The three day Congress, starting today, seeks to assist countries develop new strategies for universal abolition of the death penalty. This year’s theme is Abolition Now! The Kenyan delegation, under the leadership of the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC),
is expected to present the Kenya position on the ongoing global debate on the death penalty. POMAC is mandated to advice the President of the Republic of Kenya on the exercise of the power of mercy. It is a nine member Committee that includes the Attorney General, who is the Committee’s chairperson, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Correctional Services, and seven professional part time members. Mr. Michael Kagika the POMAC secretary and Mr. Gerald Wandera a director with the National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) are leading the Kenyan delegation into the meeting. The annual event, now in its 5th year running, brings together Government Representatives, Members of the Civil Society, Political
Representatives, Lawyers, media, and other key stakeholders keen on raising awareness on the death penalty. The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee was established through Article 133 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. Since its inception on Nov 1, 2011, 4,500 death row inmates have so far benefitted from the Power of Mercy after having their death sentences commuted into life. In addition to the constitutional mandate, The Power of Mercy Act, 2011 assigns the Committee with functions that support its work including to undertake or commission research and to collect data on matters relating to the power of mercy. Currently, POMAC in partnership with the National Crime Research Centre, is conducting a National Public debate to solicit views from the general public, on the subject of capital offences and capital punishment. The objective of the debate is to provide an open dialogue on what Kenyans want in regard to the handling of capital offenders and the management of capital offences.