Death Penalty Database

Tanzania

Information current as of: July 10, 2015

General

Official Country Name

United Republic of Tanzania (Tanzania). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Eastern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution was carried out in 1994. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]
Executions are to be carried out within a prison precinct in the presence of prison officers, a medical officer and a religious minister. [5]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Tanzania Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095827, May 21, 2013.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Oct. 31, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Tanzania: executions / fear of further executions, AFR 56/002/1994, Nov. 30, 1994. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013. Rose Athumani, Tanzania: Death Row Inmates Keep Increasing, AllAfrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404030248.html, Apr. 3, 2014.
[4] Criminal Procedure Code Act of Tanzania, art. 322, Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985. Penal Code of Tanzania, art. 26(1), Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[5] Prisons Act of Tanzania, art. 31, Act No. 34 of 1967, Aug. 9, 1967, as last amended by Act No. 29 of 1968.

Country Details

Language(s)

The major languages are English and Swahili. [1]

Population

47,600,000 (U.N. 2012). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

Around 472.

According to information obtained from Tanzania Prison Services by the Legal and Human Rights Center, a Tanzanian NGO, in 2015 there were 472 individuals under sentence of death, 452 men and 20 women. [3]

In recent years, the number of new death sentences known to have been imposed has fluctuated. While for most years the number of death sentences has stayed in the single digits, with at least 3 new death sentences reported in 2012, [4] 7 in 2013 [5] and at least 5 in 2015, [6] in 2014 the number of new death sentences surged to 91. [7] Amnesty International attributed at least part of this surge to authorities providing more complete data. [8]

(This question was last updated on April 26, 2016.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on October 18, 2017)

0. [9]

Executions in 2016

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions.

Executions in 2012

0. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions.

Executions in 2011

0. [15]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions.

Executions in 2010

0. [16]

Executions in 2009

0. [17]

Executions in 2008

0. [18]

Executions in 2007

0. [19]

Year of Last Known Execution

1994. [20]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Tanzania Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095827, May 21, 2013.
[2] BBC, Country Profiles: Tanzania Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095827, May 21, 2013.
[3] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2015, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/userfiles/file/TANZANIA%20HUMAN%20RIGHTS%202015.pdf, 2016.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[9] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[10] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[11] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Execution in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, April 15, 2008.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Tanzania: executions / fear of further executions, AFR 56/002/1994, Nov. 30, 1994. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013. Rose Athumani, Tanzania: Death Row Inmates Keep Increasing, AllAfrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404030248.html, Apr. 3, 2014.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder.
Under the Tanzania Penal Code, causing the death of the victim with “malice aforethought,” which can be established by the intent to cause death or knowledge that the act will likely cause death, is punishable by death. [1] Murdering the President is punishable by death. [2]

In Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region, the Penal Decree Act provides the death penalty for murder. A person who causes the death of the victim with “malice aforethought” is guilty of murder and subject to the death penalty in Zanzibar. [3]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
In Tanzania, some offenses resulting in death of the victim are punishable as murder and carry the death penalty, even where there was no intent to kill the victim. These include the following offenses: (1) causing the death of a person with the intent to cause “grievous harm” to any person; (2) causing the death of a person with the intent to commit another serious offense (defined in Tanzania as any offense which is punishable by at least three years of imprisonment, and in Zanzibar as a “felony”); (3) causing the death of a person with the intent to facilitate flight or escape from custody; and (4) causing the death of any person while intending to cause the death of another. [4]

Treason.
Under the Tanzania Penal Code, the following offenses are categorized as treason and punishable by death: attempting to murder the President; waging war against the State; instigating or participating in deposing, wounding, imprisoning, or killing the President; manifesting the intention to unlawfully overthrow the government or intimidate the executive, the legislature, or the judiciary; aiding the enemy of the State; instigating the invasion of the State; and taking up arms against the State. [5]

In Zanzibar, the Penal Decree Act also provides the death penalty for treason. [6] Entering the country to organize a counter-revolution is punishable by death. [7]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Under the National Defense Act of 2002, some military-related offenses are reportedly punishable by death. [8] We were not able to locate a copy of this statute by the end of our research.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Mutiny by prison officers: In Tanzania, any prison officer who takes part in a mutiny using violence or the threat of violence, or incites any prison officer to do so, is punishable by death. [9]

Abortion: In Zanzibar, causing the death of a “child before it has an existence independent of its mother” with “intent to destroy the life of a child capable of being born alive” is deemed guilty of murder and punishable by death. [10] Prima facie proof that the child was capable of being born alive is established if the woman reaches 28 weeks of pregnancy. [11] An exception is allowed for abortions performed by a doctor to save the woman’s life. [12]

