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The death penalty matter before the Constitutional Court

22 Oct 2014

The Issues



What is notable is that the new Constitution has not only abolished the death penalty for women but prohibits the execution of women whose sentences of death had not been carried out prior to 22 May 2013 and requires that they be sentenced afresh by competent Courts. The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) which we has applied to the Constitutional Court pleading for it to declare that it is no longer constitutional for any woman to be on death roll and pleading with the Constitutional Court to direct the re-sentencing of any such women on death roll. ZWLA has also asked the Constitutional Court to issue a declaratur to the effect that all laws that allow for the imposition of the death penalty on women are invalid to the extent of their inconsistency with section 48(2) (d) of the Constitution.




What we hope for:


 We hope that after the case is heard in Court today, the government will take immediate action to regularise the situation of the only woman of death roll to prevent her from further anguish and trauma.  We also hope that when the woman is resentenced she will not be kept under solitary confinement as we believe that solitary confinement is tantamount to torture. We call upon the public to speak out against the legalized cruelty that the death penalty is. We also continue to encourage the judiciary to shun meting out the death penalty and to consider rehabilitative and punitive justice measures, which benefit not only the perpetrator but society at large. Further we call upon the government to adopt the necessary legislative and administrative measures to abolish the death penalty and also immediately regularise the status of woman already on death roll and commute her sentence. Finally, we implore the government to urgently align all relevant laws with the new Constitution.


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