February 28, 2024

CSO praises Weah gov’t for Abolishing Death Penalty

Calls on both houses of National Legislature without delay to support the gov’t effort by enacting the law.

The Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia has issued a press statement on the Abolition of the Death Penalty by the Liberian government. According to the CSO Platform, after cycles nearly 15 years of the United Nations Human Rights Council-Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, Liberia has accepted to abolish the death penalty.

In May 2022, the government of Liberia in a communication to the national legislature by President George Manneh Weah submitted a bill for the enactment of a law to abolish the death penalty and death sentence, a moved which is highly commendable and in line with international best practices and a cleared commitment to the UPR recommendations accepted by the government of Liberia.

It can be recorded, that in 2005, Liberia acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Under the Protocol, Liberia was required to impose a moratorium on executions and amend its laws to eliminate the death penalty (ending Capital Punishment).

Under the 2008 criminal procedure law amendment, Liberia reintroduced the death penalty only for armed robbery, terrorism, and hijacking, resulting in death, including other offenses, such as murder, and treason which had been death-eligible under the 1976 law.  The courts may have construed the 1976 Penal Code as unaffected by the 2005 accession to the Second Optional Protocol. The courts continue to hand down death penalties for offenses such as murder, although no execution of death has taken place since 2008.

The immediate action by the government if enacted by the national legislature, before the next World Congress on the abolition of the death penalty settled in November 2022, Liberia will be rank next to Sierra Leone as the 24th country on the African continent and the 111th country in the world to abolish the death penalty. This will be a milestone for Liberia’s human rights record.

According to the Human Rights Organization, there is no place for the death penalty, the death penalty violates the right to life which happens to be the most basic of all human rights. It also violates the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment.

The release further that the death penalty undermines human dignity which is inherent to every human being. The death penalty doesn’t prevent crimes, no study shows the death penalty is effective in preventing crimes. Execution is not the solution, “we can live without the death penalty, execute justice, rather than people, death penalty kills people, not a crime, death is not a sentence, and it’s a full stop.”

The CSO welcomes the decision to abolish the death penalty by the government of Liberia and also applauds the Minister of Justice Cllr. Frank Musa Dean Jr for his tireless effort toward the abolition.

“We, therefore, call on both houses of the national legislature (senate and representatives) without delay to support the government effort by enacting the law that put an end to capital punishment thereby returning Liberia back to an Abolitionist State.”

About Author