The United Kingdom has told the Government and Parliament of Malawi to explore alternative ways of abolishing the death penalty.
The UK has released a statement today following revelations that the death penalty abolition by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Malawi in April this year is not valid since it stemmed from the opinion of a single judge out of a nine-member panel.
The ruling written by the single judge in the Khoviwa case was read in court but the final perfected judgement clarified that the constitutionality of the death penalty was not part of the original case.
According to the UK Embassy in Malawi, the case created debate and interest for the abolition of the death penalty in Malawi.
“It demonstrated popular support for the removal of the death penalty from Malawi’s legislative framework. It also increased Malawi’s international reputation for standing up for human rights,” the embassy said.
The embassy then called on Malawi Government to find ways of abolishing the death penalty.
The embassy said: “We would encourage the Government and Parliament of Malawi to explore alternative ways of removing the death penalty from the statute books. We stand ready to share our experience with the process of abolishing the death penalty.”
United Kingdom is one of Malawi’s biggest donors and it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. The UK strongly supports the UN General Assembly Resolution for the moratorium on the use of the death penalty and advocate for the reduced use of the death penalty overseas.
According to the UK embassy, the country believes that the death penalty undermines human dignity, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value and any miscarriage of justice is irreversible and irreparable.
The African continent has also joined the growing trend towards abolition of the death penalty worldwide, with 80% of the members of the African Union having already abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.