A two-day conference on the abolition and moratorium of the death penalty
ended, yesterday, in Kigali, with several speakers reiterating the need to
abolish the ultimate capital punishment.
The death penalty has been described as inhuman, cruel and degrading and a violation of human dignity and the right to life. Rwanda abolished
this form of capital punishment in 2007.
Several countries across the world have abolished the death penalty. However, in some countries, this form of callous punishment still stands with many convicts executed every year,.
After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Government resisted the pressure to apply the death penalty as a punishment for the key perpetrators.
The decision has since proved to be worthwhile considering the remarkable level of unity and reconciliation the country has since pulled off.
Restorative justice including abolition of capital punishment has proved the best way out. The abolition of the death penalty in Rwanda was an act of foresight and wisdom on the part of the country’s leadership.
Studies have shown that execution of offenders does not bring closure and
healing to those affected by their crimes. Rwanda, has achieved tremendous levels of closure and healing following the Genocide, without applying the death penalty.
This experience is therefore a powerful lesson on the need for countries to abolish the death penalty.