Ghana’s parliament on Tuesday approved two pieces of legislation on the abolition of the death penalty, planning to convert capital punishment to life imprisonment.
The abolition of capital punishment, however, concerns so-called “ordinary” crimes, but not those for high treason. These provisions have yet to be endorsed by the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
The Ghanaian parliament voted on the evening of Tuesday, July 25, to abolish the death penalty in the English-speaking West African country for so-called “ordinary” crimes, a sentence which has not, however, been applied for thirty years.
The provisions of two laws voted by parliamentarians provide for converting capital punishment into life imprisonment. They have yet to be endorsed by the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
“This is a moment of great pride for Ghana,” said Francis-Xavier Sosu, author of the bill and opposition MP, to AFP.
“As a country that respects human rights, we cannot continue to enshrine it in our laws,” he added. According to Amnesty International, 172 people faced the death penalty in Ghana at the end of 2022. But no executions have taken place since 1992.
Still enshrined in the Constitution
The abolition of the death penalty, however, concerns so-called “ordinary” crimes, the vast majority of capital punishments pronounced, of course, but not those for high treason.
“Although this is a historic decision, the total abolition of this draconian punishment would not be complete without a revision of the Constitution,” said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s director for East Africa. West and Center in a statement.
The Constitution “always provides that high treason is punishable by death”, she lamented. About fifty States continue to apply the death penalty in the world.
In Africa, more than 30 countries maintain the death penalty in their legislation, although just under half have carried out executions in recent years.