Executions stall but death penalty verdicts continue
Publish date: 07 October 2019
Issue Number: 844
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A recent witchcraft trial in Tanzania has led to another seven people being added to the well over 500 convicts believed to be on death row. The case illustrates the difficult position in which Tanzanian courts find themselves: the death penalty is still applicable to murder and a few other serious offences and just three months ago the High Court declared it was unable to change the law in relation to the death penalty. This despite the country's President, John Magufuli, declaring that he would be unable to sign the documents required for anyone to be actually executed, writes Carmel Rickard in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site. He would find it just too difficult to do so, he said. So, while capital punishment has not been carried out for the past 25 years, the courts continue to pass the death penalty, and the numbers of condemned prisoners continues to grow.