Parliament halts death penalty debate

By Alice Lubwama
Parliament has halted debate on the Law Revision (Penalties in Criminal Matters) Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill 2015 intending to give judges powers to decide whether one who has taken away another life be sentenced to death or not.

The deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya suspended the debate after realizing that most of the members of parliament did not understand the principles of the bill.

On Wednesday this week, the debate on the same bill hit a snug when the speaker allowed the legislators to read the report of the Bill from the Committee of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, but despite the time given to understand the bill, the debate kicked off with most MPs giving opinions contrary from the objective of the Law.

The private member’s bill seeks to remove all references to the mandatory death penalty prescribed in those laws and to restrict the application of the death penalty to ‘the most serious crimes’; to remove the restriction on mitigation in the case of convictions that carry a death penalty and related matters.

According to the mover of the Bill also Busiro East MP Medard segona, the legislation was necessary to address the ruling by the supreme court in case of Susan Kigula, in which the court ruled that the sentencing will lay in the trial judge’s discretion.