Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda (An Analysis of the Implications of the Susan Kugula Case)


The researcher embarked on the research topic: An analysis of the implications of the SUSAN KIGULA CASE; The study investigates two issues related to Uganda perception about the abolition of the death penalty and also discusses the implications and imports of the Kigula Case- a special type of ruling on the subject in Uganda. In the researcher’s report there is an introduction of the death penalty and its background in Uganda. The researcher looks at the background in Uganda and the rest of the world in general, had an opportunity to look at the current literature and the different view points i.e. literature of the death penalty generally and in Uganda in particular, and conducted field study, desk study and the findings have been included and summarized in chapter four- Data analysis, Interpretation and Presentation. conclusions have been drawn and it is hoped hoped that another researcher may start from there for further research. Given the world trend, it will not be long for the death penalty to be abolished entirely from the Ugandan statute books. It is the researcher’s view that people live and work in a global village — and Uganda is part of this global village. Uganda cannot afford to work in isolation. The modern evolving standards of decency cannot leave Uganda out. The researcher agrees with the world wide trend and majority views concerning the death penalty that it is no longer viable. The sooner the death penalty is abolished, the better. The researcher concluded by stating that the death penalty has outlived its useful purpose The researcher found that more than 2/3 of the world have abolished the death penalty — in law and practice. Even the 50 countries that have retained the death penalty, have not used it in 2009. It was only 18 countries that (included China) used it in the same year. The researcher reviewed different literature of different authors with diverse views on the death penalty. Some of those reviewed included; The death penalty debate by Hon. Justice Anthony Bahati, Chairman of the Law Reform of Tanzania, Robin M. Maher, “The death penalty and reform in the USA; The people decide by Leah Ambler, John MCdams views on the deterrents among others. Following the research design, the researcher embarked on the analysis of the Susan Kigula case and its implication on the Ugandan laws. The researcher first looked at the legal provisions governing the death penalty in Uganda — both in civil and military courts, and a list of offences that attract the death penalty. The researcher also looked at the international human rights instruments and how they impart on Ugandan court system. The researcher found that most of the people interviewed were in favour of the death xv penalty. This was no sui~rise in a countly where mob justice is ve~ common even for the slightest offence. The death penalty is constitutional in Uganda but the court’s judicial notice on the international trend for abolition and the advice to the law makers to consider the abolition of the death penalty is indeed encouraging. The researcher was able to identify a number of elements inconsistent with the international human rights obligation of Uganda in the context of the administration of the death penalty. Great attention has been focused on the abolition of the death penalty the world over. The abolionists have failed to consider the plight of the victims families. The victims have also human rights which were cut short by deliberate criminal behavior. Many writers and researchers are of the view that the death penalty has no deterrent effect. In the researcher’s view this is debatable. The researcher concludes that death penalty in Uganda (in light of what has transpired) will soon be abolished. How soon this will depend on how the government and other stakeholders will act; — namely sensitize the public. But until that is done, the hardened attitude of the populace may take long to soften.


Declaration A ii

Declaration B iii

Approval iv

Dedication v

Acknowledgement vi

List of Acronyms vii

List of Tables ix

List of Figures x

Table of Contents xi


1.1 Background of the study 1

1.2 The Global Picture 10

1.3 Statement of the problem 12

1.4. Significance of the study 13


2.1 The death penalty debate by Hon Justice Anthony Bahati argues;Crimes as well as the mode of punishment correlate the culture and form of civilization from which they emerge 15

