MONROVIA: Days after the Plenary of the Liberian Senate passed a unanimous agreement by 17 Senators to abolish death penalty, Human Rights advocate, Adama K. Dempster has called for the an act of legislation to serve as a guarantee that death penalty will no longer see the light of day in Liberia’s jurisprudence.
“We call on both houses of the National Legislature without delay to support the government’s effort by enacting a law that will put an end to capital punishment, thereby returning Liberia to an abolitionist state,” he intoned.
According to Dempster, Liberia, as a signatory to the United Nations Human Rights Council-Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process must stick to the international protocol that disallows death as penalty for any gravity of crimes.
Dempster, who currently serves as the Secretary General of the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia emphasized that there should be no place for the death penalty in the country.
The rights advocate pointed out that death penalty by all measures violates an individual right to life, which according to him, is the most important of all human rights.
Dempster, who also established the Independent Human Rights Investigators, said that death penalty weakens the self-respect of human, which he says is an essential factor to human existence.
He argued that no study has proven that death penalty is a deterrent factor that prevents the commission of crimes, saying “No study shows that the death penalty is effective in preventing crimes”.
It can be recalled that the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary endorsed the passage of the bill calling for the removal of the provisions of the death penalty.
According to Dempster, condemning criminal to death doesn’t serve a remedy to the commission of crimes adding, “we can live without the death penalty; we execute justice rather than people; the death penalty kills people, not crime; death is not a sentence; and it’s a full stop.”
Earlier in May 2022, the Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Executive Branch headed by President George M. Weah presented a bill calling for the enactment of a legislation to abolish death sentence.
The human Rights Advocate applauds the Executive Branch for what he termed as a commendable step aimed at removing the penalty of death from Liberia’s jurisprudence as such move is geared towards keeping Liberia in compliance with the UPR’s recommendations.
In 2005, Liberia consented to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which also disallow death sentences around the world.
In keeping with the ICCPR Protocol, Liberia was obligated to enforce a freeze on execution of death penalty and revise its laws aimed at ending Capital Punishment.
Dempster disclosed that in 2008 the 52nd Legislature amended the Criminal Procedure Law which in effect reinstated Capital Punishment for crimes ranging from terrorism, armed robbery, and hijacking resulting in death, including murder and treason under the 1976 law.
Dempster pointed out that since 2008; Liberia’s judiciary system continues to pronounce death penalties for criminal offenses even though no execution of death has taken place.