The POS Foundation commends the Parliament of Ghana for votingto abolish the death penalty in
Ghana by passing the Criminal Offenses (Amendment)Bill, 2022.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director of POS foundation and as theConveners of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UN UPR) Civil Society
Organizations’ Platform in Ghana and member of the Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu observed that POS
hails Parliament’s action as a great milestone for the State and a best practice for other abolitionist
states in practice to emulate.
The UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was instituted in 2006 under Resolution 60/251 by the UN General Assembly.
The UN UPR is a process which enables all 193 UN Member States to peer
review the HumanRights records of all other Member States towards the promotion and protection
of Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).
Over the years, Civil Society
Organizations, led by the POS Foundation, have submitted several shadow reports and proposed
recommendations under different thematic areas to the UN HRC, which included the abolishment
of the death penalty in Ghana.
Ghana’s human rights record has been reviewed in 2008, 2012, 2017
and 2023, respectively under the UPR Mechanism.
In all four cycles, Ghana noted/rejected all
recommendations received on the abolishment of the death penalty, as it was entrenched in the 1992 Constitution and needed a referendum in order to legally take it off the nation’s statutes, as the State
On January 24,2023, 298 recommendations were received by Ghana from 111 countries/Member
States, out of which 36 were on the Abolishment of the Death Penalty by France, Austria, Togo,
Sierra Leonne, Switzerland and other UN Member States.
Though Ghana noted/rejected these
recommendations, through the efforts of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and private member
initiative, the Parliament of Ghana has voted for the passage of the Criminal Offenses (Amendment)
Bill, 2022forabolishment of the death penalty in Ghana.
A Great milestone achieved towards the
advancement of democracy, promotion and protection of human rights that is worth commending
considering the tactful and strategic approach adapted in getting this through as Stakeholders of the
The POS foundation extend their utmost acclamations to all lawyers, CSOs and individual partners who supported in brainstorming strategies for alternative approaches when the State could not hold a referendum due to financial constraints.
“We also congratulate Ghanaians and the Parliament of
Ghana for its efforts towards the abolishment and replacement of death penalty with life imprisonment for criminal offenses except for high treason”he lamented.
The POS Foundation would like to make
a clarion call to all UN Member States to emulate Ghana’s example by fostering strategies in order
to enforce the abolishment of the death penalty in their countries even when it has been
noted/rejected in the past.
“We also encourage all the Member States to support the Global Campaign
and help develop different strategies to abolish the death penalty worldwide.
The Death Penalty, also known as Capital Punishment, dates back to colonial times and was subject
to the laws and practices of the British Colonial Administration.
The Criminal Code of 1960, now
known as the Criminal Offenses and other Procedure Act, which was based on other colonial laws,
continued to prescribe the deathpenalty for offenses like murder and treason.
The campaign towards abolishment became more relevant after the recommendation from the
Constitutional Review Commission, after which the Coalition Against Death Penalty led by
Amnesty International, of which POS Foundation is a member, took it up. After the 3rd UPR Cycle
in 2017, Civil Societyhad a hard time getting the government to abolish the death penalty.
Thus, Lawyer Martin Kpebu, through a research study he conducted proposed alternative approaches to
the amendment of the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act,1960without necessarily
carrying out a referendum.
His research resulted in a 95% approach to abolishing the death penalty
through a statutory amendment of the Criminal Offenses Act, 1960 (Act 29).
This means that the
offense of high treason would need a referendum to ascertain the complete abolishing of the death
penalty in Ghana. However, there has not been any high treason offenders on death row over the
past few decades.
Subsequent to the research, the coalition together with Lawyer Kpebu made
presentations and briefings with various stakeholders including the Australian High Commission (in
2018, 2022 and 2023), CDD Ghana (in 2019), the Office of the President (in 2020) and the British
High Commission (in 2023).
On the World Death Penalty Day in 2021, a presentation was held in Cape Coast where Hon. Francis
Xavier Sosu pledged to utilize a Private Member Bill approach in the abolishment of the death
He then drafted the bill in partnership with Amnesty International after which he organized
a stakeholder conference in Parliament.
Lawyer Sosu, who championed the Parliamentary process,
together with Amnesty International and DPP, and Members of the Coalition have worked tirelessly
since then for the Amendment of the Criminal Offenses Act, 1960 (Act 29) and the abolishment of
the death penalty in Ghana.
The President has to assent to the Criminal Offenses (Amendment) Bill,
2022togive effect to Parliament’s action.
They’ll once again like to applaud all Member States of the UN under the Universal Periodic
Review who made recommendations to this effect and supported the process, the UN Human Rights
Council, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, the Australian and British High
Commissions, the European Union, Lawyer Kpebu, Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu, Amnesty
International, the Coalition Against Death Penalty, African Centre for International Law and
Accountability and Parliament for this great success chalked. We also acknowledge the work of the
media in the attainment of this achievement.
“We look forward to further engagements with CSOs and other key partners and stakeholders as well
as the media to foster the promotion and protection of human rights in Ghana”recounts.
Kindly read all the Latest News, Entertainment News and gossips here. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Telegram.