The application of the Death penalty law in Zambia: What is the justification
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The life of every person is very fundamental and the principle of Law in this aspect is to ensure protection of the Right to Life. However, Zambia and other jurisdictions have promulgated legislation that allows the State to invoke a death sentence for specific offences. The death penalty Law is applicable in the Zambian criminal justice system.This dissertation was seized with the task of ascertaining whether or not the application of death penalty Law has any justification. The death penalty Law has in the past and recent times been a subject of debate far and wide among various sectors of society. The death penalty debate has proponents and opponents from the Religious, Political, Legal and Human Rights fraternity. This study endeavoured to provide reasons that the death penalty has no justification. The study analysed the Law and looked at the Zambian Constitution and the Penal Code. The study revealed that the offence of Murder, Aggravated Robbery and Treason attract a death sentence.This death sentence is allowable by the Zambian Constitution if it is in execution of a sentence of a Court for an offence for which a person has been convicted. This study established that the application of the death penalty Law in Zambia has no justification in that it is a violation of Human Rights, particularly the God given right, the Right to Life. The study revealed that the death penalty does not serve any purpose in so far as protection of society from criminals is concerned. The death penalty is not a deterrent to the offences for which it is applied as there is no proven evidence to that effect. Zambia has ratified but not domesticated International Instruments that prohibit the death penalty. While the Courts in Zambia continue to hand down the death sentence, there are no executions taking place because each sitting Head of State had been reluctant to sign death warrants. The study established that the Right to Life is non derogable and therefore the Constitution and the Penal Code should be amended and the death penalty abolished. The study recommended life imprisonment for the offences of Murder, Treason and Aggravated Robbery. The study further recommended that Zambia ratifies and domesticates the second option protocol to the ICCPR to make the Right to Life justiciable in an event of a violation to human rights. The study recommends capacity building for Judges, Lawyers and Law Enforcement Officers in relation to offences that attract death Penalty. The infrastructure for the Prisons Services should be expanded to cater for those serving long custodial sentences including life imprisonment.
- Law