Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa left for Rome, Italy yesterday to attend the ninth International Justice Ministers’ Meeting.

VP Mnangagwa oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio, and is travelling with senior ministry officials, among them Permanent Secretary Mrs Virginia Mabiza. Themed “No Justice Without Life”, the two-day meeting starts tomorrow.

The VP is expected to deliver an address on Zimbabwe’s position on the death penalty, homing in on the national legal system.

Zimbabwe is among countries that still have the death penalty in its statutes, a situation VP Mnangagwa has time and again said he personally does not agree with.

Significant progress has been made to limit the number of offences that attract the penalty, while women, those above the age of 70 and those below 21-years-old cannot be sentenced to capital punishment.

The Rome meeting was organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay organisation of Catholics founded in 1968 by Andrea Riccardi to promote global evangelisation and charity.

Its principles include prayer, communication with the gospel, solidarity with the poor, ecumenism and dialogue as a means of conflict resolution.

The interface has helped many countries shape national policies and legislation regarding the death penalty.

It aims to provide a platform for dialogue for countries that have taken or intend to start a path to a moratorium on capital executions, to open a debate on justice renewal, giving priority to human rights as contained in national legal systems and regional and international human rights instruments

The underpinning principle towards the abolition of the death penalty is that it violates the rights to life and dignity.