Comments.
Zanzibar, governed by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, is an autonomous part of the United Republic of Tanzania. [13] Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania have a separate executive, legislature, and judiciary, as well as different Constitutions and penal codes. [14]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. The language of the provisions suggests that while those convicted of treason may face a discretionary death penalty (“liable” to suffer death), [15] murder and offenses assimilated to murder (i.e. homicides committed without an intent to kill) carry the mandatory death penalty (“shall be sentenced to death”). [16] The Interpretation of Laws Act provides that the word “shall” must be interpreted as an imperative. [17] Moreover, we did not find any general provisions allowing for mitigation of the sentence for murder, and the Death Penalty Project reports that it is working with the Legal and Human Rights Centre and the Tanganyika Law Society to prepare a legal challenge to the mandatory death penalty in Tanzania. A petition was pending hearing before the courts at the time of our research. [18]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Murder.
In Tanzania, the language of the law indicates that murder carries the mandatory death penalty (“shall be sentenced to death”). [19] The Interpretation of Laws Act provides that the word “shall” must be interpreted as an imperative. [20]

In Zanzibar, the legislative language also suggests that the death penalty may be mandatory for murder (“shall be sentenced to death”). [21]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
In Tanzania, some offenses resulting in death of the victim are punishable as murder and carry the death penalty, even where there was no intent to kill the victim. These include the following offenses: (1) causing the death of a person with the intent to cause “grievous harm” to any person; (2) causing the death of a person with the intent to commit another serious offense (defined in Tanzania as any offense which is punishable by at least three years of imprisonment, and in Zanzibar as a “felony”); (3) causing the death of a person with the intent to facilitate flight or escape from custody; and (4) causing the death of any person while intending to cause the death of another. [22] The language of the provisions indicates that these offenses carry the mandatory death penalty (“shall be sentenced to death”). [23] The Tanzania Interpretation of Laws Act provides that the word “shall” must be interpreted as an imperative. [24]

Comments.
A report by the Legal and Human Rights Centre confirms that murder is the sole offense that carries the mandatory death penalty. [25]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None. Tanzania has not executed anyone since 1994. [26]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
The Tanzania Penal Code provides that a “[s]entence of death shall not be pronounced on or recorded against any person who, in the opinion of the court, is under eighteen years of age” [27] Reportedly, section 305(2) of the Zanzibar Criminal Procedure Act of 2004 also mandates that individuals cannot be sentenced to death for crimes committed while under the age of 18. [28]

This conforms with Tanzania’s international obligations as party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18. [29]

Pregnant Women.
The Tanzania Penal Code provides that pregnant women may not be executed. [30] Reportedly, under section 305(2) of the Zanzibar Criminal Procedure Act of 2004, pregnant women cannot be sentenced to death. [31]

This conforms with Tanzania’s international obligations as party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which prohibit the execution of pregnant women. [32]

Women With Small Children.
Tanzania is party to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [33] which prohibits executions of nursing mothers. We did not, however, find any national legislation excluding nursing mothers from execution. In Tanzania, ratified treaties must be incorporated into the domestic legal system to be relied upon in domestic courts. [34]

On the other hand, the Constitution of Zanzibar states that “[a]ll [g]overnment organs shall and its servants be follow and adhere the international treaties on human rights and good governance.” [35] It is therefore possible that nursing mothers may be excluded from executions falling under the jurisdiction of Zanzibar.

Mentally Ill.
The Criminal Procedure Act states that “if it appears to the court that the accused did the act or made the commission charged but was insane so as not to be responsible for his action at the time the act was done or the omission was made, the court shall make a special finding to the effect that the accused did the act or made the omission charged but by reason of his insanity, as aforesaid, is not guilty of the offence.” [36] The Penal Code also indicates that “[a] person is not criminally responsible for an act…if at the time of doing the act… he is through any disease affecting his mind incapable of understanding what he is doing, or of knowing that he ought not to do the act…” [37]

The Zanzibar Penal Decree Act of 2004 states that “[a] person is not criminally responsible for an act…if at the time of doing the act…he is through any disease affecting his mind incapable of understanding what he is doing…” [38]

We found no laws prohibiting the execution of prisoners who are mentally ill at the time the sentence is to be carried out.

