Death Penalty Worldwide

Zimbabwe

Last updated on November 5, 2012

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Eastern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Zimbabwe, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/zimbabwe/191074.htm, Oct. 14, 2011.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions,a nd selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Sep. 20, 2011.
[3] Nyarai Mudimu, Zimbabwe: They Live by the Sword, But Should They Die By the Sword?, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201106100364.html, June 9, 2011. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/abolitionist-and-retentionist-countries, last accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
[4] Nutzworld.com, Methods of Execution by Country, http://www.nutzworld.com/amerikaarticles/methods_of_execution_by_country.htm, last accessed Oct. 16, 2012. Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 238, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989. Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 339(2), Jun. 1, 1927.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

12.5 million. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

Approximately 56 [3] or 57. [4] There were approximately 55 inmates in early 2012. [5] An additional two death sentences were handed down later in 2012 that may not have been included in the early 2012 numbers. [6] An Amnesty International public statement released on July 25, 2012 indicated that there were at least 56 death row inmates. [7] There were no reported executions or sentence commutations in 2012. [8]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2014 to date (last updated on December 12, 2014)

0. [9]

Executions in 2013

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [13]

Executions in 2009

0. [14]

Executions in 2008

0. [15]

Executions in 2007

0. [16]

Year of Last Known Execution

2004. In 2004, Edgar Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo were hanged for committing several crimes, including murder and escaping from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. [17]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Zimbabwe, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/zimbabwe/191074.htm, Oct. 14, 2011.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Zimbabwe, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/zimbabwe/191074.htm, Oct. 14, 2011.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Says Death Penalty Provisions in Draft Constitution Do Not Go Far Enough, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR46/010/2012/en/09503cda-d6db-4722-9c3d-5c73159b8b16/afr460102012en.pdf, July 25, 2012.
[4] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Activists Slam GNU Over Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201206040542.html, June 2, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 54, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012. NewZimbabwe.com, Cyanide Killers Get Death Penalty, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news/news.aspx?newsID=8063, May 24, 2012.
[5] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Activists Slam GNU Over Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201206040542.html, June 2, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 54, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[6] NewZimbabwe.com, Cyanide Killers Get Death Penalty, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news/news.aspx?newsID=8063, May 24, 2012.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Says Death Penalty Provisions in Draft Constitution Do Not Go Far Enough, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR46/010/2012/en/09503cda-d6db-4722-9c3d-5c73159b8b16/afr460102012en.pdf, July 25, 2012.
[8] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[9] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[12] 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.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[17] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Activists Slam GNU Over Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201206040542.html, June 2, 2012. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder. [1]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Certain terrorism-related offenses and certain acts of treason [2] are also punishable by death when they result in death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
The following terrorism-related crimes are punishable by death if they result in death: causing or furthering an insurrection in Zimbabwe; causing forcible resistance to the Government, defense forces, or law enforcement agencies; or procuring by force the alteration of any Government law or policy. These crimes are punishable by death only if accompanied by the use or threatened use of weapons with the knowledge that there is a risk of killing or injuring another person; damaging or destroying property; inflicting substantial financial loss on another person; obstructing the movement of air, land, or water traffic; or disrupting an essential service. This crime is defined in the Criminal Code as insurgency, banditry, sabotage, or terrorism. [3] Foreign nationals may be convicted of these terrorism-related offenses.

Treason.
Treason is punishable by death. [4] In addition, the following treason-related crimes are punishable by death if they result in death: causing or furthering an insurrection in Zimbabwe; causing forcible resistance to the Government, defense forces, or law enforcement agencies; or procuring by force the alteration of any Government law or policy. These crimes are punishable by death only if accompanied by the use or threatened use of weapons with the knowledge that there is a risk of killing or injuring another person; damaging or destroying property; inflicting substantial financial loss on another person; obstructing the movement of air, land, or water traffic; or disrupting an essential service. This crime is defined in the Criminal Code as insurgency, banditry, sabotage, or terrorism. [5]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
The crimes of mutiny and desertion in the face of the enemy are punishable by the death penalty. [6]

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Genocide, when it results in death, is punishable by the death penalty. [7]
War crimes, including the killing of a person protected by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, are punishable by the death penalty according to Section 3 (2) of the Geneva Conventions Act. [8] We were unable to find this law and determine the elements of the offenses which are punishable by death. The Geneva Conventions protect wounded and sick soldiers and military personnel on land and at sea during war, shipwrecked military personnel during war, prisoners of war, and civilians. [9]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Attempted murder, or incitement or conspiracy to commit murder is an offense punishable by the death penalty. [10]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. [11] Courts use the concept of “extenuating circumstances” to engage in discretionary sentencing. [12] The definition of an extenuating circumstance is similar to a mitigating circumstance: “a fact associated with the crime which serves in the minds of reasonable men to diminish, morally albeit not legally, the degree of the prisoner’s guilt.” Furthermore, there is case law instructing the courts to weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in determining whether to award a death sentence in the case of aggravated murder. [13]

