The Law Reform Committee has proposed that “the death penalty should be abolished in all cases of treason or other crimes of a political nature…and replaced by life imprisonment.”
This proposal is made in the review of the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution after a committee has been set up headed by the chairman of the Law Reform Commission Dr Peter Tucker.
The proposal for amendment also holds that parliament shall review the death penalty ever two years with a view to its abolition.
Anti-death penalty campaigners say this is welcome news if the proposal is endorsed by parliament and the executive.
Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have been opposing the death penalty in all cases, particularly in light of Sierra Leone’s fledgling judicial system and the irreversible nature of a death sentence.
They have called on the Sierra Leonean government to restructure the military court system to include an appeal process.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report also finds the continued existence of the death penalty on the statute books of Sierra Leone to be an affront to civilized society which is based on the rights to life, and strongly advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.