Edward (Mpagi Edward Edmary)
ALERT: Be sure to visit Journey of Hope...Events Diary Blog OFTEN (and READ the moving, fascinating archived diary entries & memoirs here to see the progression of the trip, photos, etc.
Find other links on the END of post just below.
NOTE: Surely, Edward and The Journey will help Uganda achieve the goals named below for better, more humane and accurate justice in Uganda. May the same goals be sought and improved in a more effective way in the US as well.
Edward at the UN - You Tube video here
Here are some more references to Edward's life and work at Angela's blog here
ABSTRACT from new release on Uganda below : "...three rulings significantly improve how the death penalty is used in Uganda. Unfortunately however, they have not been fully implemented. For example, there are individuals in Uganda who have been on death row for 18 years. People facing the death penalty often do not routinely have good access to lawyers or even legal advice."
Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:46
Uganda: Abolish the Death Penalty; It Undermines Human Dignity
10 October 2011
Right now in Uganda, there are more than 470 prisoners on death row. In 2010 in Uganda, five death sentences were handed out.
Today is World Day against the Death Penalty. People, governments and countries unite to oppose the death penalty. It undermines human dignity and there is no firm evidence that it has any value as a deterrent.
The UK nationally, and as a member state of the European Union, opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle and believes that it should be abolished. And we are not alone. 138 countries, including 16 African Union members, have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. In December 2010 more UN Member states than ever before supported the UN General Assembly resolution on stopping the use of the death penalty.
Now you may disagree. In Uganda, there are currently 16 offences that carry the death penalty and these include crimes such as rape, murder and espionage. You may believe that people found guilty of these crimes deserve such a punishment.
However, regardless of your views on the death penalty, there are still important reasons to ensure that its use meets minimum standards. No one would argue that it should be used for anything but the most serious crimes. It is important that those charged are given a fair trial: if an innocent person is convicted and wrongly executed, you cannot make it up to them. It is important that people on death row are treated humanely. These minimum standards should be met to protect human dignity.
The Constitutional Court of Uganda agrees. In 2009, it made three landmark rulings on how the death penalty is used. Firstly, it declared that it is cruel, inhuman and degrading for a convict to be on death row for longer than three years. It ruled that these convicts should have their cases reviewed and, if appropriate, their death penalties commuted to life imprisonment.
Secondly, the court declared it is unconstitutional for crimes to automatically result in a death penalty. Mandatory death penalties do not allow for the individual facts of the case to be considered. Finally, the court ruled that it is unlawful for civilians to be given a death penalty in a military court. The Ugandan People's Defence Force has since said that it will pass civilian cases to the High Court.
These three rulings significantly improve how the death penalty is used in Uganda. Unfortunately however, they have not been fully implemented. For example, there are individuals in Uganda who have been on death row for 18 years. People facing the death penalty often do not routinely have good access to lawyers or even legal advice.
This is why the UK is supporting Ugandan civil societies' efforts led by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative to promote the implementation of the Constitutional Court rulings and ensure minimum standards are met. Firstly, the initiative will help prevent innocent people being wrongly convicted by providing legal support for a fair trial.
Secondly, it is working to have death penalty sentences changed to life imprisonment when prisoners have spent more than three years on death row. Thirdly, it is helping to ensure that judges and magistrates are fully informed about the sentencing guidelines.
Lastly, it is supporting the amendment of laws that carry a mandatory death penalty. The UK hopes that Uganda will abolish the death penalty. But in the meantime, it is important that minimum standards on its use are met. We applaud the rulings of Uganda's Constitutional Court on the death penalty and look forward to their full implementation.
Mr Shearman it the British high commissioner to Uganda.
ALSO read more in All Africa here
Be sure not to miss the inspiring Photo, excerpts and find LINKS just below!