Death Penalty Database

Ghana

Information current as of: October 14, 2012

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Ghana (Ghana). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Western Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution carried out in Ghana was in 1993. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
(Firing Squad). [4] The last execution to occur in Ghana in 1993 employed a firing squad. [5]

Hanging.
The Criminal Procedural Code states that hanging may be used as a method of execution. [6]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Ghana, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/ghana/192343.htm, Dec. 21, 2011.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Sep. 20, 2011.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death penalty: Countries abolitionist in practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[4] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), art. 304 (3), Black Mask LTD, 1999.
[5] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 135, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[6] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), art. 304 (3), Black Mask LTD, 1999.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

24,000,000. (2011 est.). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

137.

As of August 2015, 129 people were under sentence of death in Ghana, all for murder. [3] By September 2016, that number had risen to 137 according to Amnesty International Ghana. [4] (This question was updated on September 3, 2016.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on December 6, 2017)

0. [5]

Executions in 2016

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [12]

Executions in 2009

0. [13]

Executions in 2008

0. [14]

Executions in 2007

0. [15]

Year of Last Known Execution

1993. [16]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Ghana, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/ghana/192343.htm, Dec. 21, 2011.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Ghana, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/ghana/192343.htm, Dec. 21, 2011.
[3] Justice Tankebe, Kofi E. Boakye, and Atudiwe P. Atupare, Public Opinion on the Death Penalty in Ghana: Final Report, Accra Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, Dec. 2015. Ghana Prisons Service, Friday Morning Unlocked Report, Jul. 31, 2015.
[4] GhanaWeb, Ghana has 137 inmates on death row – Amnesty International, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Ghana-has-137-inmates-on-death-row-Amnesty-International-467014, Sep. 2, 2016.
[5] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[6] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[7] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p.6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p.8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p.6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death penalty: Countries abolitionist in practice http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder.
A person who intentionally causes death by unlawful harm “shall be liable to suffer death.” [1]

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.” [2]

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. [3]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Attempted murder:
- A person who, while under sentence of more than three years’ imprisonment, attempts murder, “shall be liable to suffer death.” [4]
- A person who commits piracy aggravated by an assault with intent to murder, resulting in injury or an unlawful act endangering life, “shall be liable to suffer death.” [5]

Smuggling: An individual concealing or carrying away from Ghana any gold or diamond without lawful authority or with the intent to evade any enactment concerning the export of gold or diamond “shall be liable on conviction to a sentence of death.” [6]

Comments.
While many secondary sources list armed robbery as death-eligible, [7] the 2003 amendments to the Criminal Code provide that aggravated robbery is punishable by 15 years’ imprisonment but not death. [8]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. Mandatory language (“shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to suffer death”) is used to set out the punishment for treason (in the constitution) [9] and genocide. [10] Moreover, in Johnson v. Republic, the Ghana Supreme Court upheld the mandatory death sentence for murder under Art. 46 of the Criminal Code, which provides that individuals convicted of murder “shall be liable to suffer death.”

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Murder.
A conviction for murder leads to a mandatory death sentence. [11]

Treason.
The Constitution provides the death penalty for treason against the constitutional order using mandatory language. [12]

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
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. The Criminal Code uses mandatory language to describe the penalty for genocide (a person convicted of genocide “shall on conviction be sentenced to death.”) [13]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No individuals have been executed since 1993. [14]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Ghana has signed and ratified ICCPR, [15] the Convention on the Rights of the Child [16] the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, [17] all of which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18. The Criminal Procedural Code of 1960 (Act 30) states that juveniles cannot be given the death penalty—although it defines these as individuals under the age of 17. [18]

Pregnant Women.
Ghana has ratified the Protocol to the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [19] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. The Criminal Procedure Code provides that when a woman is convicted of an offense punishable by death and is shown to be pregnant, the trial court (or Supreme Court) shall pass a sentence of life imprisonment. [20]

Women With Small Children.
Ghana has ratified the Protocol to the African Convention on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, [21] which prohibits the execution of nursing mothers.

