Parliament Commences Public Hearings on Death Penalty Abolition Bill

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HARARE – Today marks the commencement of week-long public hearings on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill, which was gazetted last year. The Bill, aimed at amending the Criminal Law Code and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, will undergo thorough scrutiny and gather public input over the course of the hearings.

Introduced to Parliament by Dzivaresekwa legislator, Mr. Edwin Mushoriwa, as a private member’s Bill, the Death Penalty Abolition Bill has sparked significant debate and anticipation regarding its potential impact on Zimbabwean law and society.

Conducted by the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, in conjunction with the Senate’s Thematic Committee on Human Rights, the public hearings are scheduled to take place from May 6th to May 10th. Sessions will be held in various locations, including Kadoma, Gweru, Bulawayo, Lupane, Filabusi, Bindura, Harare, Marondera, Mutare, and Masvingo.

According to Parliament, the objective of these hearings is to engage stakeholders, solicit diverse perspectives, and inform potential legal reforms pertaining to the death penalty. The process seeks to ensure comprehensive deliberation on the subject, allowing for a nuanced understanding of public sentiment and concerns.

In a statement, Parliament emphasized the collaborative effort between the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights in facilitating these crucial discussions.

Notably, in February, Cabinet endorsed the principles of the Bill, signaling government support for the abolition of capital punishment. This endorsement is expected to facilitate the smooth passage of the Bill through Parliament, although robust debate and public engagement remain integral components of the legislative process.

As Zimbabwe embarks on this pivotal dialogue regarding the future of the death penalty, stakeholders, including lawmakers, legal experts, human rights advocates, and members of the public, are encouraged to participate actively in the public hearings. Their contributions will play a vital role in shaping the trajectory of legal reforms and upholding the principles of justice and human rights in the country.