Zimbabwe is moving closer towards the abolishment of capital punishment and proposals to that effect will soon be tabled before Cabinet, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has said.
Addressing international delegates attending the 11th international meeting of the Ministers of Justice themed "A world without death penalty -- no justice without life", in Rome, Italy, yesterday, Minister Ziyambi said the death sentence was not only cruel and degrading punishment, but also destroyed life.
This development comes at a time when Zimbabwe has 81 prisoners on the death row, while 127 are serving life terms.
"The coming into force of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe brought a significant trajectory on the question of death penalty," said Minister Ziyambi.
"The death sentence may be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances.
"Secondly, such form of sentence must not be imposed on women, male persons who are under the age of 21 and over the age of 70 years convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances. The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act has already been amended in order to give effect to this constitutional provision.
"Let me also highlight that the death sentence is not only cruel and degrading punishment, but also destroys life and annihilates human dignity.
"Furthermore, criminological researches have revealed that the death penalty does not deter the commission of crimes, but rather compounds it."