Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, has hailed the House for the passage of the Criminal Offences (Amendment), Bill, 2022, which abolishes the Death Penalty in Ghana.
He said the House had reviewed 14 of the 15 laws touching on the Death Penalty; and that the last one was the Constitutional Article – Article 3(3) of the 1992 Constitution, which had created the offence of high treason.
The Article is an entrenched clause, which the Speaker noted was not easy to amend, and therefore, appealed to the President to sign the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which would complete the abolition of the Death Penalty.
It is a subsidiary agreement to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The Speaker made the appeal in his closing remarks on the floor of Parliament before the House adjourned for the Second Meeting of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Ghana.
He said the passage of the Bill had catapulted the House and Ghana into a higher rank of a democratic country.
“It is a clear and loud evidence of how committed the House is to issues of human rights and democracy… and also a clear and a loud voice for our preference for the rule of law,” he said.
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, the Speaker said: “The old law for an eye for an eye, leaves the whole world blind”.
He reiterated that by the passage of the Bill, the House had now given light to the pro-abolitionist stand that Ghana adopted in 1993.
“What we can do, and I want to do that on your behalf is to call on his Excellency the President to, in the spirit of the Amendment that we have passed, sign the Second Optional Protocol to the International Providence on Civil and Political Rights; this will complete the abolition of the Death Penalty in Ghana,” the Speaker said.
The House had also passed the Anti-Wicthcraft Accusation Bill, which was pleasing to the people of Ghana.
“We have fought for the marginalised, the aged and they are truly grateful,” he said.
“We are told that human rights rest on human dignity and the dignity of a man is an ideal worth fighting for and dying for.”
He noted that the good people of Ghana held Parliament in high esteem and were prepared to support the House in the discharge of its mandate.
He said Ghanaians followed up on the processes the House had gone through so far with the Proper Human Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.
He informed the House that all Muslims in Ghana had bestowed an award on the House, as part of efforts to appreciate the work of Members.
“They wish it could be put on all the heads – 275 of you in the House but unfortunately it is not possible, and so they decided to put it on the head of the heads, it happened to be my head, not yours for today, and that is why I have been adorned this way.”
“They appreciate you, thank you, they honour you, for what you’ve been doing.”
The House is expected to resume within the third week of October for the Third Meeting of its Third Session.