Towards the abolition of the death penalty in Uganda: (an analysis of the implications of the Susan Kugula case)

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Kampala International University.College of Law
The researcher embarked on the research topic: An analysis of the implications of the SUSAN KIGULA CASE; The study investigates two issues related to Uganda perception about the abolition of the death penalty and also discusses the implications and imports of the Kigula Case- a special type of ruling on the subject in Uganda. In the researcher’s report there is an introduction of the death penalty and its background in Uganda. The researcher looks at the background in Uganda and the rest of the world in general, had an opportunity to look at the current literature and the different view points i.e. literature of the death penalty generally and in Uganda in particular, and conducted field study, desk study and the findings have been included and summarized in chapter four- Data analysis, Interpretation and Presentation. conclusions have been drawn and it is hoped hoped that another researcher may start from there for further research. Given the world trend, it will not be long for the death penalty to be abolished entirely from the Ugandan statute books. It is the researcher’s view that people live and work in a global village — and Uganda is part of this global village. Uganda cannot afford to work in isolation. The modern evolving standards of decency cannot leave Uganda out. The researcher agrees with the world wide trend and majority views concerning the death penalty that it is no longer viable. The sooner the death penalty is abolished, the better. The researcher concluded by stating that the death penalty has outlived its useful purpose The researcher found that more than 2/3 of the world have abolished the death penalty — in law and practice. Even the 50 countries that have retained the death penalty, have not used it in 2009. It was only 18 countries that (included China) used it in the same year. The researcher reviewed different literature of different authors with diverse views on the death penalty. Some of those reviewed included; The death penalty debate by Hon. Justice Anthony Bahati, Chairman of the Law Reform of Tanzania, Robin M. Maher, “The death penalty and reform in the USA; The people decide by Leah Ambler, John MCdams views on the deterrents among others. Following the research design, the researcher embarked on the analysis of the Susan Kigula case and its implication on the Ugandan laws. The researcher first looked at the legal provisions governing the death penalty in Uganda — both in civil and military courts, and a list of offences that attract the death penalty. The researcher also looked at the international human rights instruments and how they impart on Ugandan court system. The researcher found that most of the people interviewed were in favour of the death xv penalty. This was no sui~rise in a countly where mob justice is ve~ common even for the slightest offence. The death penalty is constitutional in Uganda but the court’s judicial notice on the international trend for abolition and the advice to the law makers to consider the abolition of the death penalty is indeed encouraging. The researcher was able to identify a number of elements inconsistent with the international human rights obligation of Uganda in the context of the administration of the death penalty. Great attention has been focused on the abolition of the death penalty the world over. The abolionists have failed to consider the plight of the victims families. The victims have also human rights which were cut short by deliberate criminal behavior. Many writers and researchers are of the view that the death penalty has no deterrent effect. In the researcher’s view this is debatable. The researcher concludes that death penalty in Uganda (in light of what has transpired) will soon be abolished. How soon this will depend on how the government and other stakeholders will act; — namely sensitize the public. But until that is done, the hardened attitude of the populace may take long to soften.
Thesis presented to the School of Postgraduate Studies and Research Kampala International University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of master of Laws
Abolition, Death, Penalty, Uganda