Court to continue with death sentence convictions

Courts will continue to commit capital offenders to death sentences until 2019 when the State Law office is expected to adopt a new law regarding capital punishments.

Power of Mercy Committee chief executive Micheal Kagika said today that the office of the Attorney General has started seeking public and expert opinions on having an alternative prescription of punishing capital offences.

Mr Kagika admitted that while there has been need to abolish death row convictions, there has been conflict of contentious laws within the constitution that needed to be addressed first.

He said that the convicts are at the mercy of the president who can invoke article 133 of the constitution to commute the inmates or pardon them for release.

“The process we are in may run up to 2019 when we expect to have a clear prescription on whether to abolish death row sentences or not,” said Mr Kagika.

He was speaking during an expert meeting on the death penalty and public opinion held at the Intercontinental Hotel.

The experts are expected to come up with resolutions that will prescribe alternative punishments and abolish the death penalty.

While addressing the same forum, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) chairperson Kwagiria Mbogori appealed to the Attorney General to speed up the process saying that it was torturous and inhuman to subject anyone to a death sentence.

She welcomed the president’s decision to commute death convicts to life imprisonment even as she emphasized on the need of its abolishment.

“The president did what many would expect of him but we appeal to the AG to move with speed change the law,” said Ms Mbogori.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta commuted 2747death sentences to life jail terms.

The number includes 2,655 men and 92 women, who will be removed from death row to serve life sentences.

Another commutation of death sentences to life imprisonment was made in 2009 by then President Mwai Kibaki.

Invoking the Power of Mercy provided for under Article 133 of the Constitution, President Kenyatta also signed a pardon warrant and released 102 long-term serving convicts.

The reprieve for the 102 convicts came after a thorough vetting by the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee.

The Power of Mercy is a prerogative power conferred on the President by the Constitution and entails granting pardon to reformed and rehabilitated convicted criminal offenders deserving early release from prison.

 

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