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

There is no mandatory death penalty. Courts use the concept of "extenuating circumstances" to engage in discretionary sentencing. [14] The definition of an extenuating circumstance is similar to a mitigating circumstance: "a fact associated with the crime which serves in the minds of reasonable men to diminish, morally albeit not legally, the degree of the prisoner’s guilt." Furthermore, there is case law instructing the courts to weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in determining whether to award a death sentence in the case of aggravated murder. [15]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None. The last execution was in 2004. [16]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Zimbabwe implemented legislation in 1994 that prevents the execution of juveniles [17] and raised the minimum age to 18 for the application of the death penalty. [18] Thus, children who were under the age of 18 at the time of crime cannot be executed. [19] This is in conformity to Zimbabwe’s international obligations as a party to the ICCPR, which prohibits the execution of juveniles. [20]

Pregnant Women.
Pregnant women cannot be executed. [21] This is in conformity with Zimbabwe’s international obligations as a party to the ICCPR, which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. [22]

Mentally Retarded.
If at the time of the crime, the accused, due to mental disorder or defect, has diminished capacity to understand the nature or consequences of his actions or to control his actions, this can be considered as a mitigating circumstance which diminishes the accused’s responsibility and which the court can consider in sentencing. [23] If at the time of the crime, the accused suffered from a mental disorder or defect that made the accused incapable of understanding the nature of his or her conduct, understanding whether his or her conduct was unlawful, or unable to act in accordance with such an understanding, [24] then he or she cannot be held criminally liable. [25]

Mentally Ill.
If at the time of the crime, the accused, due to mental disorder or defect, has diminished capacity to understand the nature or consequences of his actions or to control his actions, this can be considered as a mitigating circumstance which diminishes the accused’s responsibility and which the court can consider in sentencing. [26] If at the time of the crime, the accused suffered from a mental disorder or defect that made the accused incapable of understanding the nature of his or her conduct, understanding whether his or her conduct was unlawful, or unable to act in accordance with such an understanding, [27] then he or she cannot be held criminally liable. [28]

Elderly.
Those over the age of 70 cannot be executed according to section 338 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. [29]

References

[1] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. V, sec. 47, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[2] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. III, sec. 23, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[3] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. III, sec. 23, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[4] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. III, sec. 20, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[5] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. III, sec. 23, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[6] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010.
[7] Genocide Act of Zimbabwe, sec. 4(i), Act 9/2000, 2000.
[8] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[9] ICRC.org., The Geneva Conventions of 1949, http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/genevaconventions#a1, last accessed Jun. 1, 2010Oct. 16, 2012.
[10] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. V, sec. 47, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[11] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. V, sec. 47, Act 23/2004, 2004. Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, sec. 337, Jun. 1, 1927.
[12] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 280, Oxford University Press, 4th Ed., 2008.
[13] State v. Governor, p. 15-16, CRB 250-1/05, High Court of Zimbabwe, Mar. 5, 2007.
[14] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 280, Oxford University Press, 4th Ed., 2008.
[15] State v. Governor, p. 15-16, Case CRB 250-1/05, High Court of Zimbabwe, Mar. 5, 2007.
[16] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Activists Slam GNU Over Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201206040542.html, June 2, 2012. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Rethink death penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004070060.html, Apr. 7, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[17] United Methodist Church, Juvenile Death Penalty, n. 3, http://archives.umc.org/interior_print.asp?ptid=4&mid=6756, last accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
[18] Bree Polk-Bauman, Capital Punishment Today: Where the World Stands, The UN Chronicle Online Edition, Vol. 41, No. 4, Dec. 2004.
[19] John Dzvinamurungu, Amnesty International Zimbabwe Seminar on the Death Penalty: The Death Penalty is a Violation of Human Rights, Amnesty Intl., p. 7, www.kubatana.net/docs/hr/aizim_deathpenalty_040709.doc, Jul. 9, 2004. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997. Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 338(c), Jun. 1, 1927.
[20] 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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[21] John Dzvinamurungu, Amnesty International Zimbabwe Seminar on the Death Penalty: The Death Penalty is a Violation of Human Rights, Amnesty Intl., p. 7, www.kubatana.net/docs/hr/aizim_deathpenalty_040709.doc, Jul. 9, 2004. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997. Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 338(a), Jun. 1, 1927. Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 218(1), Act 23/2004, 2004.
[22] 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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[23] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 218(1), Act 23/2004, 2004.
[24] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 227, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[25] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 213, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[26] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 218(1), Act 23/2004, 2004.
[27] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 227, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[28] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 213, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[29] Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 338(b), Jun. 1, 1927. See, also, John Dzvinamurungu, Amnesty International Zimbabwe Seminar on the Death Penalty: The Death Penalty is a Violation of Human Rights, Amnesty Intl., p. 7, www.kubatana.net/docs/hr/aizim_deathpenalty_040709.doc, Jul. 9, 2004. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

May 13, 1991. [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

May 30, 1986. [9]

Signed?

