The Reliability of Decisions About Whom to Execute in Zimbabwe
MetadataShow full item record
The death penalty debate generates a lot of emotional heat. Many people ardently support the retention of the death. sentence for murder. The main basis for supporting the use of the death penalty is probably not so much the belief that this penalty is an effective deterrent but rather a deep conviction that the death sentence is a just retribution; murderers have seen fit to kill people and therefore they too deserve to die. Those opposed to the death penalty argue that it is morally wrong for the State to kill people, no matter how terrible the murders that they have committed; that the whole process of dealing with prisoners condemned to death, and finally executing them, is an extremely sordid one which debases State institutions; that the death penalty has no greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment; that no system of criminal justice is infallible and innocent persons could end up being hanged by mistake. Even those who, in principle, favour the death penalty, would surely have doubts about its use if they were persuaded that the system under which decisions are made about whom to sentence to death is arbitrary, inconsistent, discriminatory and unreliable. This article seeks to establish that it is doubtful that the current system in Zimbabwe yields consistent and reliable results.