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Death penalty. The Democratic Republic of the Congo restored it after 20 years

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo – the 11th largest country in the world – has reintroduced the death penalty for treason and banditry. This decision lifts the ban on its execution introduced in 2003. According to Amnesty International for East and Southern Africa, “in the face of an ineffective and ineffective justice system” in one of Africa's largest countries, “many innocent people now face the risk of execution.”

The reintroduction of the death penalty aims to “free our country's army from traitors and limit the increase in the number of acts of terrorism and urban banditry resulting in death,” the Minister of Justice wrote in a statement. Examples of “collaboration with the enemy” of senators, members of parliament and military officers arrested in recent weeks were cited as the reason for reintroducing the death penalty.

The decision on this matter was made by the local government on February 9. Under the law, the death penalty can be imposed in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity, espionage, rebellion and criminal conspiracy.

In the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with almost 100 million inhabitants and being the second largest country in Africa and the 11th largest in the world, bordering Rwanda and Uganda areas rich in minerals, government troops have been fighting for over two years with the rebel Congolese Revolutionary Army, known as M23 (March 23 Movement).

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“In the face of an ineffective and ineffective justice system that President Felix Tshisekedi himself has described as 'sick', the government's appalling move means that many innocent people now face execution. This is even more worrying given the ongoing crackdown on political opponents, defenders human rights and journalists,” emphasized Tigere Chagutah, Regional Director Amnesty International for East and Southern Africa. In this way, he referred to the decision of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Death penalty in African countries

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is returning to the death penalty, while many countries on the continent are abandoning it. In February this year the government of Zimbabwe announced its abolition. The most serious crimes there will now be punished with long prison sentences. The last execution in this country was carried out in 2005.

This year, Zambia and the Central African Republic also announced their intention to abolish the death penalty.

In July 2023, it introduced the abolition of the death penalty for common crimes Ghanawhich has not reached for it for the past 30 years.

So far, 22 member countries of the African Union have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and one for common crimes. In 2021, only four countries of this organization carried out executions: Botswana, Egypt, Somalia and Sudan South.

Seventeen African countries consider themselves “de facto abolitionist”, that is, where no executions have been carried out in 10 years. It is in the group of these countries Kenya. The government in Nairobi still formally retains the death penalty by hanging, but Kenya has not carried out executions since 1987, when two people were executed for trying to overthrow President Daniel Moi in 1982.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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