Yes. [10]

Date of Signature

Feb. 20, 1986. [11]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [12]

Date of Accession

Apr. 15, 2008. [13]

Signed?

Yes. [14]

Date of Signature

Nov. 18, 2003. [15]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [16]

Date of Accession

Jan. 19, 1995. [17]

Signed?

No. [18]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable. Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Not Applicable. Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Against. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [21]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Against. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [24]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Against. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Against. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [30]

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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 18, 2012.
[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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
[16] African Commission on the 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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[17] African Commission on the 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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[18] African Commission on the 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 Oct. 22, 2012.
[19] 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.
[20] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[21] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[22] 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.
[23] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[24] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[25] 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.
[26] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[27] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[28] 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, pp. 3-4, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[29] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[30] 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 Zimbabwean Constitution states that individuals cannot be deprived of their lives unless a court sentences them to death for a criminal offence. [1] In addition, while the Constitution also states that no person can be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment, the Constitution provides that the execution of an individual who has been sentenced to death by a competent court for a criminal offense of which he has been convicted does not constitute torture, inhuman or degrading punishment, as long as the execution is carried out in the manner prescribed in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. [2] Finally, the Constitution indicates that the delay in the execution of a death sentence also does not constitute torture, inhuman or degrading punishment. [3]

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

Yes. The Constitution provides that the President has the power to enter into international conventions, treaties, and agreements. [4] The Constitution also states that any conventions, treaties or agreements with foreign governments or international organizations that the President enters into are subject to approval by Parliament and do not form part of Zimbabwe’s laws unless incorporated into law by an Act of Parliament. [5] This provision excludes human rights treaties and conventions from constitutional status unless they are implemented by specific legislation. The Constitution does not specifically refer to human rights treaties, agreements, or conventions.

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

Prior to 1991, crimes such as attempted murder, rape, and a variety of offences relating to political violence were punishable by the death penalty. [6] However, in the 1990s there was a period of restriction of the death penalty as Zimbabwe reduced death-eligible offenses to murder, treason, and certain military crimes when it passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act. There was also an amendment to the Law and Order Maintenance act, which had previously stated that terrorism was punishable by the death penalty. [7]

In 2000, however, the Genocide Act provided that the death penalty could be imposed for the crime of genocide resulting in death, [8] and in 2004, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act expanded the application of the death penalty to attempted murder, incitement or conspiracy to commit murder [9] and terrorism-related crimes that result in death. [10] Finally, the Geneva Conventions Act has made killing individuals protected by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 a crime punishable by the death penalty. [11]

Zimbabwe’s use of the death penalty is also characterized by relatively long execution-free periods. In 1995, Zimbabwe resumed executions after seven years without any executions. [12] Presently, Zimbabwe has not carried out any executions since 2004. [13] Zimbabwe’s Parliament has interfered with the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence limiting application of the death penalty, enacting constitutional amendments to negate Court rulings that have questioned the constitutionality of hanging or held that long stays on death row constitute cruel and unusual punishment. [14]

In July 2012, the Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) released its final draft of the constitution, which includes language that restricts the death penalty to murder committed in aggravating circumstances.” [15] According to the final draft, the death penalty cannot be imposed on women, persons under the age of 21 when a crime was committed, and persons over the age of 70. [16] The final draft must be approved through a referendum before it can become official Zimbabwean law. [17] A referendum date has not yet been scheduled as of October 2012. [18]

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

No. [19] While no executions have been carried out since 2004, [20] Zimbabwean courts continue to hand down death sentences (most recently in 2012). [21] The government rejected recommendations to institute an official moratorium at its 2011 UPR. [22]

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

In the 1993 case, The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace v. Attorney General and Others, the Supreme Court considered the appeal of four prisoners who had been on death row for an extended period. The court found that prison guards intentionally subjected death row prisoners to mental anguish constituting torture and also found that lengthy stays on death row led to “death row phenomenon” constituting inhuman or degrading punishment. On the basis that extended stays on death row thus violated Zimbabwe’s constitutional protections against inhuman or degrading punishment, the Court commuted their sentences to life imprisonment. [23] As a result of this case, at least 28 other death row inmates also had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. [24] However, five months later the legislature amended the Constitution in order to negate the ruling and preclude challenges to death sentences based on inhuman or degrading conditions on death row or death row phenomenon. [25]

In the case of S v. Ketose, the constitutionality of hanging as the method of execution was questioned. However, the Constitution was later amended in 1990 to confirm that hanging was a constitutional method of execution. [26]

Shepherd Mazango, who was sentenced to death for murder in November 2009, challenged the constitutionality of the death penalty at the Zimbabwe Supreme Court. Mazango’s challenge, according to the media report, was likely based upon the constitutionality of certain amendments to the Constitution on the grounds that those amendments undermine basic human rights. His argument was probably that the legislature cannot make an amendment to diminish the right to life or protections against cruel and unusual punishment, and that courts ultimately determine the minimum thresholds which legislatures must meet regarding such rights. If Mazango wins the case, Zimbabwe’s legislature may no longer be able to amend the Constitution to avoid the courts’ judgments regarding certain human rights protected by the Constitution. [27] As of October 2012, we were unable to discover the outcome of Mazango’s appeal.

