Call to substitute death penalty with life term

The taskforce tasked in reviewing death sentence has proposed that the penalty be substituted with life imprisonment with possible introduction of parole.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) representative in the team, Anne Okutoyi, said where parole is institutionalised, it should be applied as a period of eligibility dependent on certain factors, including type of offence.

She said judges should, however, retain the discretion to impose death sentence in cases where victims are vulnerable.

“When an offender is eligible for parole, a decision on whether the it will be granted is based on the good behaviour during incarceration and assurance of safety measures in the community,” said Okutuyi.

“The taskforce proposes life imprisonment with various terms of eligibility for parole.”

The task force has since proposed categories that would allow a sentencing judge to exercise discretion after considering the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the offence.

Okutoyi said the new proposals are among a raft of measures the taskforce recommends and are  in line with a Supreme Court ruling in December last year which found the death sentence to be unconstitutional to the extent of its mandatory nature.

The taskforce was gazetted on March 15. The death sentence is still enshrined is still enshrined in the Constitution but no execution has been done in Kenya since 1987.

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