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Death sentences and executions in 2013 41

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Developments in Sub-Saharan Africa revealed a mixed picture. Executions were only carried out in a small minority of countries, and death sentences were reported in fewer than half of all states in the region. However, Nigeria resumed executions and there was a marked increase in the number of executions reported for Somalia. Several countries appear to be moving towards abolition. In Benin, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, on-going constitutional review processes created real opportunities for permanent abolition of capital punishment. Draft penal codes that would abolish the death penalty were under consideration in Benin and Comoros. The Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo accepted recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council to abolish the death penalty and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Guinea-Bissau ratified, and Angola signed, that treaty. The Ministers of Justice in Tanzania and Zimbabwe spoke out in favour of abolition. However, the death penalty was retained in the Constitution adopted in Zimbabwe.

EXECUTIONS AND DEATH SENTENCES IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA At least 64 executions were carried out in five countries. Judicial executions continued in Botswana (1), Somalia (34+; Federal Government (FG): 15+, Puntland: 19+), South Sudan (4+) and Sudan (21+); they were resumed in Nigeria (4), in the first known executions since 2006. This is a rise by more than half over 2012, when 41 executions were reported (also in five countries), mainly because of the high number of reported executions in Somalia in 2013. Amnesty International recorded at least 423 death sentences in 19 countries: Burkina Faso (1+), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, 26+), Ethiopia (8+), Gambia (4), Ghana (14), Kenya (11+), Lesotho (1+), Liberia (1), Mali (7+), Mauritania (2+), Niger (12), Nigeria (141+), Sierra Leone (1), Somalia (117+; FG: 8+, Puntland: 81+, Somaliland: 28+), South Sudan (16+), Sudan (29+), Tanzania (7+), Zambia (9+) and Zimbabwe (16). The overall number of confirmed death sentences in the region appeared to have slightly decreased from 449 in 2012 (2011: 254), also in 19 countries (2011: 25), despite the fact that reported death sentences for Nigeria and Somalia were much higher than in 2012. The emerging picture is one of opposing developments, in which a small minority of the countries in the region increased their use of the death penalty – both death sentences and executions – while most are using it less. Three countries – Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan – accounted for more than 90% of all reported executions and two thirds of all reported death sentences. The vast majority of death sentences were imposed for murder. However, the scope of the death penalty in the laws of many countries is much wider and includes crimes such as armed robbery (Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan) and rape (Somalia). Such offences do not involve intentional killings and therefore do not meet the threshold for capital crimes under international standards. Fair trial concerns in 2013 included death sentences handed down

Amnesty International March 2014

Index: ACT 50/001/2014

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

Death sentences and executions 2013  

This report is also available in Arabic, Farsi, French, Russian and Spanish at the following link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC...

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