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

The Southern African Legal Information Institute hosts a database containing some judicial decisions from the Supreme Court, Bulawayo High Court, and Harare High Court at: http://www.saflii.org/cgi-bin/search.pl.

In addition, cases and precedents in Zimbabwe are compiled yearly into “The Law Reports of Zimbabwe,” which were published by the Legal Resources Foundation, a non-profit that works with the Ministry of Justice. The Law Reports generally include prominent cases that consider important legal questions or positions, and usually include cases from the Supreme Court or High Court. The Law Reports were last published in 2002. Important cases are also often published in The Bulletin of Zimbabwean Law, also published by the Legal Resources Foundation; [28] however, we did not find an online compilation of judicial decisions. The Human Rights Bulletin, published by the non-governmental organization Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, highlights legislation that affects human rights in the country. [29]

What is the clemency process?

According to Section 31 of the Constitution, the President has the power to pardon or commute the sentences of anyone convicted of a criminal offense by exercising the prerogative of mercy. [30] An individual sentenced to death might also be able submit a petition for pardon to Parliament. [31] Also according to Section 377 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, the President can commute a death sentence to any other sentence provided by law without the consent of the offender. [32] The President can also issue a General Amnesty through a Clemency Order, through which he can pardon individuals convicted of certain offences. In 1990, for instance, the President pardoned political dissidents, members of security forces, and those convicted of abandoning babies. [33] Most death row inmates in the past 20 years have had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment through executive clemency. [34]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. In Zimbabwe, there are no jury trials. [35]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

In all capital cases, defendants have the right to appeal. [36] Appeal to the Supreme Court is automatic from the High Court, where those accused of capital crimes are first tried. [37] When a death sentence is handed down and upheld on appeal, both the trial judge and president of the appeal court must submit confidential reports to the executive. The final decision on the death penalty is made by majority vote in the Cabinet after all other factors have been considered. The majority has been difficult to attain in the past and becomes more difficult each year. [38] However, in some politically sensitive cases, the right to appeal is sometimes not protected in practice as the government often ignores court orders in such cases. [39]

If the entire appeals process has been exhausted, and if the Minister still believes that there is further evidence that could lead to a change in the conviction or the sentence, the Minister has the power to refer the entire case or a particular point within the case to the Supreme Court for consideration. If the entire case is referred, then it will be treated as a fresh appeal in the Supreme Court. [40]

