Malawi’s highest court on Wednesday outlawed the death penalty and ordered the re-sentencing of all convicts facing execution. The AFP news agency reports that Capital punishment has long been mandatory in Malawi for prisoners convicted of murder or treason, and optional for rape. Violent robberies, house break-ins, and burglaries could also be punishable by death or life imprisonment but executions have not been carried out since Malawi’s first democratically elected president, Bakili Muluzi, opposed the punishment when he took office in 1994. The country’s Supreme Court has now declared the death penalty “unconstitutional”, de facto abolishing it.