self-defense because she was not abused on the day she committed murder.

As a result, according to Justice Batema, the court defines provocation as an immediate act, yet in cases of domestic abuse, women are provoked for a long time before reacting. “Under the English law that we adopted, you must have lost your temper in the heat of passion and killed while outraged,” Batema explained, adding that this is when a provocation defense can be used.

The head of Uganda’s International Law Reforms Organization, Doreen Namyalo Kyazze, has asked the government to ratify the second protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty.

The agreement was drafted in December 1989 and went into effect on July 11, 1991. The protocol had 90 signatories as of April 2021, with 24 from Africa. In Africa, 16 countries have yet to abolish the death penalty. Uganda has 28 crimes that are punishable by death.

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