Intellectually Disabled.
The Criminal Code excludes from criminal responsibility individuals whose “idiocy” or “imbecility” affects their mental state severely enough that they would not understand the consequences of their actions. [22] If a person “by reason of idiocy” is incapable of knowing that his act will cause death, that person shall not be subject to any punishment. [23] It should be noted that in the recent Annotated code, not a single case entry was devoted to a discussion of the application of this article to intellectually disabled individuals. [24]

Mentally Ill.
The Criminal Code excludes from criminal responsibility individuals whose “idiocy, imbecility, or any mental derangement or disease affecting the mind” affects their mental state severely enough that they would not understand the nature or consequences of their actions. Intoxication is also a defense if the individual was involuntarily intoxicated or intoxicated to the point of insanity. [25] If a person in “a paroxysm of madness” is incapable of knowing that murder is a crime, or commits murder under the delusion that the victim is trying to kill him, that person shall not be subject to any punishment. [26]

References

[1] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 48, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[2] Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, arts. 3, 19, May 8, 1992. Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 180, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[3] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 49A, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[4] Ghana Criminal Code Act No. 29 of 1960, art. 49, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[5] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 194(2), amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[6] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 317A(1), amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[7] 100 Inmates on Death Row at Nsawam, GhanaWeb, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=124822, May 30, 2007. Ebenezer Hanson, Death Penalty will not go for now, http://allafrica.com/stories/200904030774.html, Apr.3, 2009. Ike Francis Anyanike, Amnesty Intl. country specialist for Ghana, email to DPW, DPW Ghana, Doc. No. Email-3, Feb. 10, 2011. Hands Off Cain, Ghana: 2010, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=25&nome=ghana, last accessed Jan. 30, 2011. The Death Penalty Project, Human Rights Litigation in African Countries: Ghana, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/content_pages/31, last accessed Jan. 23, 2011.
[8] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 149, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003. See also Republic of Ghana Constitution Review Commission, Report of the Constitution Review Commission: From a Political To A Developmental Constitution, paras. 57-58, Dec. 11, 2011. Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annnotated Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana, art. 149, Black Mask LTD, 5th ed., 2008.
[9] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 3(3), May 8, 1992.
[10] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 49A, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[11] Dexter Eddie Johnson v. Republic, Criminal Appeal No. J3/3/2010, Supreme Court of Ghana, Mar. 16, 2011.
[12] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 3(3), May 8, 1992; Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 180(1), amended by Act No. 64art. 180(1), amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[13] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 49A, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[15] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 23, 2011.
[16] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 23, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants, last accessed: Jan 23 2011
[17] List of countries which have signed/ratified/acceded to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.africa-union.org/root/au/Documents/Treaties/List/African%20Charter%20on%20the%20Rights%20and%20Welfare%20of%20the%20Child.pdf, Mar. 1, 2010.
[18] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), sec. 295, Black Mask LTD, 1999..
[19] List of Countries Which Have Signed, Ratified or Acceded to the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.africa-union.org/root/AU/Documents/Treaties/List/Protocol%20on%20the%20Rights%20of%20Women.pdf, Jul. 22, 2010.
[20] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), sec. 312, Black Mask LTD, 1999.
[21] List of Countries Which Have Signed, Ratified or Acceded to the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.africa-union.org/root/AU/Documents/Treaties/List/Protocol%20on%20the%20Rights%20of%20Women.pdf, Jul. 22, 2010.
[22] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 27, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[23] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 27, Illustrations, paras. (a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1), amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[24] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana, p. 50-55, Black Mask LTD, 5th ed., 2008. However, these are also not always Ghana cases, Ghanaian jurisprudence being unavailable at times. These annotations could be seen as the author’s impressions as a professor of law in Ghana.
[25] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, arts. 27-28, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.
[26] Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 27, Illustrations, paras. (a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1), amended by Act No. 646 of 2003.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

September 7, 2000. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

September 7, 2000. [4]

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

Yes. [5]

Date of Accession

September 7, 2000. [6]

Signed?

Yes. [7]

Date of Signature

September 7, 2000. [8]

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [9]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [10]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [11]

Date of Accession

Jan. 24, 1989. [12]

Signed?

Yes. [13]

Date of Signature

Jul. 3, 2004. [14]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [15]

Date of Accession

Jun. 13, 2007. [16]

Signed?

Yes. [17]

Date of Signature

Oct. 31, 2003. [18]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [19]

Date of Accession

Jun. 10, 2005. [20]

Signed?

