Death penalty abolished: Parliament did the needful and made Ghana proud — Sosu

Private legal practitioner, Francis Xavier-Sosu has lauded Parliament for the abolishment of the death penalty.

Francis Xavier-Sosu

On Tuesday, July 25, 2023, Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty, joining the ranks of progressive African nations that have recently moved to repeal capital punishment.

Francis Sosu who doubles as the Member of Parliament for the Madina constituency expressed gratitude to parliament for the bold initiative taken to abolish the death penalty.

He said "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 death penalty is a form of capital punishment instituted by the constitution which requires that certain crimes, as dictated by the law be punished by death.

For years, some civil society organisations have called for the abolition of the death penalty.

In Ghana, capital punishment is a mandatory sentence for certain offenses including murder, treason, and genocide.

Crimes punishable by death in Ghana are:

  • Murder

A person who intentionally causes death by unlawful harm "shall be liable to suffer death."

  • Treason

The Constitution and Criminal Code list treason as punishable by death.

The Constitution states that individuals who commit treason against the constitutional order "shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to suffer death."

  • War crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide

Genocide is punished by death. Genocide includes the following acts committed with the intent of destroying in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group: killing or causing serious mental or bodily harm to members of the group, inflicting conditions intended to destroy the group, imposing measures to end births in the group, or forcibly transferring children from that group to another group.

However, Ghana last executed convicts on death row in 1993, the year of Ghana's return to civilian rule. 12 people convicted of armed robbery or murder were executed by a firing squad.

Earlier, the Member of Parliament for Zebilla constituency in the Upper East Region, Cletus Avoka, kicked against calls for the abolishment of the death penalty from Ghana's law books and argued that the elimination of the law will rather increase instance justice activities where suspects are killed by civilians without a judicial trial.

He said abolishing the death penalty has the tendency to increase mob justice.

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