References

[1] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. III, art. 12, amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[2] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. III, arts. 15(1), (4), amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[3] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. III, art. 15(5), amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[4] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. IV, art. 31(2)(b), amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[5] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. XII, art. 111B(1), amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Africa: A new future without the death penalty, p. 5, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR01/003/1997/en/af59499d-eab4-11dd-9f63-e5716d3a1485/afr010031997en.pdf, Mar. 31, 1997.
[7] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[8] Genocide Act of Zimbabwe, sec. 4(i), Act 9/2000, 2000.
[9] Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. V, sec. 47, Act 23/2004, 2004.
[10] Genocide Act of Zimbabwe, sec. 4(i), Act 9/2000, 2000.
[11] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Human Rights Committee, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sept. 29, 1997.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Africa: A new future without the death penalty, p. 32, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR01/003/1997/en/af59499d-eab4-11dd-9f63-e5716d3a1485/afr010031997en.pdf, Mar. 31, 1997.
[13] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Africa: A new future without the death penalty, p. 32, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR01/003/1997/en/af59499d-eab4-11dd-9f63-e5716d3a1485/afr010031997en.pdf, Mar. 31, 1997.
[15] COPAC, Final Draft Constitution, Chapter 4.5, p. 33, http://www.copac.org.zw/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&id=10:current-draft-constitution&Itemid=325, July 17, 2012.
[16] COPAC, Final Draft Constitution, Chapter 4.5, p. 33, http://www.copac.org.zw/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&id=10:current-draft-constitution&Itemid=325, July 17, 2012. Violet Gonda, All You Need to Know About the Final Draft Constitution, New Zimbabwe, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-8575-New+constitution+the+key+changes/news.aspx, July 23, 2012.
[17] COPAC, Referendum, http://www.copac.org.zw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=178:10-referendum&catid=40:constitution-timeline-category&Itemid=152', last accessed Oct. 18, 2012.
[18] NewZimbabwe.com/AFP, Elections Body Needs $104m for Referendum, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-9212-ZEC+needs+US$104m+for+referendum/news.aspx, Oct. 3, 2012.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Says Death Penalty Provisions in Draft Constitution Do Not Go Far Enough, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR46/010/2012/en/09503cda-d6db-4722-9c3d-5c73159b8b16/afr460102012en.pdf, July 25, 2012. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[20] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Activists Slam GNU Over Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/201206040542.html, June 2, 2012. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010.
[21] NewZimbabwe.com, Cyanide Killers Get Death Penalty, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news/news.aspx?newsID=8063, May 24, 2012.
[22] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Zimbabwe, p. 20-21, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/14 , Dec. 19, 2011.
[23] The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace v. Attorney General of Zimbabwe and Others, 1993(4) SA 239(ZS), Zimbabwe Supreme Court, 1993.
[24] Obert Chaurura Gutu, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty – a Panacea to Serious and Violent Crime? AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/200705300992.html, May 30, 2007. Sanderson Makombe, The Case for Abolishing the Death Penalty in Zimbabwe, The Independent, http://allafrica.com/stories/200910190467.html, Oct. 15, 2009. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe v. Attorney General of Zimbabwe and Others, 1993 (4) SA 239 (ZS), Supreme Ct. of Zimbabwe, 1993.
[25] S v. Ketose, Case No. S6490, cited in Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 180, n. 111, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Human Rights Committee, p. 15, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sept. 29, 1997. U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Human Rights Committee, p. 16, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sept. 29, 1997. Amnesty Intl., Africa: A new future without the death penalty, pp. 5, 33, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR01/003/1997/en/af59499d-eab4-11dd-9f63-e5716d3a1485/afr010031997en.pdf, Mar. 31, 1997.
[26] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[27] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Murderer Challenges Death Penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004070067.html, Apr. 7, 2010.
[28] Otto Saki & Tatenda Chiware, The Law in Zimbabwe, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Zimbabwe1.htmhttp://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/zimbabwe.htm, July 2011.
[29] Otto Saki & Tatenda Chiware, The Law in Zimbabwe, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Zimbabwe1.htmhttp://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/zimbabwe.htm, July 2011.
[30] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. IV, part 3, art. 31I, amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[31] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 15, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[32] Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 377, Jun. 1, 1927.
[33] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 15, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[34] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Rethink death penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004070060.html, Apr. 7, 2010.
[35] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[36] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997.
[37] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 238, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[38] AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Rethink death penalty, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004070060.html, Apr. 7, 2010.
[39] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[40] Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 379, Jun. 1, 1927.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Death-sentenced prisoners are incarcerated in Harare Central Prison and/or Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. [1] About 50 death row inmates were reportedly being held at Chikurubi prison as of late 2011. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

Numerous sources report that prison conditions are harsh and sometimes life threatening. Prisoners are often abused, tortured, and beaten by prison guards. Prisons often lack sufficient food, water, electricity, clothing, and soap. Many prisoners are malnourished. Prisons have poor sanitary conditions and are often overcrowded, leading to the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles and diarrhea. There have also been isolated reports of pellagra. [3]

NGOs estimated in the past that about half of prisoners were HIV-positive. [4] However, prisons continue to lack sufficient medical personnel and medication to treat HIV and other diseases, including hypertension and diabetes. [5] At Chikurubi in 2009, inmates were allowed to wash their uniforms only twice a month, and their blankets were often infected with lice. [6] NGOs estimated in 2009 that about 40 prisoners died per month due to these conditions. [7]

In addition, prisons are severely overcrowded. While Zimbabwe’s prison system has the capacity to hold 17,000 inmates, [8] in October 2008 an estimated 35,000 prisoners were in jail. [9] As of 2011, there were approximately 14,000 prisoners held, including 340 women and 130 juveniles; however, infrastructure issues, lengthy pretrial detentions, and prison cell occupation by prison guards continued to cause overcrowding. [10]

There are serious problems with prisoners’ access to sufficient food. At Harare Central Prison also (where some death row inmates are reportedly imprisoned), [11] food supplies had been completely depleted as of March 2009; prisoners were only receiving at most one meal a day. [12] In May 2010, the Zimbabwe Prison Services banned inmates at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison from receiving extra food from their relatives as a security measure, raising concerns about the prison mortality rate. As most of the inmates relied on food from relatives to survive, this rule likely adversely impacted the prisoners’ health. [13] In 2010, the government did not provide sufficient resources to feed everyone in the prison. Much of the food for inmates was provided by private organizations and NGOs like the Red Cross. As of 2011, however, inmates across the country are receiving two meals a day due to the revitalization of the system’s 23 prison farms, which is an improvement from years prior. Prisoners still do not have access to potable water. [14]

Chikurubi Maximum Prison recorded the highest prison mortality rate in Zimbabwe in 2008: between May 2008 and June 2009, over 720 male prisoners perished of malnutrition and preventable diseases. [15]

Chikurubi Maximum Prison recorded the highest prison mortality rate in Zimbabwe in 2008: between May 2008 and June 2009, over 720 male prisoners perished of malnutrition and preventable diseases. [16] (As of 2011, however, NGOs and ZBS no longer track the mortality rate in prisons because there has been a “dramatic” decrease in prisoner deaths since 2009, according to the U.S. State Department. [17] )

