By Vatican News
The last official execution in the Central African Republic took place in 1981.
In the intervening period, the justice system has no longer requested the death penalty against a convicted person, though the possibility of capital punishment remained.
This is no longer the case after the lower house of parliament voted by acclamation on Friday to abolish the death penalty. Chad did so in 2020, and Sierra Leone in 2021.
The mainly symbolic measure is unlikely to fundamentally change the security situation in the country, which is plagued by violence and fighting between rebel groups and the national army, supported by Russian mercenaries. But human rights defenders claim the abolition of the death penalty is a positive signal.
Church’s opposition to the death penalty
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, since the reform instituted by Pope Francis in 2018, condemns the use of the death penalty.
It states that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”, even in the case of a very serious crime.
At the same time, “more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.”
This new formulation regarding the death penalty, approved by Pope Francis, came into effect on 1 August 2018.
The Catechism thus urges the Church to “work with determination for the abolition [of the death penalty] worldwide.”