Masisi rejects EU on death penalty

  • Urges EU to wait for Batswana to decide for themselves
  • EU Delegation confirms Masisi told them to wait for constitutional review


Only Batswana can decide to abolish the death penalty by amending the law in the impending constitutional review, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has told the Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC in response to its calls for abolition of capital punishment in Botswana.

In a meeting with the European Delegation in Gaborone last week, he said abolition of the death penalty is primarily a question of political will.

The President’s position was confirmed by the Ambassador of the EU to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek. “Yes, the death penalty was discussed last week with President Masisi when he hosted an EU delegation,” Sadek said. “As you are aware, the EU is strongly opposed to use of the death penalty under any circumstances.”

“There is no proof that the death penalty has a deterrent effect. It also makes judicial errors irreversible. The government has responded by saying that the issue will be dealt with through the anticipated constitutional review.”

The European Union and the Council of Europe this week reaffirmed their strong opposition on capital punishment at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty, they hold, is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that denies the right to life. In their view, its abolition is essential to ensuring respect for human dignity.

Nevertheless, the EU has said it will continue to support increased public debate and awareness-raising around the death penalty and its “appalling” impact on families and societies in the run-up to the 2022 World Congress Against the Death Penalty.

“We will not stop our work and our vigilance, our dialogue with those who have not yet accomplished abolition and our support to civil society and NGOs until no further death sentence is applied,” reads its statement released this week.

The statement said the EU welcomed the fact that the number of countries that are still executing people continues to fall. Last year, no executions took place in 176 countries, representing 91% of UN member states.