Zambia retains the death penalty for murder, aggravated robbery and treason.
Zambia has been a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1984, and has ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition to the UN Human Rights Committee. However, it has neither signed nor ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Zambia ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1984 and signed the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1998.
A constitutional review process has recently taken place in Zambia. In July 2012, the consultation process concluded and the death penalty has been retained in the new draft Zambian Constitution.
We continue to work in partnership with Abraham Mwansa, an attorney in Zambia, in a challenge to the mandatory aspect of the death penalty in the case of Alex Njamba. Mr. Njamba was convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to death on 21 November 2008 by the High Court at Lusaka. We assisted local counsel in preparing the written submissions which were filed in the Supreme Court of Zambia in September 2010. We also prepared supplementary submissions to bring to the court’s attention the Mutiso judgment in Kenya which is highly relevant. Subsequently, the Court requested that the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions file written submissions in response to Mr. Njamba’s case. We anticipate that the case will be determined in 2012/2013.