This article was originally published in Ghana Web, Thursday 3 August 2023.
The Death Penalty Project UK has commended the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, and parliament for their roles in the repeal of the death penalty from Ghana’s statute books.
It will be recalled that the Parliament of Ghana on Tuesday 25 July, 2023, and Thursday July 27, 2023, passed the Criminal and Other Offenses (Amendment) Bill 2022, and the Armed Forces (Amendment) Bill, 2022, the substitute life imprisonment for the death penalty.
These amendments, which have been described globally by human rights watchers as historic, were proposed by a private member who is a human rights and public lawyer and Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, Francis-Xaiver Sosu.
Prior to the amendments, the proposal had received widespread support for key stakeholders, including the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Chief Justice, and Justices of the Supreme Court, the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police and Prisons Services, religious organisations, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations and the Diplomatic Community.
During a visit to Parliament, the Executive Co-Director of The Death Penalty Project UK, Saul Lehrfreund, said: “As a Project, we will like to thank the Parliament of Ghana and especially Rt. Hon Speaker for his historic leadership and guidance without which Parliament may not have been able to take these bold steps.”
The passage of the bills form part of efforts by the 8th parliament to ensure the realization of a free, open, prosperous, inclusive and secure society, where individual rights and freedoms and the dignity of all persons are truly respected and guaranteed as enshrined in Article 15 of the 1992 Constitution, a statement from the Office of the Speaker said.
Following the passage of the bills, Ghana has now become the 29th African country to abolish the death penalty from its statute books for ordinary offenses, following neighbouring countries, including Sierra Leone, Zambia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea, among others.