Comments.
Tanzania’s Constitution does not make international treaties national law; additional legislation may be required before courts will apply obligations under international treaties. [39]

References

[1] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[2] Penal Code of Tanzania, art. 39, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[3] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, arts. 196, 197, Aug. 16, 2004.
[4] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007. Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, arts. 196, 199, Aug. 16, 2004.
[5] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 39-40, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[6] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 28, Aug. 16, 2004.
[7] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 29, Aug. 16, 2004.
[8] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[9] Prisons Act of Tanzania, art. 87(3), Act No. 34 of 1967, Aug. 9, 1967, as last amended by Act No. 29 of 1968.
[10] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 217(1), Aug. 16, 2004.
[11] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 217(2), Aug. 16, 2004.
[12] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 217(1), Aug. 16, 2004.
[13] Christabel Manning & Seka Kasera, Update: Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Tanzania1.htm, Aug./Sep. 2010.
[14] Christabel Manning & Seka Kasera, Update: Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Tanzania1.htm, Aug./Sep. 2010. Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007. Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, arts. 196, 199, Aug. 16, 2004.
[15] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 39-40, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[16] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196-197, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[17] Interpretation of Laws Act of Tanzania, art. 53(2), Act No. 4 of 1996, Jun. 17, 1996, as last amended by Act No. 17 of 1996.
[18] The Death Penalty Project, Tanzania, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/where-we-operate/africa/tanzania/, last accessed Apr. 11, 2014.
[19] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196-197, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[20] Interpretation of Laws Act of Tanzania, art. 53(2), Act No. 4 of 1996, Jun. 17, 1996, as last amended by Act No. 17 of 1996.
[21] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, arts. 196, 197, Aug. 16, 2004.
[22] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007. Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, arts. 196, 199, Aug. 16, 2004.
[23] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 196-197, 200, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[24] Interpretation of Laws Act of Tanzania, art. 53(2), Act No. 4 of 1996, Jun. 17, 1996, as last amended by Act No. 17 of 1996.
[25] Clarence Kipobota & Sarah Louw, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2008: Progress Through Human Rights, p. 28, Legal and Human Rights Centre, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Tanzania_HumanRights_Report_2008.pdf, Apr. 2009.
[26] Amnesty Intl., Tanzania: executions / fear of further executions, AFR 56/002/1994, Nov. 30, 1994. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013. Rose Athumani, Tanzania: Death Row Inmates Keep Increasing, AllAfrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404030248.html , Apr. 3, 2014.
[27] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 26(2), Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[28] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 304, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[29] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014. Convention on the Rights of the Child Status, Declarations, and Reservations,1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014.
[30] Penal Code of Tanzania, arts. 197, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[31] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 304, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[32] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014.
[33] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014.
[34] Aniceth Gaitan & Bernhard Kuschnik, Tanzania’s death penalty debate: An epilogue on Republic v Mbushuu, p. 467, African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, 2009.
[35] The Constitution of Zanzibar 1984, art. 10(9), Jan. 12, 1985, as amended through to 2002.
[36] Criminal Procedure Act of Tanzania, art. 219(2), Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985, as last amended by Act No. 27 of 2008.
[37] Penal Code of Tanzania, art. 13, Sep. 28, 1945, as last amended by Act No. 19 of 2007.
[38] Zanzibar Penal Decree, Act No. 6 of 2004, art. 12(1), Aug. 16, 2004.
[39] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977, as amended through Jun. 30, 1995. According to two scholars, in Tanzania ratified treaties must be “incorporated into the domestic legal system to be relied upon in domestic courts.” Aniceth Gaitan & Bernhard Kuschnik, Tanzania’s death penalty debate: An epilogue on Republic v Mbushuu, p. 467, African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, 2009.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

June 11, 1976. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [8]

Date of Accession

February 18, 1984. [9]

Signed?

Yes. [10]

Date of Signature

May 31, 1982. [11]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [12]

Date of Accession

March 3, 2007. [13]

Signed?

Yes. [14]

Date of Signature

November 5, 2003. [15]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [16]

Date of Accession

March 16, 2003. [17]

Signed?

Yes. [18]

Date of Signature

October 23, 1998. [19]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [20]

Vote

Abstained. [21]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [22]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [23]

Vote

Abstained. [24]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [25]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [26]

Vote

Abstained. [27]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [28]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [29]

Vote

Abstained. [30]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [31]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [32]

Vote

Abstained. [33]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [34]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [35]

Vote

Abstained. [36]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [37]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[9] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[10] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[11] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[17] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[18] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[19] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Jul. 9, 2015.
[20] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[21] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[22] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[23] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[24] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[25] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[28] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[31] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc.A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[34] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms,U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[36] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[37] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Constitution provides: “Every person has the right to live and to the protection of his life by the society in accordance with law.” [1] Other provisions prohibit the derogation of the right to life under the state’s extraordinary powers and discuss political rights after a person has been sentenced to death. [2] It stipulates that “any person shall be qualified for election or appointment as a Member of Parliament if he…has been convicted by any court in the United Republic and sentenced to death…for any offence however styled involving dishonesty.” [3] It is possible that the term “qualified” is a misprint and that individuals sentenced to death for an offense involving dishonesty is disqualified from running for MP.

