1st Edition

The Death Penalty in Africa
The Path Towards Abolition

ISBN 9781138279513
Published November 17, 2016 by Routledge
252 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

Human development is not simply about wealth and economic well-being, it is also dependent upon shared values that cherish the sanctity of human life. Using comparative methods, archival research and quantitative findings, this book explores the historical and cultural background of the death penalty in Africa, analysing the law and practice of the death penalty under European and Asian laws in Africa before independence. Showing progressive attitudes to punishment rooted in both traditional and modern concepts of human dignity, Aimé Muyoboke Karimunda assesses the ground on which the death penalty is retained today. Providing a full and balanced appraisal of the arguments, the book presents a clear and compelling case for the total abolition of the death penalty throughout Africa. This book is essential reading for human rights lawyers, legal anthropologists, historians, political analysts and anyone else interested in promoting democracy and the protection of fundamental human rights in Africa.



Dr Aimé Muyoboke Karimunda is Senior Lecturer at the School of Law of the University of Rwanda, Advisor to the Deputy Chief Justice of Rwanda and Visiting Lecturer for the Institute of Legal Practice and Development (ILPD). He previously was Lecturer and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Kigali Independent University (from 2003-2012). He has also been a member of the Rwandan High Judicial Council (from 2007 to 2010) and Legal Advisor to the Minister of Health between 2001 and 2003.


’While countries in North America and Asia who claim to provide moral leadership to the world still strangle and poison to death people on judicial order, nearly three quarters of African countries have either by law or in practice abolished capital punishment. This comprehensively researched and critically engaged book explains the historical context in which abolition in Africa has advanced.’ Hon. Justice Albie Sachs, Former Constitutional Judge of the South African Constitutional Court ’This is the most comprehensive and analytical study on the death penalty in Africa so far. It is both useful and inspiring, and should be read by all scholars and activists interested in the abolition of the death penalty in Africa and around the world.’ Jean-Marie Kamatali, Ohio Northern University Law School, USA ’The Death Penalty in Africa presents another valuable contribution from African scholarship. The work challenges stereotypes by showing Africa as a highly diverse continent, and arguing for the uncomfortable truth of how for a century the death penalty has been used as an instrument of political oppression.’ Roelof H. Haveman, senior rule of law policy advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands ’This seminal work interrogates a few myths surrounding the origins of capital punishment on the African continent. It goes further in providing empirical evidence for its leaders to revisit their stance against abolition. This work constitutes a major contribution to human rights, not just for Africa but internationally.’ Vinodh Jaichand, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa ’This study provides a balanced approach to the abolition of the death penalty in Africa. It presents a very important and commendable study not only for the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights and its Working Group on the death penalty, but also to African civil society, academics, researchers and decision-makers whose fight is, amo