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Monday, July 22, 2019

Debate to ban capital punishment gains momentum - The New Times Rwanda 10/13/2011

(L-R) Bill Babbit( L) with Bill Pelke (R) of American NGO Journey of Hope” in an interview at Serena yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira

KIGALI - The “Journey of Hope”, an American based international organisation that conducts public education towards the abolition of death penalty has commended Rwanda for scrapping the death penalty in its justice system, describing it as a big step towards the area of human rights.
Speaking on the sidelines of an international conference on abolition of death penalty in Kigali, Bill Pelke, the founder of the organization, noted that the country has made tremendous achievements in human rights.
Rwanda is among the countries that repealed the capital sentence from her penal code.
“The death penalty is a violation of human rights,” he asserted.
Bill pointed out that it was quite unfortunate that some states in the US still support the death penalty, adding it does not only affect the families of the executed people but also the country as a whole.
He reacted on the recent execution of Troy Davis, an American who was executed in Georgia recently for the 1989 murder of a policeman, saying that his death affected the country.
Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing not only advocates for the abolition of the death penalty but offers a broad, universal message that addresses all forms of violence worldwide.
In exclusive interview, Peter Nyombi, the Ugandan Attorney General disclosed that though the death penalty law still exists in Ugandan law, it is not put into practice.
“We still have death punishment in our statutes but people are not executed despite having this kind of punishment,” he said.
He exemplified a situation where if a man kills a wife suspected to have cheated on him and is therefore convicted; he would not support his execution, justifying that the remaining children would forever face the misery of losing two parents.
The former Haiti Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre Louise mentioned that for the death penalty to be universally eliminated there is need for a strong commitment by Heads of State, adding that this would play a tremendous role.
“Abolition of the death penalty has never been achieved. There are some counties that have abolished it like Rwanda while others have not.
Therefore, there is need for commitments by presidents themselves. Otherwise, we shall not be able to abolish the death penalty unless our governments intervene,” she said.