The Constitution of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region, states that “[e]very person has the right to the preservation of his life” and “[e]very person has the right to live and to the protection of his life by the society in accordance with the law.” It also prohibits “for a person to be tortured, inhumanly punished or to be given punishment which are degrading and humiliating.” [4] It further provides that the House of Representatives “may enact a law for the purposes for making provisions enabling a Member of the House of Representatives to appeal in accordance with the law…against a sentence of death…” [5]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

No. [6] Furthermore, Tanzania’s Constitution does not automatically make international treaties national law; additional legislation may be required before courts will apply obligations under international treaties. [7]

The Constitution of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region, states that all government organs shall follow and adhere to international treaties on human rights and good governance. [8]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

No executions have been carried out since 1994, [9] and recent years have seen a number of commutations - for instance, in 2009, when the president commuted the sentences of 75 death row prisoners. [10] Nevertheless, Tanzanian courts continue to hand down death sentences (at least 7 in 2013, [11] 3 in 2012, [12] at least 1 in 2011, [13] at least 5 in 2010) [14] and the government has taken no steps towards an official moratorium. [15] A similar situation exists in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, where no executions have taken place in recent years and the executive commutes death sentences, but criminal legislation retains the death penalty. [16]

The legal abolition of capital punishment has been brought up several times during recent debates on the drafting of a new constitution for Tanzania. A bill launching a constitutional review process was signed into law in November 2011, and the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister stated that the review would include the compatibility of the death penalty with the constitutional guarantee of the right to life. [17] In 2013, Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs Mathias Chikawe proposed the removal of the death penalty from the new Constitution, noting that innocent people could be sentenced to death and that the death penalty neither deters crime nor reforms criminals. [18] However, the second draft of the Constitution presented in December 2013 included articles assigning the President the power to endorse an execution or commute a death sentence. [19]

In March 2008 and April 2009, the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania, at the request of the government, reported on the debate surrounding capital punishment and recommended abolition. [20]

In its national report to the Human Rights Council, Tanzania indicated that public opinion regarding the death penalty remains divided, with the majority of the people favoring its retention. [21] On the other hand, a differently-phrased survey conducted by the Legal and Human Rights Centre indicated that 76% of the respondents admitted that the death penalty is “not a good punishment” while 74% of the respondents recommended life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty. [22]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

We found no reports of an official moratorium on executions in Tanzania or the semi-autonomous Zanzibar region, although no death sentence has been carried out since 1994 [23] and many death sentences have been commuted. [24] The government acknowledged to the UN Human Rights Council that a de facto moratorium was in place. [25]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

In the 1994 case of Republic v. Mbushuu, Mwalusanya J. of the High Court issued a seminal decision that found the death penalty unconstitutional as a violation of the right to dignity (art. 13(6)(d)), the right to be free of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment (art. 13(6)(e)) and the right to life (art. 14). The court held that capital punishment is inherently cruel, inhuman, and degrading and violates the right to dignity of a person. [26] The court also concluded that hanging as a method of execution is sordid, debasing and brutalizing and violates these constitutional protections. [27] In addition, the High Court determined that lengthy delays in executions constitute inhumane treatment, noting that the harshness of death row conditions combined with inordinate delays frequently lead to “pronounced mental deterioration.” [28] The High Court found that death row prisoners “are treated as non-humans whose rights are subject to the whim of the supervising administration” [29] and concluded that not only the final act of hanging but also the “protracted torment” inflicted upon the prisoner prior to execution constitute cruel and degrading punishment and offend the right to dignity. [30] Although the constitutional right to life is not absolute, the court reasoned that that capital punishment did not lawfully infringe on the right to life and was thus not “saved” under art. 30(2) of the constitution. In coming to this conclusion, the court cited the uncertain deterrence value of the death penalty, [31] its arbitrary application, [32] the great risk of judicial error given that most defendants receive poor legal representation, [33] and the availability of less cruel forms of execution. [34] The court rejected the notion of retribution as “negat[ing] the modern concepts of penology.” [35] The decision did not touch on the mandatory nature of capital punishment for murder, but the court sentenced the two defendants in this case to life imprisonment instead of the mandatory death penalty. [36]

A year later, the Court of Appeal of Tanzania (the country’s highest appellate court) overturned the High Court’s finding of unconstitutionality. The Court of Appeal agreed that capital punishment “has elements of torture” [37] and violates the prohibition on inhuman and degrading punishments. It also agreed that hanging is an inhuman and degrading method of execution. [38] The court went on, however, to find that capital punishment is saved under art. 30(2) of the constitution on the grounds that it is not arbitrary (capital defendants benefit from a full trial and appeal), has a legitimate object (protects society from killings through deterrence), and is reasonably necessary. [39] The court further noted that the death penalty was permissible under international human rights instruments [40] and concluded that capital punishment is constitutional.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal in Mubushuu referred to international and regional human rights instruments and court decisions of other countries to provide “valuable information and guidance in interpreting the basic rights” of the Tanzanian constitution. [41]