Conditions on death row are particularly harsh. Some death row prisoners, such as Kevin Woods at Chikurubi [18] and George Manyonga, [19] have reportedly spent years in solitary confinement. The U.N. Human Rights Committee has stated that prolonged solitary confinement may amount to a form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. [20] One report indicates that some death row prisoners are not even provided with clothes or blankets, and are forced to be naked. [21] According to a former death row inmate, wardens often torment death row inmates by constantly reminding them of the upcoming hanging and telling detailed and horrific stories about hangings. Many individuals become mentally ill as a result of harsh death row conditions; in 1995 an inmate committed suicide. [22]

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

As of October 2012, we did not find any reports that any foreign nationals are currently on Zimbabwe’s death row. [23]

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

As of October 2012, we did not find any reports that any foreign nationals are currently on Zimbabwe’s death row. [24]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

At least one woman is on death row. [25] However, no woman has been judicially executed for over a century. For instance, Sukoluhle Kachipare was sentenced to death for allegedly inciting her 17-year-old maid to murder her newborn child. However, she was ultimately acquitted in 1997. [26]

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?

Under Zimbabwean law, persons who were under 18 at the time of the crime may not be sentenced to death. [27] No reports indicate that any individuals who were under 18 at the time of the crime are currently on death row. [28]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of October 2012, we have not encountered any evidence regarding the racial or ethnic composition of death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Yes. The Zimbabwean Constitution does not include a right to legal aid for indigent criminal defendants, stating only that an individual has the right to defend himself or to hire legal counsel at his own expense. [29] However, the Legal Aid Act of 1996 creates a right to legal assistance, stating that anyone can apply for government legal aid, and that indigent individuals are eligible for legal aid. [30] In practice, the government has provided a state-appointed attorney for all indigent defendants facing capital trials. [31] However, the quality of legal representation is poor, and some lawyers only meet with their clients briefly prior to the trial. The government-run Legal Aid clinic is severely underfunded, leading to low quality of legal counsel for the poor. [32] Numerous private organizations also provide legal aid in Zimbabwe. These organizations include the Legal Resources Foundation, Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Msasa Project, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (Justice and Peace Department). [33]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

While it is unknown whether indigent prisoners have a legal right to a lawyer on appeal, in practice some prisoners do not have access to a lawyer on appeal. For instance, it has been reported that George Manyonga, who has been on death row for more than 13 years, prepared his appeal papers himself after his conviction. [34]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Indigent defendants provided with Legal Aid counsel receive poor legal representation. Legal Aid is underfunded, and some attorneys only meet with their clients shortly before trial. [35] Moreover, it has been reported that in some cases, prison authorities obstruct detainees’ access to their lawyers. Sometimes attorneys who attempt to visit their clients are told that their clients are “not available.” [36] This undermines the quality of available legal representation.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

As of 2011, about 20 to 30 children under the age of 3 lived with their mothers in prison. Women generally receive better treatment in prison as they receive more food from their families than do male prisoners. Children living with their mothers in prison have to share the mothers’ food. Many women are provided sanitary supplies by way of donations from NGOs. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are not provided additional food or care; however, many do receive additional allocations through donations. [37] Female offenders routinely receive sentences that are 2-3 years longer than those given to males for the same crimes.

The majority of juvenile detainees in 2009 were held alongside adult offenders, with about 20 juveniles held in cells with adult offenders. Juveniles are subject to more instances of physical and sexual abuse, [38] with two reported instances of abuse confirmed by a church group in 2011. [39] Juveniles also spend more time in pretrial detention than adults because a parent or guardian needs to accompany the child to court, and family members are often not notified. [40] Family members are often denied access to detainees in prison. [41]

Moreover, due to overcrowding in police stations and remand prisons, many pretrial detainees, as of 2009, were held alongside convicted prisoners while awaiting their bail hearings. [42] Another problem is that prisoners are subject to lengthy pretrial detention, sometimes lasting several years, due to the shortage of judges and court interpreters, insufficient resources, poor administrative capacity of the courts and political reasons. [43]

Finally, the judiciary lacks independence and is often pressured to follow government policies. The U.S. Department of State reports that political pressures often interfere with the right to a fair trial. [44]

