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Faculty of Law Commemorates World Day against Death penalty

November 3, 2015   Chanco Bulletin

The Faculty of Law in October organized an event commemorating the World Day against Death penalty, which falls on 10th October, 2015. The function was organized in conjunction with the European Union. 

People in attendance included the Principal of Chancellor College, Prof. Richard Tambulasi, EU Ambassador Marchel Gerrmann, The Irish Ambassador Aine Hearns, The Dean of Law, Dr Ngeyi Kanyongolo, Coordinator of the Kafantayeni Project Mr Emile Carreau, Dr Enoch Chilemba, a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law who was also the moderator of the event, law students and students from other faculties. 

Both the EU and Irish Ambassadors in their speeches emphasized the EU’s commitment towards the abolition of the death penalty. There was also a presentation of a short film on the death penalty by Ms Grace Nachiola. Mr Alexious Kamangira, a Fourth-Year Law student also presented an abstract of a paper that he is currently developing on abolition of the death penalty. 

The event also included a debate on the abolition of the death penalty. The panelists for the abolition of the death penalty were Prof Tambulasi, the EU Ambassador and the Irish Ambassador and those in favour of the death penalty were Mr Joel Botha, Mr Chrispin Ndalama and Ms Pachalo Mwenelupembe (Fourth Year law students). The arguments for the abolition were that it amounts to  torture and inhumane treatment, it is irreversible (sometimes innocent people might be executed) and that there is no evidence to prove that it is a deterrent punishment, that it appears as if the government kills on behalf of its citizens and that it is an outdated and cruel punishment. 

On the contrary, those in favour of the death penalty argued that suspension of the death penalty is a negation of  requirements of the law, that it is an expression of the will of the people of Malawi, that those convicted to the death penalty receive sympathy from the public because the execution is delayed, also that keeping convicts in prison is costly and expensive hence justifying the death penalty for very serious offences and that the penalty has withstood the test of time as evidenced by many countries retaining the same. 

To counter the argument on the irreversibility of the punishment, the opponents argued that mistakes are a risk of every trial. Moreover, in criminal proceedings all that the accused has to do is to raise reasonable doubt, failure of which most likely proves guilt. Finally, there were group photos taken outside the boardroom followed by a cocktail.

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