Other potentially significant cases concerning capital punishment remain pending. In October 2008, the Legal and Human Rights Centre, in collaboration with the SAHRINGON Tanzania Chapter and the Tanganyika Law Society, filed a case at the High Court challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty. [42] The case remains before the courts. [43] Moreover, the Death Penalty Project reports that it is working with the Legal and Human Rights Centre and the Tanganyika Law Society to prepare a legal challenge to the mandatory death penalty. A petition was pending hearing before the courts at the time of our research. [44]

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

The Southern African Legal Information Institute offers a database of case law from Tanzania (http://www.saflii.org/content/tanzania-index), but the database is less extensive for Tanzania than for other countries in the region.

The Tanzanian judiciary’s database (http://www.judiciary.go.tz:8081/help/index.jsp) contains judgments of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, but it is not yet comprehensive.

Case reporters published on paper are available for purchase from their publishers. East Africa Law Reports reported cases from the High Court of Tanzania and the East African Court of Appeal from 1957 to 1977. One can obtain law reports on cases up to 2007 from Law Africa Publishers (sales@lawafrica.com). The Tanzania Law Reports between 1983 and 1997 can be purchased online from saletz@lawafrica.com. [45]

What is the clemency process?

Tanzania’s Constitution provides that the President has the power to grant a pardon, respite, commutation, or remittal, while the legislature may regulate the clemency process. [46] The Criminal Procedure Act provides that once a sentence of death has been upheld on appeal (or after the sentence has not been appealed), the trial judge or magistrate must forward to the President a report of the case and evidence with a report containing observations and recommendations. The President then determines whether to issue a death warrant, commute the sentence, or pardon the offender. [47]

The President has the power to grant pardons, suspensions or commutations under the Zanzibar Constitution. In addition, the President receives clemency advice from the Presidential Advisory Committee, composed of the Attorney General and 3 to 5 other members appointed by the President, and must include at least one Minister and one doctor qualified in Zanzibar. [48]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [49]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Capital cases are tried before the High Court or by a subordinate tribunal at the High Court’s direction. Any sentence of death must be confirmed by the High Court. At the time of initial judgment, the court must inform the defendant of the period of time within which he is required to file an appeal. [50] Death sentences may be appealed to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania, the highest appellate court in the country, [51] on any ground of appeal. [52] The High Court may extend the deadline for filing notice of intention to appeal [53] as long as the warrant for execution of a death sentence has not been issued. [54]

Judgments issued by the High Court of Zanzibar are also appealed to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania.

Military tribunals try only military personnel, who reportedly may appeal to the High Court and the Court of Appeal. [55]

