Amnesty International praised Kenya on Thursday for limits it has placed on use of the death penalty, but urged it to join the 20 African countries that have abolished capital punishment altogether.
“Kenya has taken some progressive steps toward abolition,” said Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty’s lead advocate for eliminating the death penalty.
“But Kenya still has a way to go in reaching true abolition,” Mr Popoola added in an interview.
His comments coincided with release of an Amnesty report on the status of the death penalty worldwide. It hails sub-Saharan Africa as a “beacon of hope” in the global effort to end state-sponsored executions.
The report highlights the Kenyan Supreme Court ruling last December that found mandatory imposition of the death penalty to be unconstitutional.
But the court did not strike down the death penalty itself. As a result, capital punishment remains lawful even though judges are no longer required to order it in cases of murder and armed robbery.
Kenya has not executed any deathrow inmate since 1987.