2.2 Robin M. Maher in his article: The death penalty and reform in the USA 16

2.3 A new procedure 17

2,4 The people decide: by Leah Ambler 19

2.5 John Mcdams views on deterrence 20

2.6 Just violence’ 21

2.7. The death penalty 22

2.8 Mandatory death sentence in Uganda 23

2.9 What is the way forward9 23

2.10 The authors give the following figures namely; 24

2.11 Organized psychiatry and the death penalty: An introduction to the special section 25


3.1 Research Design 26

3.2 Research Population 26

3.3 Sample size 27

3.4 Sampling procedure 27

3.5 Data collecting methods 27

3.6. Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis 28

3.7 Ethical considerations 29

3.8. Limitation of the study 29

4.0 The legal provisions governing the death penalty in Uganda 30

4.1. Death Pnealty and the Constitution 30

4.2. Economic and Social Rights 30

4.3 Ratification of international human rights instruments 3 1

4.4 The Ugandan Human rights Commission 32

4.5 Public opinion and the death penalty 33

4.6. Military justice 34

4.7 Statistics of Application of the Death Penalty between 1989 and 1999 37

4.8: Death sentences under Ugandan law 39

4.9 The Notion of Most Serious Crimes 40

4.10 New crimes attracting the Death Penalty 40

4.11 Mandatory death sentences 41

4.12 Vulnerable Groups 43

4.13 Political opponents 44

4.14. No mercy for the military 45

4.15. The road to abolition 46

4.16 The petition before the constitutional court invoked several argurnents~ 48

4.17 The death penalty and the Human Rights Standards~ 49

4.18 The Key Principle 49

4.19 Does invoking the qualification of the right to life amount to derogation9 50

4.20 Right to life and prohibition of arbitrary deprivation 50

4.21 The right to life is violated even where there is no actual loss of life 51

4.22 Protection of the right to life poses the question of the lawfulness of the death penalty under IHR instruments 5 1

4.23 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 52

4.24 International Covenant on civil and Political Rights 53

4.25 Thus Article 7 provides thus:- 54

4.26 Second Optional Protocol to International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty 55

4.27 Convention against Torture 55

4.28 Global Overview of Death Penalty 57

4.29 The key issues being prison conditions in Africa and Arbitrary treatment, judicial remedies. .58

4.30 Arbitrary Treatment 59

4.31 Judicial Remedies 60

4.32 The Suzan Kigula case: a step ahead or a bar to abolition of the death penalty in Uganda9 61

4.33 Distinction between the death penalty generally and the mandatory death penalty 61

4.34 The court’s view on the death penalty as violation on human rights 62


5.0 Introduction 63

5.1 Respondent Identification 63

5.2 Background — Bio data Information 64

5.3 Age of the Respondents 64

5.4 Marital status of the Respondents 65

5.5 Education background of the Respondents 66

5.6 Death penalty Awareness & Legality 66

5.7 Persons in Death Sentence Awareness 67

5.8 Crimes Committed 68

5.9 Effectiveness of Death Sentence 68

5.10 Abolishment of Death Sentence 69

5.11 Death Penalty an Effective Deterrent Punishment 70

5.12 Death Penalty violate the Right to Iife 71

5.13 Death Penalty affirm Right to life 71

5.14 Ethical Acceptance .72

5.15 Death Penalty & Community Crime Method 72

5.16 Abolishing Death Penalty in Uganda 72

5.17 innocent Persons Sentenced to Death Awareness 73

5.18 Replacement of death sentence 74

5.19 Death Sentence conformity with Human Rights 74

5.20 Other Views on Death Penalty in Uganda 74

5.21 Further contacts on this work 75


6.0 Conclusion and Recommendations 76

6. 1. Recommendations 80

6.1.1 To the government of Uganda 80


Appendix 1 :Transmittal Letter 89

APpendix 1I:Clearance from Ethics Committee 90

APpendix III:Informed Consent 91

Appendix IV:Research Instrument 92

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Consults, E. & MKJ, M (2023). Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda (An Analysis of the Implications of the Susan Kugula Case). Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Consults, Education, and Matovu MKJ "Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda (An Analysis of the Implications of the Susan Kugula Case)" Afribary. Afribary, 10 Jan. 2023, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.


Consults, Education, and Matovu MKJ . "Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda (An Analysis of the Implications of the Susan Kugula Case)". Afribary, Afribary, 10 Jan. 2023. Web. 14 Jun. 2024. < >.


Consults, Education and MKJ, Matovu . "Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda (An Analysis of the Implications of the Susan Kugula Case)" Afribary (2023). Accessed June 14, 2024.