References

[1] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, art. 14, Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005.
[2] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, arts. 31(3), 67(2), 67(6), Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005.
[3] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, art. 67(2)(c), Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005.
[4] The Constitution of Zanzibar, art. 13, Jan. 12, 1985, as amended through to 2002.
[5] The Constitution of Zanzibar, art. 71(3), Jan. 12, 1985, as amended through to 2002.
[6] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005.
[7] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005. According to two scholars, in Tanzania ratified treaties must be “incorporated into the domestic legal system to be relied upon in domestic courts.” Aniceth Gaitan & Bernhard Kuschnik, Tanzania’s death penalty debate: An epilogue on Republic v Mbushuu, p. 467, African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, 2009.
[8] The Constitution of Zanzibar 1984, art. 10(9), Jan. 12, 1985, as amended through to 2002.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Tanzania: executions / fear of further executions, AFR 56/002/1994, Nov. 30, 1994. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013. Rose Athumani, Tanzania: Death Row Inmates Keep Increasing, AllAfrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404030248.html, Apr. 3, 2014.
[10] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2009: Incorporating Specific Part on Zanzibar, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania-human-rights-report-2009.pdf, Apr. 2010.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 46, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 53, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 34, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[15] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2009: Incorporating Specific Part on Zanzibar, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania-human-rights-report-2009.pdf, Apr. 2010. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[16] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2009: Incorporating Specific Part on Zanzibar, p. 222, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania-human-rights-report-2009.pdf, Apr. 2010.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 53, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[18] Rose Mwalongo, Chikawe recommends striking out death penalty in new constitution, IPP Media, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=59172%20, Sep. 11, 2013.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 48, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[20] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2008: Progress through Human Rights, p. xv, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2008.pdf, Apr. 2009. Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2009: Incorporating Specific Part on Zanzibar, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania-human-rights-report-2009.pdf, Apr. 2010.
[21] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: United Republic of Tanzania, para. 17, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/TZA/1, Jul. 19, 2011.
[22] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2011, pp. 16-17, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2011.pdf, 2012.
[23] Amnesty Intl., Tanzania: executions / fear of further executions, AFR 56/002/1994, Nov. 30, 1994. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013. Rose Athumani, Tanzania: Death Row Inmates Keep Increasing, AllAfrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404030248.html, Apr. 3, 2014.
[24] Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2009: Incorporating Specific Part on Zanzibar, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania-human-rights-report-2009.pdf, Apr. 2010. Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 14, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[25] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: United Republic of Tanzania, para. 17, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/TZA/1, Jul. 19, 2011.
[26] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 151-154, 162-163,[1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[27] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 152-155, 161, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[28] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 155-156, 162-163, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[29] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, p. 156, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[30] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 156, 162-163, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[31] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 164-165, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[32] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 168-170, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[33] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 165-166, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[34] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 165, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[35] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 168, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[36] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, p. 97, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995.
[37] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, p. 111, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995.
[38] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, p. 112, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995.
[39] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, pp. 112-116, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995.
[40] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, p. 117, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995.
[41] Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Another v. Republic, p. 116, [1995] T.L.R. 97, Criminal Appeal No. 142 of 1994, Court of Appeal of Tanzania, Jan. 30, 1995. Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994.
[42] Rose Mwalongo, ‘Little hope for anti-death penalty in new Constitution’, IPP Media, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/?l=63910, Jan. 20, 2014.
[43] Rose Mwalongo, ‘Little hope for anti-death penalty in new Constitution’, IPP Media, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/?l=63910, Jan. 20, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[44] The Death Penalty Project, Tanzania, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/where-we-operate/africa/tanzania/, last accessed Apr. 11, 2014.
[45] Christabel Manning & Seka Kasera, Update: Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Tanzania1.htm, Aug./Sep. 2010.
[46] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, art. 45, Apr. 26, 1977, as last amended by Act No. 1 of 2005.
[47] Criminal Procedure Act of Tanzania, art. 325, Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985, as last amended by Act No. 27 of 2008.
[48] Constitution of Zanzibar, arts. 59, 60, 1984, as amended through 2002.
[49] Criminal Procedure Act of Tanzania, Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985, as last amended by Act No. 27 of 2008.
[50] Criminal Procedure Act of Tanzania, art. 359(1), Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985, as last amended by Act No. 27 of 2008.
[51] Christabel Manning & Seka Kasera, Update: Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research, The Judiciary, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Tanzania1.htm, Aug./Sep. 2010.
[52] Criminal Procedure Act of Tanzania, arts. 173, 175, 325, Act No. 9 of 1985, Apr. 19, 1985, as last amended by Act No. 27 of 2008. Appellate Jurisdiction Act of Tanzania, art. 6(1)(a), Act No. 15 of 1979, Sep. 1, 1979, as last amended by Act No. 25 of 2002.
[53] Appellate Jurisdiction Act of Tanzania, art. 11(1), Act No. 15 of 1979, Sep. 1, 1979, as last amended by Act No. 25 of 2002.
[54] Appellate Jurisdiction Act of Tanzania, art. 11(2), Act No. 15 of 1979, Sep. 1, 1979, as last amended by Act No. 25 of 2002.
[55] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Tanzania, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135980.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Prisoners under sentence of death are held separately from other prisoners. [1]

Amnesty International reported in 2005 that at least fifteen death row prisoners were held in Ukonga maximum security prison in Dar es Salaam. [2] Another report from 2004 indicated that death-sentenced prisoners were held in prisons around the country, including Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Lindi, Mbeya, Mtwara, Mwanza, Tabora, and Tanga for men, and Dodoma and Mwanza for women. [3]

