It's time to take death penalty out of Ghana's laws – UK-based organisation to Parliament

A United Kingdom-based organisation, Death Penalty Project, has called on Ghana's parliament to take death penalty out of the constitution.

Death penalty

The organisation led by its Executive Director, Saul Lehrfreund made the call on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, when he led a team to visit the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu to solicit for the support of Ghana's Parliament.

He said Ghana would join the majority of the world who have rejected capital punishment as an abuse of human rights, indicating that there are 120 countries globally who have rejected death penalty with just few countries left to do so.

He believes that the death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment which discriminates against the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society.

The Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu said Ghana has not executed anybody under the death penalty under the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution despite having it on its status books for a very long time.

He said "even if we would retain death penalty in the constitution, it would be for treason and high treason."

Joseph Osei-Owusu on his part stated that Ghana is willing to be part of the international community in this regard by amending its law.

He said Ghana's Parliament and Ghanaians will be guided in the course of this journey by Ghana’s culture and history.

He said "we will listen to the voice of our people as we go out on this matter."

In Ghana, death penalty has been imposed mainly as the mandatory punishment for murder, meaning that judges were unable to consider any.

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

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.

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