We, the participants to the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria from 7th to 9th November, 2008,
Reaffirming the right of everyone to life and article 5(3) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child providing that the Death Sentence shall not be pronounced for victims committed by children;
Recalling ACHPR/Res. 42 (XXVI) Urging the State to envisage a Moratorium on Death penalty (adopted at the 26th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 1-15 November 1997 in Kigali, Rwanda).
Recalling the UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149 adopted in 2007 which calls upon all states that still maintain the death penalty to, inter alia, establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
Recalling resolution 2005/59, adopted on 20 April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that still maintain the death penalty “to abolish the death penalty completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions“;
Recalling UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights` resolution 1999/4 which calls upon all states that retain the death penalty and do not apply the moratorium on executions, in order to mark the millennium, to commute the sentences of those under sentence death on 31 December 1999 at least to sentences of life imprisonment and to commit themselves to a moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty throughout the year 2000;
Noting that six States parties to African Charter on Human and Peoples` Rights have ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at abolition of the death penalty;
Noting further that at least 27 States parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples` rights have de facto or de jure abolished the death penalty;
Considering the exclusion of capital punishment from the penalties that the International Criminal Court, the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Special Panels for serious crimes in Timor-Leste, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda are authorised to impose;
Concerned that some States parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples` rights impose the death penalty under conditions not in conformity with the rights pertaining to affair trial guaranteed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples` Rights and other relevant international standards;
1. Urges all States parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that still maintain the death penalty to comply fully with their obligations under the treaty and to ensure that persons accused of crimes for which the death penalty is a competent sentence are afforded all the fair trial guarantees in the African Charter; and other relevant regional and international treaties and standards.
2. Calls upon all States parties that still maintain the death penalty to:
a. Establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149
b. If they have not yet done so, ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death Penalty;
c. Support the work of the Working Group on the Death Penalty of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
d. Urge African Union member States to report periodically to the UN Secretary General on the steps they are taking to implement the UN General Assembly resolution 62/149 in their territories ‘adopt guidelines to ensure that states parties to the African Commission on Human and Peoples` Rights discuss in their periodic reports the steps they are taking to move towards the abolition of the death penalty in their countries.
Done in Abuja, November 9th, 2008