Yes. [21]

Date of Signature

Aug. 18, 1997. [22]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [23]

Vote

Abstained. [24]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [25]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [26]

Vote

Abstained. [27]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [28]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [29]

Vote

Not Present. [30]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [31]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [32]

Vote

Abstained. [33]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [34]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [35]

Vote

Abstained. [36]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [37]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [38]

Vote

Abstained. [39]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [40]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[9] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[10] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 23, 2011.
[11] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[17] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[18] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[19] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[20] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[21] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[22] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[23] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[24] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[25] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[26] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[27] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[28] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[29] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[30] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[31] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[32] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, includng alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[33] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[34] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[35] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[36] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[37] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[38] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[39] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007
[40] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Ghanaian Constitution provides: “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally except in the exercise of the execution of a sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offense under the laws of Ghana of which he has been convicted.” The Constitution also prescribes jury trials for capital cases, barring the sentence of death where a jury verdict is not unanimous, providing for similar procedures for a Regional Tribunal applying a sentence of death, and restricting the trial of treasonable offenses to a three-judge panel. The Constitution also describes mandatory clemency procedures for death-sentenced individuals. [1]

Finally, the Constitution provides that persons under sentence of death cannot hold office in Parliament. [2]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

The Constitution provides: “In the discharge of the obligations [to protect fundamental human rights and freedoms], the State shall be guided by international human rights instruments which recognize and apply particular categories of basic human rights to development processes.” [3] This could be interpreted as requiring that Ghana’s criminal law conform to human rights agreements to which it is party.

Article 40 provides that Ghana will adhere to principles enshrined in a variety of international charters, treaties, and agreements when dealing with other nations, and this could sometimes have bearing on the rights of individuals. [4]

In general, international and foreign law is often referenced by Ghanaian counsel in court according to staff from the Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) at Stanford. [5] International treaties are not self-executing in Ghana, however, and so they do not become domestic law upon ratification in the absence of implementing legislation. [6]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

Ghana has not executed anyone since 1993, [7] and the number of death-eligible crimes has descreased in recent years (since at least 2003, robbery offenses are no longer punishable by death). [8] Although its courts continue to pronounce death sentences, [9] in practice death row inmates reportedly have their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment after they have served at least 10 years on death row. It is not clear, however, whether this practice is consistently followed. [10] At all four UN General Assembly votes on a universal moratorium on executions, Ghana abstained from voting. [11]

The president of Ghana from 2001 to 2009, John Kufuor, was affectionately termed the “good giant of Africa” for his abolitionist stance and frequent usage of the presidential prerogative of mercy to commute death sentences to life imprisonment or granting amnesty to prisoners. In 2003, he commuted the sentences of 179 prisoners who had served at least 10 years on death row. In honor of Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence (May 2007), he commuted 36 death sentences to life imprisonment. [12] In January 2009, just as Ghana was transitioning to a new government, he pardoned at least 500 prisoners (not all of whom were necessarily on death row). “All prisoners sentenced to death had their terms commuted to life and anyone on death row who has already served 10 years would have their sentence reduced to 20 years,” Deputy Information Minister Frank Agyekum said. [13] Public officials have reportedly come out in support of abolishing capital punishment. [14]

In December 2011, the Constitution Review Commission published a report in which it recommended that the death penalty be abolished in the new constitution and replaced with life without parole. [15] Among the reasons it cited for its recommendation were the irreversible consequences of executing wrongfully-convicted individuals, the failure of the death penalty as a deterrent, the barbaric nature of the punishment, the fact that executions to not necessarily provide closure to victims’ families, the arbitrariness of the punishment, the dehumanizing effect of executions, and the need to focus instead on rehabilitation. [16] Moreover, the Commission noted that current international opinion was in favor of abolition. [17] In a White Paper published in June 2012, the Government accepted the Commission’s recommendation that the death penalty be abolished. [18]

In October 2015, the Accra Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice published a survey of public opinion on capital punishment in a broad cross-section of the capital’s residents. The survey’s most important finding was that, contrary to popular belief, a majority of the residents of Accra are opposed to the death penalty. 54.3% of respondents were strongly opposed to the death penalty, compared with 9.7 % who expressed strong support, while 36% were moderately in support of the death penalty. When asked specifically about abolition of the death penalty for murder, 61.7% expressed support for abolition while 39.3% opposed abolition for murder. Other significant findings include the fact that the public has very limited knowledge of the type of crimes that attract the death penalty and that a high level of education is correlated with higher support for abolition. The study found no evidence that abolition would have a backlash effect in the form of vigilante violence. [19]

(This question was updated on February 1, 2016.)

