Malawi: The use of death penalty and the mistreatment of minorities

During its 75th session, on 2 and 3 November 2022, the CAT considered Malawi's initial periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Ms Anna Racu and Mr Huawen Liu.

The country delegation was led by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Steven Willian Kayuni.

Main issues discussed:

The Committee reviewed Malawi for the first time since it ratified the Convention in 1996. The Committee established that there were persistent legislative gaps that impacted negatively on the overall prevention of torture, and the Criminal Code lacked comprehensive provisions addressing torture. Malawi has not yet criminalised torture as a separate offence under domestic law, which means acts amounting to torture could only be prosecuted as other ordinary criminal offences.

The Committee further deplored the conditions of pretrial detention centres and prisons, including the lack of coordination in the justice system that has led to the perpetuation of torture. It is concerned about the human rights violations against LGBTIQ+ persons. Malawi has an outdated Penal Code that criminalises same-sex relations, thus creating a stigma which increases the amount of assault that these persons experience upon arrest. Furthermore, LGBTIQ+ refugees experience an increased amount of torture and a lack of protection and services.

The Committee recommended that Malawi should ensure that the absolute prohibition of torture was non-derogable and that acts amounting to torture should not be subject to any statute of limitations and be fully prosecuted.

Please find the CAT’s recommendations here.

Follow-up recommendations

The State party should provide by 25 November 2023 information on the implementation of the following recommendations related to:

  • Pretrial detention
  • Confessions obtained through torture or other ill-treatment
  • Conditions of detention

Watch here Part One and Part Two of the dialogue with the Committee.