Ghana’s Parliament on Tuesday (25 July) voted to remove the death penalty from the 1960 Criminal and Other Offences Act and the 1962 Armed Forces Act, replacing it with a life sentence.
The amendment bill which was sponsored by the MP for Madina, Francis Xavier-Sosu, is currently waiting for the president’s assent.
“I think that there have been very sound arguments in support of abolishing the death penalty, and the arguments are researched-based. The death penalty is too final. Parliament today did the needful and made Ghana proud in the Committee of Nations by abolishing the death penalty. I think this is a good thing for Ghana,” the MP told Accra-based Citi FM.
Amnesty International has applauded Ghana for repealing the law, describing it as a “landmark decision.”
“Today’s parliamentary vote is a major step by Ghana towards the abolition of the death penalty,” Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa director said in a statement.
“It is also a victory for all those who have tirelessly campaigned to consign this cruel punishment to history and strengthen the protection of the right to life. Although a landmark decision, the total abolition of this draconian punishment would not be complete without revising the constitution, which still provides for high treason to be punishable by death,” the statement added.
“Now that the 2022 Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill and 2022 Armed Forces (Amendment) Bill have been passed by Parliament, President Nana Akufo-Addo should, without delay, sign them into law, commute all death sentences to prison terms, and establish an official moratorium on executions.
“Amnesty International is also calling on the Ghanaian authorities to take steps to remove the death penalty from the Constitution. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception because it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment which has no place in our world,” it added.
Since 1977, Amnesty International has been campaigning for the global abolition of the death penalty. In November 2022, in a statement to a delegation from Amnesty International Ghana, the President of Ghana expressed the need to remove the death penalty from the statute books.
Amnesty International’s latest report on the global use of the death penalty in 2022 shows that seven new death sentences were handed down in Ghana, bringing the total of people facing the death penalty in the country to 172 by the end of the year. However, no executions have been carried out since 1993.
As of today, 23 out 55 African countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.