Parliament of Uganda has enacted and passed a law that slaps a death penalty to anyone convicted for human sacrifice.
The Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill (2020) also proposes the death penalty for anyone found guilty for giving another person money to commit human sacrifice. The Bill now awaits assent by the President.
The Bill defines “human Sacrifice” to mean the killing, mutilation, removal of organs or body parts of a person for sale or for purpose of witchcraft, rituals or any harmful human practices.
Human sacrifice is a growing concern to law enforcement agencies, parents, child rights activists and the general public.
The reported cases indicate that whereas the perpetrators of human sacrifice are mostly witch doctors and traditional healers, the financiers of the practice are often wealthy individuals who are never prosecuted.
In a report by members of the Legal Affairs committee of parliament, an offence of Human sacrifice in Uganda is not punished in its own right but instead catered for under the Penal Code Act Cap 120 as a murder offence. The committee noted that these provisions are lacking the key elements unique to the offence of human sacrifice.
Clause (l)(3) of the Bill states that “A person who mutilates, or causes the death of another person, for the purpose of performing or furthering a ritual …commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to suffer death.”
A ritual according to the Bill means a religious, traditional or cultural ceremony performed for the purpose of satisfying a belief. However, the offense also covers removal or mutilation of human tissue of a person and the drawing of blood from a victim.
The Bill now an Act also carries life imprisonment for financing human sacrifice as well as attempting sacrifice of a human;
Clause (1) “A person shall not finance another person, whether directly or indirectly, to commit the human sacrifice and (2) whoever commits the offence and is liable, on conviction, to suffer death.”
(4)(1) “A person who attempts to commit the offence of human sacrifice or the offence of financing human sacrifice specified in sections 2 and 3 is liable on conviction, to imprisonment for life.”
Possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice is also criminalized under this law.
Clause 6 says “A person who unlawfully has in his or her possession human body parts; (b) unlawfully uses human body parts in medicine or concoction, whether for sale, personal use or any other purpose; or (c) makes or uses or assists in the making or using, or has in his or her possession an instrument used for or associated with human sacrifice, commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life”
The Bill also includes provision that allows the payment of compensation to a survivor of the offence, or his family or dependent as well as rehabilitation the survivor of human sacrifice.
Records from the Uganda Police Force show that human sacrifice cases have been steadily increasing for the last several years with reports of incidences of human sacrifice, especially of children rampant since the 1990s. Every year, the Uganda Police Force Annual Crime and Traffic/Road Safety Reports illustrate that the offence of human are escalating without abatement.