International human rights law and foreign case law in interpreting constitutional rights: The Supreme Court of Uganda and the death penalty question.
Mujuzi, Jamil Ddamulira
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On 21 January 2009, the Supreme Court of Uganda handed down a judgment in which it held that the death penalty was constitutional, that a mandatory death sentence was unconstitutional, that hanging as a mode of execution was not cruel and inhuman, and that the death row phenomenon is cruel and inhuman and therefore unconstitutional. Although the Constitution of Uganda does not empower or require the Court to refer to international law or foreign case law in interpreting the Constitution, the Court relied heavily on international human rights treaties and jurisprudence in arriving at its decision. This article has three purposes: one, to show how the Ugandan Court used international law and foreign case law in its judgment; two, to analyse the Court's orders; and third to recommend that the Constitution of Uganda be amended to empower or require courts to refer to international law and foreign case law in interpreting the country's Constitution.