NGO report

Tanzania: the death sentence institutionnalised

By International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) / Eric Mirguet / Arnold Tsunga, on 1 January 2005

Individuals are regularly sentenced to death in murder cases, but no statistics are published about the number of condemnations. Under the Tanzanian Penal Code, the death sentence remains a mandatory penalty for murder while it can also be applied for treason. As of April 2003, 370 persons (359 males and 11 females) were awaiting execution in the prisons of mainland Tanzania in conditions that might amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. There are a number of dysfunctions in the Tanzanian legal system, which seems to represent a threat to the rule of law, and an obstacle to reform: the unwillingness of the Executive to have its decisions challenged in judicial proceedings, and; the existence of a Penal System essentially based on retaliation towards the offenders rather than rehabilitation ; e.g. corporal punishments can still be applied for numerous offences, in spite of the fact that they clearly violate international and regional human rights instruments. Furthermore, pervasive corruption in the police and the judiciary represents a serious threat to the due process of law, including in death penalty cases.