Tanzania retains the death penalty for ordinary crimes including murder and treason.
Although Tanzania has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1976, it has neither signed nor ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition nor the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Tanzania ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1984 and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2006.
Working with the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), we have filed public interest litigation challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty per se and the mandatory imposition of the death penalty. We have experienced delays in obtaining hearing dates and the matter has remained pending before the courts for more than two years. As a result, we have held meetings with our local partners in Tanzania to devise new litigation strategies to ensure that cases are heard within a reasonable timeframe. LHRC are now seeking to identify a suitable case to bring an appeal on sentence before the criminal courts challenging constitutionality of the application of the death penalty.