Release Date: April 16, 2014
Publisher: Palgrave Pivot
Over the past decade the death penalty has sharply declined across the African continent, and the number of executions outside of North Africa has fallen to a trickle. While this would seem to fit within the general global decline in executions and the increasing number of abolitionist jurisdictions worldwide, it is a process that bears little relation to public opinion in Africa or to the strong retributivist sentiments held by the continent's political elites. This study places modern capital punishment in Africa within the context of religious and culturally specific notions of life, death, and burial as well as the Western imposition of criminal and penal policy during the colonial era. The tensions of the death penalty in present-day sub-Saharan Africa, increasingly limited to English-speaking and common-law Africa (as well as majority-Islamic regions), reflect these historical origins.Sangmin Bae of Northeastern Illinois University writes:
Despite its political and cultural significance, Africa has been an under-researched continent in the study of the death penalty. The Death Penalty in Africa: Foundations and Future Prospects fills this gap in scholarship through an eloquent account of the origins, key features and dynamics of the death penalty in Africa. This timely book deserves much attention from anyone interested in the history and future of the death penalty.Author Andrew Novak teaches the death penalty, comparative constitutional law, and common law in Africa at the George Mason University Law School in Arlington, Virginia. He has a law degree from Boston University and a master's degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He also teaches at American University in Washington, D.C., and is author of the forthcoming The Global Decline of the Mandatory Death Penalty: Constitutional Jurisprudence and Legislative Reform in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean (Ashgate Publishing Company, June 2014).