Paris and Cotonou, 9 July 2012 – On 5 July 2012, Benin acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, making it the 9th African country to become a party to the Protocol and the 17th African country to abolish the death penalty.
On 18 August 2011, a huge majority of Beninese deputies voted to abolish the death penalty in their country, and on 5 July 2012, the Beninese Government deposited its instrument of ratification. The Protocol will enter into force in Benin on 5 October 2012, under article 8 §2, which states that “For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument of accession, the present Protocol shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or instrument of accession”.
FIACAT and ACAT Benin, who have accompanied this process, congratulate the Beninese Government for this commitment, which is a very important step towards human rights protection in Benin.
Benin must now remove all references to the death penalty from its criminal legislation and commute the sentences of prisoners on death row at the civilian prison of Akpro-Missérété, near Cotonou, to fixed-term sentences. FIACAT and ACAT Benin will ensure that the Protocol is implemented effectively.
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. It is the only universal treaty that provides for the permanent abolition of the death penalty. Benin is the 9th African State to ratify the Protocol, bringing the number of countries that have adopted it worldwide to 75.