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The Times of Zambia, Ndola, 1 December 1999
Corporal punishment ruling hailed
By Times Reporter
THE Permanent Human Rights Commission (PHRC) and the Zambia Independent Monitoring Team (ZIMT) have described as democratic the banning of corporal punishment by High Court judge Elliot Chulu.
PHRC chairperson judge Lombe Chibesakunda said in a statement that the landmark judgement was in line with the PHRC's stand.
Judge Chibesakunda hailed the judgement by Mr Chulu who quashed a sentence by a magistrate court in which Lusaka resident John Banda was to receive 10 strokes of the cane.
"Corporal punishment and caning are contrary to Article 15 of the Republican constitution. While other rights have derogations for example the right to life, Article 15 of the Zambia constitution, protects all persons from inhuman treatment and has no provision for derogation or exception. Caning therefore contradicts the spirit of Article 15 of the constitution," she said.
ZIMT president Alfred Zulu said in an interview that the judgement has added value to democratic governance.
"Corporal punishment is inconsistent with the basic human rights. It's abominable and has never been known to correct behaviour or reform suspects. It is a good judgement because it will move the executive to quickly abolish the law which covers corporal punishment," Mr Zulu said.
He said judge Chulu should be hailed for his high degree of judicial activism.
"This will help with reform of bad laws and has added value to democracy especially that Zambia last year acceded to the convention against torture," he added.
He observed that corporal punishment had in most instances hardened criminals instead of reforming them.
Mr justice Chulu declared null and void section 24 (c) and 27 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 87 of the laws of Zambia which he said were in direct conflict with Article 15 of the Republican constitution.
Cross Roads Africa (CRA), a non governmental organisation (NGO) has also supported the ban of corporal punishment.
Cross Roads Africa president John Mwape said in a press statement released that Judge Chulu's decision would enhance the promotion of justice, fair play and human rights in general.
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