Botswana: President-elect Masisi must make death penalty abolition his top priority

Botswana’s president-elect Mokgweetsi Masisi must prioritize abolishing the death penalty in the country, Amnesty International said today ahead of his inauguration tomorrow.

Mr Masisi has a chance to immediately demonstrate strong leadership by abolishing the death penalty
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southern Africa

“Mr Masisi has a chance to immediately demonstrate strong leadership by abolishing the death penalty. Justice is not served by executing people, and the world is moving away from this abhorrent and degrading form of punishment,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“There is no space for the death penalty in a country like Botswana, which has demonstrated a great leadership role on some difficult political issues, including by denouncing impunity for human rights violations on the African continent.”

Justice is not served by executing people, and the world is moving away from this abhorrent and degrading form of punishment
Deprose Muchena

The death penalty is still used for certain crimes in Botswana. In 2018, two people were executed after they were convicted of murder.

It is the only country in Southern Africa that consistently executes people, bucking the regional and global trend.

Executions fell by almost one-third in 2018 to the lowest figure in a decade. At the end of last year, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

There is no space for the death penalty in a country like Botswana, which has demonstrated a great leadership role on some difficult political issues, including by denouncing impunity for human rights violations on the African continent
Deprose Muchena

The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Amnesty International calls on Botswana to abolish the death penalty for all crimes and join the other 106 countries around the world that have done away with this cruel punishment.