Worry over death sentence resumption in DRC


Death penalty

from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
DRC Bureau
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THERE is opposition to the reinstatement of the death sentence by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It has emerged that the administration in the volatile Central African country wants to resume executions, after a hiatus of two decades, in a bid to combat armed groups and gang violence.

Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, said the decision to reinstate executions was a gross injustice for people sentenced to death in the DRC and shows a callous disregard for the right to life.

“It is a huge step backwards for the country and a further sign that the Tshisekedi administration is backtracking on its commitment to respect human rights.”

President Felix Tshisekedi’s government is battling a rebellion that is mostly ravaging eastern Congo.

Chagutah said whether those who have been sentenced to death are in the national army or police, in armed groups or have been involved in gang violence, everyone has a right to life and for that right to be protected.

“This heartless decision will endanger the lives of hundreds of people who have been sentenced to death, including those who were put on death row following unfair trials and politically motivated charges.”

DRC’s justice system is denounced as inefficient and ineffective.

Tshisekedi has been quoted as describing it as “sick.”

“The government’s appalling move means many innocent people are now at risk of execution,” Chagutah said.

“This is even more alarming given the ongoing crackdown on political opponents, human rights activists and journalists.”

Amnesty views the death penalty as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

“The government of the DRC must immediately halt any plans to resume executions and establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.”

The last known executions in DRC took place in 2003.

– CAJ News

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