President Akufo-Addo has assented to the Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 2023, and Armed Forces Amendment Act, 2023, recently passed by Parliament to substitute life imprisonment for the Death Penalty into law.
According to confidential sources and copies of the Acts as sighted at Parliament, signed copies of the Act were assented into law by the President on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
It will be recalled that on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, and Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Criminal and Other Offenses (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and Armed Forces (Amendment) Bill, 2022, to substitute life imprisonment for the Death Penalty.
These amendments which have been described globally by Human Rights watchers as historic were proposed by Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, who also doubles as deputy Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu.
Prior to the amendments, the proposals had received widespread support from key stakeholders including the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court, the Ghana Armed Forces, the Police and Prison Services, Civil Society Organisations, Religious Organisations, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and the Diplomatic Community, among others.
Following the passage of the Bills, Ghana has now become the 29th African country to abolish the death Penalty from its statute books for ordinary offenses following neighbours including Sierra Leone, Zambia, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, Chad and Equatorial Guinea, among others.
According to Mr Sosu introduction of Private Member’s Bills to substitute life imprisonment for the death Penalty is in line with recommendations of the 2010 Constitutional Review Commission Report and subsequent Government white paper, and forms part of efforts to achieve the realisation of a free, open, progressive, inclusive and secure society.