Amnesty International Rallies Stakeholder Support for the Abolishment of the Death Penalty in Ghana

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Story Reported by Gideon Kotey 

Amnesty International (AI) has intensified the campaign to abolish the death penalty in the country.

The Executive Director of AI, Mr. Frank Doyi , speaking at Stakeholders’ Briefing Workshop on Death Penalty Campaign in Accra on Tuesday, revealed that the strategy to get the death penalty changed after AI realized that the implementation of the recommendation to abolish the death penalty has stalled.

Dr. Vincent Adzahlie- Mensah(left) and Mr. Frank Doyi (Right)

The new approach he noted was grounded on sound legal advice which he said now focuses on amending the Criminal Offences Act, Act 29 (1960) to abolish 96% of the provisions relating to the use of the death.

“This new approach seeks to demonstrate that our quest to abolish capital punishment as a country can be largely achieved without necessarily amending the 1992 Constitution of Ghana”, Mr. Doyi emphasized.

He added that “ amending the 1992 constitution to abolish the Death Penalty as recommended by the Constitution Review Committee seems to be a long-term goal”.

Mr. Frank Doyi , speaking to the media

The Executive Director however explained that amending the Criminal Offences Act, Act 29 (1960) to abolish 96% of the Provisions relating to the use of the death penalty appears to be what he describes as a low hanging fruit that is achievable in the short-term.

Mr. Doyi expressed optimism that with the new approach, coupled with the overwhelming support of the Coalition , their expectations will be met.

Dr. Vincent Adzahlie- Mensah speaking to the media.

Later in an interview, the International Board Chair of AI, Dr. Vincent Adzahlie- Mensah stressed that sanctity of human life is very crucial hence the campaign for the Abolishment of the death penalty.

“We support that there should be life imprisonment without a parole as an alternative to the death penalty”, he said.

Dr. Adzalie-Mensah explained that the provision in Constitution is entrenched a situation which requires a referendum to repeal it adding that referendum is very expensive.

The International Board Chair therefore appealed to Parliament to expedite action on repealing the provisions in the criminal offences act “that allows Judges to sentence to death”.

“If that is repealed there will be a lot opportunities to either invest in life imprisonment without parole”, he emphasized.

He however stressed that the Attorney – General is adamant in sponsoring the Bill but was quick to maintain that “we are fortunate that we have the Private Members Bill being submitted to Parliament and we encourage Parliamentarians of living up to their responsibilities of protecting human rights”.

Lawyer Elizabeth Owusua Represented Lawyer Xavier Sosu

Human Right Lawyers such as Lawyer Martin Kpebu and Francis Xavier Sosu who made a presentation advised the Coalition to focus on the amendment rather than the referendum.

Lawyer Martin Kpebu having his take on the issue

Lawyer Sosu who is also the MP for Madina said the imperfections in the judicial system meant that people could be killed through the death penalty hence his resolve to submit the Private Members Bill to Parliament.


Editor: Nii Amon 

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