Death penalty taskforce holds open forum as debate rages

July 31, 2018 9:31 am
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In the Supreme Court Ruling of December 14 last year, the Attorney General was given 12 months within which to come up with proposals aligned to the recommendations contained in the Supreme Court Ruling that abolished the mandatory nature of the death penalty in Section 204 of the Penal Code Act/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – The Taskforce on the Review of the Mandatory Nature of the Death Penalty that was appointed by the Attorney General in March is on Tuesday due to hold an open forum on the controversial issue.

In the Supreme Court Ruling of December 14 last year, the Attorney General was given 12 months within which to come up with proposals aligned to the recommendations contained in the Supreme Court Ruling that abolished the mandatory nature of the death penalty in Section 204 of the Penal Code Act.

During the meeting, the meaning and implication of the Supreme Court ruling will be discussed together will all members of the taskforce.

These include the Judiciary, the Prisons and Correctional Services, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Assembly, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Kenya Law Reform Commission, among others.

Other than the legislative framework, the task force being chaired by Maryann Njau-Kimani will set up a framework to deal with rehearing of sentencing of persons on death row as directed by the Supreme Court in December last year.

In the landmark judgment, six judges of the Supreme Court found that the mandatory nature of the death sentence as provided for under Section 204 of the Penal Code is unconstitutional.

The court led by Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu, Justices Jackton Ojwang’, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u and Isaac Lenaola, said a person facing the death sentence is most deserving to be heard in mitigation because of the finality of the sentence.

According to the judges, during mitigation, the offender’s version of events may be heavy with pathos necessitating the court to consider an aspect that may have been unclear during the trial process.

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