References

[1] NewsDay.com, Reconsider Capital Punishment, http://www.newsday.co.zw/2011/10/31/2011-10-31-reconsider-capital-punishment/, Oct. 31, 2011. AllAfrica.com, Zimbabwe: Death Penalty Inhuman, http://allafrica.com/stories/201004261113.html, Apr. 25, 2010. Angus Shaw, Zimbabwe Hangman Position Vacant, Applicants Sought, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/zimbabwe-hangman-position_n_538689.html, Apr. 15, 2010.
[2] NewsDay.com, Reconsider Capital Punishment, http://www.newsday.co.zw/2011/10/31/2011-10-31-reconsider-capital-punishment/, Oct. 31, 2011. Angus Shaw, Zimbabwe Hangman Position Vacant, Applicants Sought, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/15/zimbabwe-hangman-position_n_538689.html, Apr. 15, 2010.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[6] Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[9] Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[11] Farirai Machivenyika, Zimbabwe: Forty-Nine on Death Row, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201003110057.html, Mar. 11, 2010.
[12] Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[13] Gerald Chateta, Zimbabwe Prison Service bans prisoner food handouts, ZimEye.org, http://www.zimeye.org/?p=17154, May 8, 2010.
[14] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012. Farirai Machivenyika, Zimbabwe: Forty-Nine on Death Row, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201003110057.html, Mar. 11, 2010. Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[15] Gerald Chateta, Zimbabwe Prison Service bans prisoner food handouts, ZimEye.org, http://www.zimeye.org/?p=17154, May 8, 2010. Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[16] Gerald Chateta, Zimbabwe Prison Service bans prisoner food handouts, ZimEye.org, http://www.zimeye.org/?p=17154, May 8, 2010.
[17] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[18] Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[19] Brian Hungwe, On Zimbabwe’s Death Row Without a Lawyer, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8675062.stm, May 12, 2010.
[20] U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 44th Session, General Comment no. 20: Replaces general comment 7 concerning prohibition of torture and cruel treatment or punishment (Art. 7), http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/6924291970754969c12563ed004c8ae5?Opendocument, Mar. 10, 1992.
[21] Sokwanele, Zimbabwe’s Prisons are Death Traps, http://www.sokwanele.com/articles/sokwanele/zimbabwesprisonsaredeathtraps_31march_310309, Mar. 30, 2009.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Africa: A new future without the death penalty, p. 8, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR01/003/1997/en/af59499d-eab4-11dd-9f63-e5716d3a1485/afr010031997en.pdf, Mar. 31, 1997.
[23] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Nov. 13, 2011.
[24] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Nov. 13, 2011.
[25] Amnesty Intl., Zimbabwe: Amnesty International Says Death Penalty Provisions in Draft Constitution Do Not Go Far Enough, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR46/010/2012/en/09503cda-d6db-4722-9c3d-5c73159b8b16/afr460102012en.pdf, July 25, 2012. Nyarai Mudimu, Zimbabwe: They Live By the Sword, But Should They Die By the Sword?, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201106100364.html, June 9, 2011.
[26] Stanley Kwenda, Death Penalty Stifling Free Speech, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36736, Feb. 27, 2007.
[27] John Dzvinamurungu, Amnesty International Zimbabwe Seminar on the Death Penalty: The Death Penalty is a Violation of Human Rights, Amnesty Intl., p. 7, www.kubatana.net/docs/hr/aizim_deathpenalty_040709.doc, Jul. 9, 2004. U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, p. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/Add.3, Sep. 29, 1997. Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 338(a), Jun. 1, 1927. Zimbabwe Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, ch. XIV, sec. 218(1), Act 23/2004, 2004.
[28] Alice Chimora, Zimbabwe Death Row Inmates Unsure of Fate, Afrik.com, http://en.afrik.com/article17126.html, Mar. 11, 2010.
[29] Constitution of Zimbabwe, ch. III, art. 18(3)(d), amended by Amendment No. 17, Sep. 14, 2005.
[30] Zimbabwe Legal Aid Act, sec. 8, Acts 18/1996, 1996.
[31] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[32] Brian Hungwe, On Zimbabwe’s Death Row Without a Lawyer, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8675062.stm, May 12, 2010.
[33] Otto Saki & Tatenda Chiware, The Law in Zimbabwe, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/zimbabwe.htm, July 2011.
[34] Brian Hungwe, On Zimbabwe’s Death Row Without a Lawyer, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8675062.stm, May 12, 2010.
[35] Brian Hungwe, On Zimbabwe’s Death Row Without a Lawyer, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8675062.stm, May 12, 2010.
[36] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[37] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[38] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[39] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[40] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[41] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[42] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135984.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[43] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.
[44] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 1998 Concluding Observations regarding Zimbabwe’s compliance with the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) recommended that Zimbabwe review its laws in order to reduce the number of offences that are punishable by the death penalty in accordance with Article 6 of the ICCPR. The committee also expressed concern over severe conditions resulting in a high incident of deaths in Zimbabwe’s prisons. [1] Zimbabwe’s last report to the Human Rights Committee has been due since 2002. As of October 2012, the report had not been submitted. [2]