Description of Prison Conditions

Death row conditions are extremely harsh. According to the Legal and Human Rights Centre, death row conditions in Tanzania do not meet international human rights standards. [4] The life of death row inmates is different from that of other prisoners. Death row prisoners are isolated from normal treatment, and are held in standalone cells without the right or freedom to engage in any productive activities. [5] Death row prison cells currently hold three inmates instead of the required one [6] – even though individual death row cells are designed by law so that one prisoner can touch both walls with his arms outstretched. [7] Every night, prisoners on death row reportedly have all their clothes taken away and returned in the morning. [8] The light in the cell is never turned off. [9] Prisoners do not have access to adequate food, visits, or ventilation. [10] During a training workshop for the Tanzania Prison Service in April 2014, Prison Officer Dominic Mshana reported that the delays in executions had caused overcrowding in prisons, putting a strain on prison finances. [11] Prisoners live in agony and despair, not knowing when they will be executed. [12] Moreover, some prison guards reportedly taunt death row prisoners about their impending executions, recounting stories of executions that went wrong. [13] As a result, prisoners riot when their demands are not met, putting the lives of the guards and other prisoners in danger. [14] The Minister responsible for prisons is empowered by law to pass regulations on the treatment of death row prisoners. [15] In 1994, the High Court of Tanzania noted that the delay between the initial sentence of death and the execution often lasts over 4 years and may in some cases exceed 10 years. [16]

A 2014 report indicates that prison conditions in Tanzania are generally harsh. There are deaths due to HIV/AIDS and lack of adequate medical care, electricity, sanitation, and transportation. [17]

Record keeping in prisons is generally inadequate. Even though prisoners may file complaints to judicial authorities, the letters are reportedly censored. Prisoners can submit complaints to the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), which serves as the official ombudsman. Prisoners can worship freely, although some have reported otherwise. [18]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

Yes. At the end of 2014, there were at least 8 foreign nationals on death row. [19]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

At the end of 2014, foreign nationals on death row included four Kenyans, two Burundians, one Ivorian, and one Indian. [20]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

In 2004 there were nine women on death row. [21] We have not located more recent reports indicating whether women remain under sentence of death in Tanzania.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

We found no reports of individuals under the sentence of death for crimes committed while under the age of 18. Amnesty International reports that there have been no known executions of juveniles in Tanzania since 1990, when it started keeping records. [22]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We did not find any information on the racial or ethnic composition of death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Legal Aid Act mandates the provision of legal counsel to indigent defendants “in any proceeding” where “it appears to the certifying authority that it is desirable, in the interests of justice, that an accused should have legal aid in the preparation and conduct of his defence or appeal,…and that his means are insufficient to enable him to obtain such aid.” [23] Due to the legal limitation, state-funded representation is provided to only few people under a certain income facing murder or treason charges. [24]

Reports indicate that in Zanzibar, indigent individuals facing murder, manslaughter, or treason charges may be assigned an advocate under the Criminal Procedure Act of 2004. [25]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

The Legal Aid Act explicitly includes appeals in the provision of legal aid. It mandates the provision of legal counsel to indigent defendants “in any proceeding” where “it appears to the certifying authority that it is desirable, in the interests of justice, that an accused should have legal aid in the preparation and conduct of his defence or appeal,…and that his means are insufficient to enable him to obtain such aid.” [26] In practice the dearth of public defenders might lead to the unavailability of defense counsel on appeal. [27]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Although the Legal Aid Act provides the right to legal counsel, there is a shortage of lawyers, paralegals, and legal aid workers in Tanzania. Legal providers such as the Legal and Human Rights Centre receive very little support. In rural areas where there is a major shortage of lawyers or advocates, legal service providers use the few trained paralegals to provide legal aid. [28] Zanzibar also lacks advocates; the number of practicing advocates is reportedly less than twenty. [29]

Moreover, accused persons are reportedly often denied the right to contact a lawyer or speak with family members. The lack of communication systems and infrastructure, shortage of lawyers in rural areas, and illiteracy and poverty of the accused result in limited access to legal counsel. [30]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

According to the Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania does not have an independent judiciary, as judges and senior court officers are all political appointees of the President. [31] Judicial personnel are poorly paid, facilities are inadequate, and the judiciary lacks resources and must rely on the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Due to insufficient financial resources, the judiciary is unable to deliver equal and timely justice. Most people in rural areas have little access to justice because there is a shortage of court centers. The few available court buildings are old and dilapidated. Tanzania has less than two judges per one million people. [32]

Poor court infrastructure, a shortage of judges, and the lack of independence of the judiciary are also problematic in Zanzibar. [33] Politics influence the appointment of judges and judicial officers are reportedly corrupt. [34]

The Tanzania legal system is based on the common law, but also accommodates Islamic or customary laws, especially with regard to personal and family matters. [35]

