LHRC Reiterates the Need for Tanzania to Abolish Death Penalty, Says It Doesn't Deter Crime.
Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on July 25th, 2023 presented important recommendations made by the Commission for Criminal Justice to H.E. President Samia Suluhu Hassan. One of the recommendations is advising the government to abolish the death penalty because the punishment has been proven to be ineffective and it has been confirmed by the Commission for Criminal Justice that it does not deter crime.
Speaking to journalists at LHRC's headquarters in Kijitonyama, the Executive Director of LHRC, Dr. Anna Henga, stated that according to the Commission, the death penalty is cruel, degrading, and contrary to human rights principles. Therefore, it should not be a mandatory punishment, and if a person is sentenced to death and three years pass without the President of the United Republic of Tanzania approving the execution, the sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment.
“For many years, LHRC has been advising the government to ratify the international human rights treaty to abolish the death penalty. This is due to the fact that the punishment itself has been proven ineffective and the Commission itself acknowledges the harm it causes. Despite the Commission's hesitation to directly propose the abolition of the death penalty, LHRC continues to recommend its abolition. In a criminal justice system with numerous challenges, as outlined, it is easy to wrongfully sentence an innocent person to death.”Dr. Henga said
Regarding investigations, LHRC has long been advocating for an independent and autonomous system for investigating and examining criminal offenses in the country. The current system, where the Police are part of the process, creates the possibility of framing suspects with false charges, and sometimes the evidence is tampered with or interfered with during investigations, resulting in lengthy investigations. This is one of the recommendations made to the Commission.
LHRC advises the government to implement the Commission's recommendation to establish a new, independent body called the National Bureau of Investigation with the authority to investigate all criminal cases. LHRC proposes that the bill for the establishment of this body be submitted to Parliament by September 2023 to expedite the efficiency of the investigation and examination system in the country.
LHRC has been raising concerns about the brutality of certain military forces, especially those dealing with wildlife and our protected areas. Fortunately, the Commission has identified and made recommendations about the existence of numerous institutions with military characteristics that sometimes hold unknown prisoners. According to the Commission, there are approximately 18 institutions functioning as police while lacking the necessary expertise. Due to their lack of expertise and adequate training on the concept of arrests, we have witnessed serious human rights violations committed by officers of these forces under the control of organizations like TANAPA, TAWA, TFS, and others responsible for managing game reserves, including killings and sometimes clashes between these forces and the neighboring communities.
LHRC advises the government to entrust all arrest responsibilities to the Police Force, while other institutions established by law, such as the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), which have the authority to conduct investigations and arrests, should work in cooperation with the Police when carrying out their operations. This proposal does not require a budget but is a matter for the government to decide.
LHRC has advised the Government to abolish the death penalty because the punishment itself has been proven, even by the Commission for Criminal Justice, to be ineffective and its consequences are not being implemented.
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