KIGALI - The British envoy to Rwanda, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, has described the death penalty as a horrendous punishment that should not be applied on any human being.
He called upon other countries to emulate Rwanda in repealing this sentence from their books of law.
The world is today, for the ninth time, marking the Day against Death Penalty, which aims at raising awareness on the inhumanity of the sentence.
Rwanda is among the countries that repealed the capital sentence from the penal code.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the envoy observed that, instead of hanging and killing people, there were many alternative punishments that can be applied, saying that death row does not only inflict extreme psychological suffering but also metes out physical and mental assault.
“Countries should emulate Rwanda on this punishment. Killing is not the only way of punishing people; there are many other ways of punishing criminals instead of taking their life,” he said.
“Rwandans should be proud of the fact that they abolished it. It’s an example to other countries and this shows the courage that Rwanda has since the Genocide.”
He pointed out that the death penalty for murder conviction in Britain was abolished in 1965, but it was not until 1998 that it was abolished for treason and piracy when the country passed the Crime and Disorder Act.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama noted that it was an important day to the country. “Rwanda finds this day important in the history of legal culture in the sense that, nine years ago, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, moved to adopt this day. Rwanda believes that death is not and should not be a policy towards its citizens that’s why we abolished it,” the minister noted.
He highlighted the fact that the day comes at the time when Rwanda is preparing to host a continental conference to discuss the abolition of death penalty.
The two-day international meet is due to commence on Thursday.