II. IN MY CAPACITY AS CHAIRPERSON OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE DEATH PENALTY
A. Sub-regional Conference on the Death Penalty in Africa
The main activity achieved was the organization of the first Sub-Regional Conference on the Death Penalty in Africa which took place from the 23rd to the 25th September 2009 in Kigali, Rwanda. It brought together participants from East, South and Central Africa comprising of representatives of States and National Human Rights Institutions. The representatives of the African Union, the African Court, the Commission for the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Professors, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the members of the Working Group on the Death Penalty also participated in this Conference.
I chaired the deliberations of this Conference while the other members of the Working Group served as Resource Persons and made presentations on themes formulated on the basis of the Chapters which made up the document that had been prepared by the Working Group on the position of the Commission regarding the issue of the death penalty.
The Conference provided an opportunity for the initiation of dialogue and consultations on the Continent on the important and at times sensitive issue of the abolition of the death penalty and of discussing the content of the document on the topic of the death penalty.
At the end of this Conference, the participants adopted a document entitled: « Framework Document on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa », which contains general recommendations emanating from the Conference. This document is joint in the appendix.
On the sidelines of this Conference, the members of the Working Group met to discuss the future activities of the Working Group. They proposed that the next sub-regional conference on the death penalty which is to bring together participants from North and West Africa be scheduled for March 2010.
B. Situation of the Death Penalty in Africa
During this intersession period I noted significant progress relating to the issue of the death penalty. Burundi and Togo have already passed laws abolishing the death penalty. Other countries like Burkina Faso have indicated the will to abolish this penalty and national consultations on the issue have already commenced. I urge the other States Parties to the Charter to take the plunge which represents the recognition of the fundamental right to the life and human dignity of our populations.