EU delegation asks govt to abolish death penalty

Wednesday October 13 2021

Uganda last conducted civilian executions in 1999 while the last military execution was in 2005.

By Benson Tumusiime

The European Union delegation has urged the government and Parliament to abolish the death penalty in criminal matters.

“Capital punishment has no place in any part of the world. It has no established deterrent effect and it makes judicial errors irreversible,” Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, the head of European delegation to Uganda, said during celebrations to mark  the International Day for the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Kampala on Monday.

Mr Pacifici added that history has also shown that death penalty does not deter crime and its abolition has also not led to a spike in crime.

“All EU-member states have abolished death penalty, and EU is actively pursuing abolition of the death penalty at the global level,” he said.

Uganda last conducted civilian executions in 1999 while the last military execution was in 2005. 

Mr Pacifici lauded the delay in enforcing the death penalty.


“On October 5, 2017, when I visited Luzira prison for a solidarity visit together with my European colleagues, there were 160 people on death row in Uganda —154 men and six women,” he said.

“Today, there are 123 inmates on death row, three are women. It is an improvement, but the total number is still very high,”  the ambassador said.

Ms Doreen Kyazze, the director of sub-Saharan Africa, said only 16 states in Africa still have the death penalty in their laws.

The continent recorded 25 per cent executions in 2020, and death sentences dropped from 325 to 304 the same year.

Mr Ssubi Kiwanuka, the acting government spokesperson, said Uganda’s laws were reviewed and the Supreme Court had a position where [it] did not abolish the death penalty. 

He added that the court instead reviewed how [the death penalty] should be operationalised with judges having discretion on how to impose it.

At the same function, Ambassador Pacifici launched a report titled, ‘Women Who Kill in the Context of Domestic vVolence in Uganda.’

 The report targeted girls and women aged 18 to 60 convicted for murder and manslaughter in Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Masaka, Mbarara, Soroti , Mbale, Kabarole, Bushenyi and Wakiso districts. 

The research shows that 19 per cent of the women who participated in the survey killed a male partner or family member. 

The report also shows that 64 per cent of the women incarcerated are either charged or convicted of manslaughter or murder while 26 per cent are charged or convicted of a homicide involving and intimate partner.