333/06 : Southern Africa Human Rights NGO Network and Others / Tanzania Summary of Facts 1. The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, (the Secretariat) th received a Communication on 17 November 2006 from the Southern Africa Human Rights NGO 1 Network-Tanzania and its member organisations (the Complainants). 2. The communication is submitted against the United Republic of Tanzania (hereafter referred to as 2 the Respondent State), State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter). The communication is submitted under Article 55 of the African Charter. nd 3. The Complainants submit that on 22 June 1994, the High Court of Tanzania rendered a decision in the case of R v. Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula, (the Mbushuu’ case) where it found that the death penalty in Tanzania is unconstitutional on the grounds that the way the sentence is executed (by hanging) violates the right to dignity of a person as protected under Article 13.6.d of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania and constitutes an inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment outlawed by Article 13(6)(e) of the same. 4. As a result of the above reasoning, Hon. Justice Mwalusa sentenced the accused persons (Mbushuu alias Dominic Mnyaroje and Kalai Sangula) to life imprisonment instead of the compulsory capital punishment for the crime of murder. 3 5. The Complainants further submit that the Tanzanian Government appealed the decision of the th High Court before the Court of Appeal. They state that on 30 January 1995, the Hon. Justices of the Court of Appeal: Makame, Ramadhan and Lubuva overturned the High Court decision rendered by Justice Mwalusa and found that the death penalty is constitutional because it is saved by claw back clauses provided in the Tanzanian Constitution. 6. The Court of Appeal held that the death penalty is permissible under international human rights instruments, has effective deterrence effect, is accepted by the public, is economically cheaper to execute than to serve a life imprisonment and is compatible with the Constitutions and practices of other State Parties to the African Charter. The Court further held that in the event of a conflict between domestic law and international law, the domestic law prevails. 7. The Complainants refuted each of the grounds of the decision rendered by the Court of Appeal on th 30 January 1995. Complaint 8. The Complainants allege that the decision of the Tanzanian Court of Appeal is a violation of Article 4 of the African Charter. 9. The Complainants request the African Commission to declare that the Court of Appeal’s decision violates Article 4 of the African Charter and that the circumstances of death penalty executions in Tanzania by hanging violates other relevant articles and other international norms against torture recognised by the African Commission. Procedure th th 10. The complaint, dated 17 November 2006, was received at the Secretariat on 25 November 2006. th 11. During the 40 Ordinary Session of the African Commission held in Banjul, The Gambia, from th th 15 to 29 November 2006, the African Commission considered the communication and decided to be seized of it. 12. By Note Verbale ACHPR/LPROT/COMM/333/2006/RWE dated 21st December 2006, the Secretariat informed the Respondent State of this decision and requested it to provide, within three months from the date of notification, its submissions on the admissibility of the communication.