Today’s commemoration of World Anti-Death Penalty Day was marked by the Ghana chapter of international human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International with a clarion call on the government to scrap the death penalty from Ghana’s statutes.
Even though no President in the lineage of leaders of Ghana’s Fourth Republic has signed the execution of any person on death row, Amnesty International Ghana argues that the continued existence of the law in the country’s statutes is a dangerous spectre given that nobody knows how future leaders will deal with it.
Consequently, the group has called on the government to scrap it totally from the statutes and replace it with life imprisonment without parole.
Robert Akoto Amoafo, Ghana Country Director for Amnesty International points out that such a scrape will be in line with longstanding advice that the constitutional reform committee gave the government some time ago.
This year’s commemoration of the anti-death penalty day focuses on children who have been orphaned because their parents have been sentenced to death.
Mr. Akoto Amoafo points out that such children have become burdens on society, whereas if their parents had been allowed to live and rather work even in prison, they could have contributed to society.
Even though the death penalty exists in Ghana’s statutes, no President, since 1993, has signed the death warrant of any inmate condemned with that law.
Currently, there are some 118 prisoners on death row in Ghana’s prisons but it is not likely that any of them will be executed.
However, Amnesty International makes the point that the fact of the existence of the law in Ghana’s statutes is an indictment on the country, since putting anybody to death for a crime means that that person is deprived of the opportunity to reform.
“Prisons are also called penitentiaries and the reason they are called so is that they are places that are supposed to serve as platforms for reforming people who go there he said.”
He justified Amnesty’s call for global abolishment of the death penalty saying that it benefits society nothing. Meanwhile, he reveals that Parliament has become very receptive to the idea of scrapping the death penalty from Ghana’s statutes, saying he was hopeful that the momentum will soon lead to an abolishment.