References

[1] Prisons Act of Tanzania, art. 71, Act No. 34 of 1967, Aug. 9, 1967, as last amended by Act No. 29 of 1968.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Further Information on UA 08/05 (AFR 56/001/2005, 13 January 2005) - Harsh prison conditions/ Death Penalty/ Torture and Ill treatment, AFR 56/002/2005, Jan. 26, 2005.
[3] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant: United Republic of Tanzania, para. 51, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TZA/4, Dec. 17, 2007.
[4] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 20, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[5] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 19, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[6] Daily News, Death row inmates keep increasing, http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/local-news/29905-death-row-inmates-keep-increasing, Apr. 3, 2014.
[7] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, p. 155, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[8] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, p. 155, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[9] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, p. 155, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[10] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 20, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[11] Daily News, Death row inmates keep increasing, http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/local-news/29905-death-row-inmates-keep-increasing, Apr. 3, 2014.
[12] Daily News, Death row inmates keep increasing, http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/local-news/29905-death-row-inmates-keep-increasing, Apr. 3, 2014.
[13] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, p. 155, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[14] Daily News, Death row inmates keep increasing, http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/local-news/29905-death-row-inmates-keep-increasing, Apr. 3, 2014.
[15] Prisons Act of Tanzania, art. 104(s), Act No. 34 of 1967, Aug. 9, 1967, as last amended by Act No. 29 of 1968.
[16] Republic v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, pp. 155, 162, [1994] T.L.R. 146, Criminal Sessions Case No. 44 of 1991, High Court of Tanzania, Jun. 22, 1994. .
[17] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Tanzania, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220169.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[18] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Tanzania, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220169.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 61, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 61, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[21] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant: United Republic of Tanzania, para. 51, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TZA/4, Dec. 17, 2007.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Executions of Juveniles Since 1990, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/executions-of-child-offenders-since-1990, last accessed Apr. 13, 2014.
[23] Legal Aid (Criminal Proceedings) Act of Tanzania, art. 3, Law No. 21 of 1969, Jul. 1, 1969, as last amended by Act 11 of 2003.
[24] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 45, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[25] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Report 2011, p. 275, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2011.pdf, 2012.
[26] Legal Aid (Criminal Proceedings) Act of Tanzania, art. 3, Law No. 21 of 1969, Jul. 1, 1969, as last amended by Act 11 of 2003.
[27] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 45, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[28] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, pp. 45-46, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[29] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 329, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[30] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Tanzania, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Arrest Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220169.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[31] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 10, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[32] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, pp. 41-44, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[33] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, pp. 320, 333-334, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[34] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, pp. 333-336, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[35] Christabel Manning & Seka Kasera, Update: Guide to Tanzanian Legal System and Legal Research, The Judiciary, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Tanzania1.htm, Aug./Sep. 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 2009 concluding observations on Tanzania, the Human Rights Committee noted the de facto moratorium on the death penalty in place since 1994 but expressed concern about the large number of individuals on death row and the continued imposition of death sentences. The Committee regretted the “lack of sufficient information on the length of time that convicted persons have spent on death row, their treatment in detention, and the procedures in place for the commutation of death sentences in light of the moratorium.” The Committee recommended that Tanzania commute all death sentences, assure that prisoners do not face mistreatment, and consider abolishing the death penalty and becoming a party to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. [1]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

At Tanzania’s 2011 Universal Periodic Review, the Human Rights Council recommended the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, the commutation of all death sentences, the complete abolition of capital punishment, and civic education on the need of abolishing the death penalty. [2] Tanzania rejected all recommendations, commenting that the government does not consider the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR a priority due to “legal and technical reasons.” It also noted that internal consultations and public opinion should be given consideration before undertaking any policy measures, that the death penalty will be deliberated in the constitutional review process, and that the government continues to educate the public on the world’s trend on the death penalty. [3]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant: Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: United Republic of Tanzania, paras. 4, 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/TZA/CO/4, Aug. 6, 2009.
[2] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: United Republic of Tanzania, paras. 86.10, 86.21-86.35, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/4, Dec. 8, 2011.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: United Republic of Tanzania: Addendum, pp. 2-3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/4/Add.1, Mar. 12, 2012.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC)
Ms. Helen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director
Mr. Harold Sungusia, Director of Advocacy and Reforms
P. O. Box 75254
Justice Lugakingira House, Kijitonyama
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel: +255 22 2773038
Fax: +255 22 2773037
lhrc@humanrights.or.tz
http://www.humanrights.or.tz

Children Education Society (CHESO)
Mr. Richard Shilamba Executive Director/Lawyer
Vikunai Street, Plot No. 1003, Tuangoma Ward, Temeke District
PO Box 713
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel: +255 732 992164 chesociety@yahoo.com

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG)
Plot No. 8, Luthuli Street (Haki House)
P.O. Box 2643
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tel: +255 22 2135747/8
Fax: +255 22 2111533, 2111281
chragg@chragg.go.tz
http://www.chragg.go.tz

Helpful Reports and Publications

Aniceth Gaitan & Bernhard Kuschnik, Tanzania’s death penalty debate: An epilogue on Republic v Mbushuu, African Human Rights Law Journal, Vol. 9 No. 2, 2009.

Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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