In the Summary Record of the 1651st Meeting of the HRC in 1998, one of the committee members observed that the amendment to section 15 of the Zimbabwean Constitution seemed to deny death row inmates any opportunities to improve their situation if they experienced improper treatment. He also noted that the HRC had previously stated that although the time spent on death row was not considered a violation of the rights laid out in the ICCPR, it could, in combination with other factors, represent a violation of article 6 and 7 of the ICCPR. [3] In the same meeting, Mr. Chatukuta of Zimbabwe stated that Zimbabwean public opinion was generally for the death penalty. [4]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In its Concluding Observations on Zimbabwe’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1996, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) expressed concern about the juvenile justice system in Zimbabwe, particularly the lack of a legal prohibition on the death penalty. The CRC recommended that Zimbabwe raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility and establish a clear legal provision that abolishes the death penalty. [5] This issue has been partially addressed because Zimbabwe implemented legislation in 1994 that prevents the execution of juveniles [6] and raised the minimum age to 18 for the application of the death penalty. [7] Zimbabwe’s Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code prohibits the execution of individuals under the age of 18. [8] The draft constitution under discussion as of October 2012 excludes individuals under the age of 21 from the death penalty. [9]

In the Summary Record of the 295th Meeting of the CRC, the CRC mentioned that public opinion towards the death penalty in Zimbabwe was generally conservative, illustrating an increasing concern over “recidivist behavior.” [10]

At its 2011 Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council, Zimbabwe accepted some recommendations regarding abolition of the death penalty and rejected others. Zimbabwe accepted recommendations to “consider ratifying” the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and to “take measures” to abolish the death penalty, [11] but rejected recommendations to establish a formal moratorium on executions or support the UNGA’s proposed universal moratorium, commute death sentences without delay, or speedily abolish the death penalty. [12] The government delegation stated that the death penalty was under consideration in its constitution-making process. The government stated that it would consider ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR once a position on the death penalty was established for the new constitution. [13]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, Zimbabwe, para. 18, 20, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/Add.89, Apr. 6, 1998.
[2] U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, Report Status by Country, http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/NewhvVAllSPRByCountry?OpenView&Start=1&Count=250&Expand=195.1#195.1, last accessed Oct. 22, 2012.
[3] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, 62nd Session, Summary Record of the 1651st Meeting, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant: Initial Report of Zimbabwe, pp. 9-10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SR.1651, Jul. 20, 1998.
[4] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, 62nd Session, Summary Record of the 1651st Meeting, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant: Initial Report of Zimbabwe, pp. 9-10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SR.1651, Jul. 20, 1998.
[5] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 12th Session, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Zimbabwe, para. 33, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.55, Jun. 7, 1996.
[6] United Methodist Church, Juvenile Death Penalty, n. 3, http://archives.umc.org/interior_print.asp?ptid=4&mid=6756, last accessed Oct. 16, 2012.
[7] Bree Polk-Bauman, Capital Punishment Today: Where the World Stands, The UN Chronicle Online Edition, Vol. 41, No. 4, Dec. 2004.
[8] Zimbabwe Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07, art. 338(c), Jun. 1, 1927.
[9] COPAC, Final Draft Constitution, Chapter 4.5, p. 33, http://www.copac.org.zw/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&id=10:current-draft-constitution&Itemid=325, July 17, 2012. Violet Gonda, All You Need to Know About the Final Draft Constitution, New Zimbabwe, http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-8575-New+constitution+the+key+changes/news.aspx, July 23, 2012.
[10] U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Committee on the Rights of the Child, 12th Session, Summary Record of the 295th Meeting, Consideration of Reports of States Parties: Initial Report of Zimbabwe, para. 45, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SR.295, May 30, 1996.
[11] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Zimbabwe, p. 4, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/14 , Dec. 19, 2011.
[12] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Zimbabwe, p. 20-21, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/14 , Dec. 19, 2011.
[13] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Zimbabwe, p. 4, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/14 , Dec. 19, 2011.

Additional Sources and Contacts

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

None.

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

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
6th Floor Beverley Court, 100 Corner Nelson Mandela Avenue and Fourth Street, Box CY 1393, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: (+263 4 764085); (+263 4) 251468 ; (+263 4) 705370; (+263 4) 708118; Mobile Hotline: (+263 91) 2257 247
info@zlhr.org.zw
http://www.zlhr.org.zw

Zimbabwe Association for Crime prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) [1]
12922 Ndlela Way, Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263-(0)4-770046
zacrehab@mweb.co.zw
http://www.zacro.org.zw
http://www.kubatana.net/html/sectors/zim084.asp?sector=DEMGG&details=Tel&orgcode=zim084

Zimbabwe Civic Educational Trust (ZIMCET) [2]
44 Tredgold Rd, Belvedere, P.O Box 1858, Harare
Tel: 263 4 741358 /741552/740427
http://www.zimcet.org.zw

Prison Fellowship International – Zimbabwe
P.O. Box 6397, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +(263 4) 610 412
pfz@africaonline.co.zw
http://www.pfi.org/national-ministries/africa/zimbabwe

Helpful Reports and Publications

None.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

References

[1] Stanley Kwenda, Death Penalty Stifling Free Speech, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36736, Feb. 27, 2007.
[2] Stanley Kwenda, Death Penalty Stifling Free Speech, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36736, Feb. 27, 2007.

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