The 8th World Congress on the Abolition of the Death Penalty came to a grand close at the historic Berlin Town Hall Ballroom on 18th November 2022 with a clarion call to the retentionist countries to move with purpose to abolish the archaic practice.
During the congress organized by the French based organization, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (Together Against the Death Penalty) and attended by delegates representing 130 countries from across the globe, senior government ministers, youth, parliamentarians, jurists, and members of the civil society shared their different countries’ experiences in the abolition journey and best practices in championing for a death penalty free world.
With Rwanda and Burundi, countries which have both undergone the worst genocide in the region having abolished the death penalty, and with the Zambian President and its parliament undertaking resolute measures to have the death penalty abolished in their country by the end of this year, Kenya, whose youth delegation stole the show at the World Congress, and which has had a moratorium on executions since 1987, should be well primed to claim its place in the high table of the abolitionist movement .
Reports by both the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) indicate the unanimous public view as being for the abolition of the death penalty in Kenya. The reports capture feedback from Kenyans as being in favor of alternative sentences to the death penalty.
Opening the Congress, themed “Let’s rekindle the abolitionist flame!” the German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock. These sentiments were echoed by Ministers from across the world attending the congress.
Moderating the youth plenary session at the congress dubbed “The New Abolitionist Generation – Transmission and Innovation”, Sylvia Morwabe, the Programs Director at Kenyan based NGO, Crime Si Poa emphasized that the fight for abolition involves both the younger and older generation and encouraged all to commit to adopting an inclusive and intersectional approach that involves supporting and building the capacity of young abolitionists to enable them carry out their actions and reinforce the fight towards achieving universal abolition.
Speaking at the closing ceremony presided over by the Former French Minister of Justice Arian Gresillon, and during which he was honored to present the Courage Award to the winners; RACOPEM of Cameroon and Pakistan Justice Project, Crime Si Poa Executive Director Pete Ouko rallied the delegates to work in unison and push until all countries abolished the death penalty.
Recollecting his journey on death row due to a wrongful conviction, Pete called on World leaders to focus more on restorative as opposed to retributive justice. He noted that available data proves that countries without the death penalty have progressive, correctional criminal justice systems in practice and less violent crimes in general.
Honored to be appointed as the local partner of ECPM in the global abolition movement, Crime Si Poa calls on His Excellency President William Ruto to lead from the front in this final push to have Kenya death penalty free.
Crime Si Poa which holds the unique distinction of being the first NGO to be formed on death row, and is currently led by a death row survivor, works in the social justice space to improve access to justice for all while building community ownership around safety and security issues through proximate youth leadership and strategic partnerships with players in the criminal justice sector.