President Nana Akufo-Addo has given assurance to the president of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Piotr Hofmanski, that Ghana will take immediate steps to fully incorporate the “Rome Statute” crimes fully into the country’s domestic laws.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community, namely; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.
Currently, only the crime of genocide is in the statute books of Ghana, specifically section 49A of the criminal and other offence Act, 1960 (Act 29) which states: (1) Whoever commits genocide shall on conviction be sentenced to death.
(2) A person commits genocide where with intent to destroy, in whole or in part any national, ethnical or religious group he— (a) kills members of the group; (b) causes serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicts on the group conditions of life calculated to bring its physical destruct in whole or in part; (d) imposes measures intended to prevent births within the group; or (e) forcibly transfers children of the group to another group.
Addressing the President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and his delegation at the Jubilee House today 27 September 2022, when they paid a courtesy call on him, President Akufo-Addo, said the ratification of all the “Rome Statute” crimes into Ghana’s domestic law must be the consequence of the visit of the ICC leader.
“I think with the presence of the ICC president here; I think it is good [reason] for us to commit to that. I don’t have a difficulty about having that [the Rome Statute Crimes] in our municipal laws and I think that even in this hang Parliament, we can support it and make sure that it becomes a reality” President Akufo-Addo said.
President Akufo-Addo charged the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame and Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, Dean of the GIMPA law faculty, who is the host of the ICC President in Ghana, to champion the process to get the “Rome Statute” fully incorporated into the country’s domestic laws.
Ghana’s exemplary support
President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Piotr Hofmanski, in his remarks observed that Ghana has always been an exemplary supporter of the ICC and the Court is grateful for her cooperation.
The ICC he says is very busy now with over 16 situations under investigation across four continents of the world namely Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America. In essence, the old claim that the ICC largely targets African countries and leasers, is no longer the situation, the ICC President noted.
Visit to Ghana
President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Piotr Hofmanski, is on a three-day working visit to Ghana. The visit commenced on Monday 26 and will end on Wednesday 28 September 2022, culminating in a public lecture at the law faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
The visit of the ICC President to Ghana is to honour an invitation extended to him by Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, then head of law centres, but now, the Dean of the GIMPA law faculty, on 15 September 2021, during his visit to the ICC President’s office in The Hague, The Netherlands.
As part of his visit, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, also paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin and the Chief Justice of the Republic, Justice Kwesi Anim Yeboah at their offices before calling on President Akufo-Addo.
In a meeting with Dr Agyeman-Budu, during his visit to The Hague last year, the President of the ICC, Judge Piotr Hofmanski, affirmed the ICC’s position to pursue the terms of the MoU that the ICC signed with the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ) at GIMPA law faculty, of which Dr. Agyeman-Budu was the head.
The ICC President indicated that, like his immediate predecessor, the Nigerian judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, he looks forward to honouring the invitation extended to him to visit Ghana in 2022 and to deliver a public lecture on international criminal justice at the annual ACICJ public lecture series at the GIMPA law faculty.
It will be recalled that on 15 October 2019, the then President of the ICC, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, at the invitation of Dr Agyeman-Budu and the ACICJ, delivered a public lecture at GIMPA, which was attended by His Excellency the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
ICC and ACICJ
The International Criminal Court (ICC) and the African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ), at the GIMPA Faculty of Law, have an existing arrangement which allows the two institutions to co-operate closely in the fight against impunity on the African continent.
The aim of the arrangement is to deepen understanding and appreciation of the role and work of the ICC within the international criminal law and justice architecture.
The agreement was signed by representatives of the two institutions on 6 December 2019 in The Hague, on the side lines of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP), which took place that month.
The new relationship which was instituted between the ICC and the ACICJ at GIMPA will lead to the development of courses focusing on international criminal law, participation in the ICC internship programme by GIMPA students, and participation in the ICC visiting professionals programme by GIMPA students and faculty.
It will also promote the exchange of speakers and collaborative initiatives such as lectures, seminars, events, research and surveys. The agreement is for a five-year period and is subject to renewal by the two entities after the initial period lapses.
The ICC remains to date, the most successful form of inter-State collaboration on the establishment of a system of international criminal justice to investigate, prosecute and try perpetrators of mass crimes of concern to the international community.
The origins of this system of international criminal justice date back to the Nuremberg and Tokyo military tribunals which were set up at the end of the Second World War to try specific cases of international concern.
The resurgence, around the World particularly in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Liberia, of mass atrocities which shocked the conscience of humanity, convinced the world to provide a permanent solution for the prosecution of international crimes, to aid in the fight against impunity instead of the old ad hoc responses.
Against this background, on 17 July 1998, the international community adopted the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, to provide for a permanent jurisdiction set up to prosecute crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.