Death sentences and executions in 2023

Amnesty International’s monitoring of the global use of the death penalty recorded 1,153 known executions in 2023, an increase by 31% from 883 in 2022. However, there was a significant decrease in executing countries, from 20 in 2022 to 16 in 2023.

Highlights of the Kenyan Section of Amnesty International’s Death Sentences and Executions Report 2023

Kenya is making notable strides towards abolishing the death penalty. Here are the key highlights from the report:

  • Kenya is an abolitionist in practice, retaining the death penalty for ordinary crimes like murder but has not executed anyone in over a decade.
  • The last known execution in Kenya took place in 1987.
  • Death sentences in Kenya rose from 79 in 2022 to 131 in 2023.
  • Kenya saw significant commutations and exonerations of death sentences, with 606 commutations (the highest in Africa) and 5 exonerations.
  • By the end of 2023, 120 people were under sentence of death.
  • Four bills aiming to abolish the death penalty were introduced in Parliament between August and September 2023:
  • Preservation of Public Security (Amendment) Bill, 2023: Introduced in August, this bill seeks to abolish the death penalty for offences related to public security.
  • Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill, 2023: Introduced in September, this bill aims to remove references to the death penalty from the Legal Aid Act (No. 6 of 2016).
  • Prisons (Amendment) Bill, 2023: Also introduced in September, this bill proposes amendments to the Prisons Act, CAP 90 Laws of Kenya, to abolish the death penalty and its execution.
  • Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2023: Introduced in September, this bill seeks to amend the Penal Code, Cap 63 Laws of Kenya, to abolish the death penalty.