A Case for the abolition of the death penalty
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Kenya has had the death penalty through 70 years of colonization and 54 years of independence. The punishment is handed down to capital offenders and although no one has ever been hanged in Kenya since 1982 the number of death row inmates is quite high. The death penalty involves the deprivation of the supreme right to life. A right which is protected under article 3 of the universal declaration of human rights, l article 6 of the ICCPR,2 article 4 of the ACHPR3 and article 26 of the Kenyan constitution.4 Thus its existence not only violates the human right to life but also international norms and standards and human rights law. This paper will provide a case for the abolition of the death penalty by suggesting that the death penalty does not mitigate nor deter crime, that it infringes on the right to life and amounts to human torture, a practice that has no place in our modem society, that without a fool proof justice system, the risk of executing innocent persons cannot be ruled out and Such a miscarriage of justice would be permanent and finally that the is an alternative to the death penalty which is reform and rehabilitation. The study mainly relied on case law, internet articles and various international and domestic legislation. It was mainly conducted through a desktop research and the use of books. This study found that there existed no evidence that the death penalty deters crime in Kenya. It also found that the death penalty infringes on the basic human right to life and amounts to torture. It also found that instances of miscarriages in justice have been quite numerous in the world. Many have been the times that scores of innocent persons have been wrongfully executed. This paper also found that there exist alternatives to the death penalty. It found that rehabilitation and reform have the possibility of changing some. This paper recommends that Kenya should with immediate effect ratify the second optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that aims towards the abolishment of the death penalty. It further recommends that Parliament makes the necessary amendments to the constitution and the penal code to abolish the death penalty from Kenya completely.