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

While no executions have been carried out since 1993, [20] we found no reports of an official moratorium. Nevertheless, in practice death row inmates reportedly have their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment after they have served at least 10 years on death row. It is not clear, however, whether this practice is consistently followed. [21]

A number of public officials support abolition, [22] and the Constitution Review Commission recommended in December 2011 that the death penalty be abolished in the new constitution and replaced with life imprisonment without the posibility of parole. [23] In a White Paper published in June 2012, the Government accepted the Commission’s recommendation that the death penalty be abolished. [24]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

In the case of Dexter Eddie Johnson v. The Republic, decided in March 2011 by the Supreme Court of Ghana, the defense raised a constitutional challenge against the mandatory death penalty applicable to murder. The Court declined to consider international and comparative law finding that the mandatory death penalty violated the prohibition on arbitrary death sentences, as well as the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Although it indicated it was sympathetic to these arguments, the Court held that the task of amending the application of the death penalty in Ghana belonged to the Parliament, not the courts. The Supreme Court confirmed that a sentence of death was mandatory upon a finding of guilt for murder. [25]

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

There are several official and unofficial case reporters, including the Ghana Law Reports, the Ghana Law Reports Digest, and the Current Cases published by the Council for Law Reporting, but there is no comprehensive index of Ghananian case law. [26] The Ghana Law Reports and other legal resources are available online on Datacenta by paid subscription (http://www.datacenta.com.) There is also a regularly updated annotated criminal offenses code that contains some cases relevant to issues in capital cases. [27] We did not find any case law on the Ghanaian government websites.

What is the clemency process?

The President has the ability to grant clemency in consultation with the Council of State after reviewing the ruling of the court that granted the sentence. Article 72 of the Constitution states that the president may commute sentences to less severe ones, grant pardons, or grant respite from the execution of a sentence for any reason after reviewing the case. [28] There is an automatic Presidential review of death sentences, as the judge in the capital trial sends the ruling to the President directly. [29] The Criminal Procedure Code outlines the proceedings after trial, which include that the judge presiding over a capital case forward all relevant materials to a Minister, who will review the case and make recommendations on the sentence (including suggesting a commutation of sentence). Any order from the Minister for the death sentence to be commuted or for the accused to be pardoned needs a Presidential seal to be effective. [30]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Yes. [31] The constitution guarantees jury trials for all accused of crimes except for cases of alleged treason or high treason—these individuals receive a trial before a panel of judges. Where the punishment is death, the jury must be unanimous in its decision. [32] The Department of State concurs that juries are used in murder trials. [33] The Constitution indicates that tribal authorities may try death eligible offenses, [34] but in practice tribal law applies for civil matters. [35] This may be due to reforms instituted by the Courts Act of 2002, or to other factors. [36]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

The Criminal Procedural Code states that upon being sentenced to death, the convicted individual is notified of his right to appeal and the period within which his appeal should be preferred. [37] Our copy of that Code does not incorporate the 2002 Courts Act and does not clearly map the appeals procedure for capital cases, which (reportedly) must originate in the High Court, not a lesser court. Appeals lie from the High Court to the Appeals Court and then to the Supreme Court, except in cases of treason where appeals lie directly to the Supreme Court. [38]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, arts. 13(1), 19(2), 72(2) , May 8,1992.
[2] Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, art. 94(2), May 8, 1992.
[3] Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, art. 37(3), May 8, 1992.
[4] Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 40, May 8, 1992.
[5] Cindy Liao affiliated with CEPIL Stanford, email to DPW, DPW Ghana, Doc. Email-1.
[6] A. Kodzo Paaku Kludze, Constitutional Rights and Their Relationship with International Human Rights in Ghana, p. 680 , HeinOnline—41 Isr. L. Rev., 2008.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Jan 23, 2011.
[8] Contrast Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annnotated Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana, art. 149, Black Mask LTD, 5th ed., 2008 and Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960),p. 204-205, Black Mask LTD, 1999 with Ghana Criminal Code of 1960, art. 149, amended by Act No. 646 of 2003. The older law did not differentiate between armed or unarmed robbery, and provided for the death penalty. The law (available from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime) labeled as the 2003 amendment law does differentiate between armed and unarmed robbery and provides the death penalty for neither.
[9] See, for example, Hands Off Cain, Ghana: 2010, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=25&nome=ghana, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
[10] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, p. 33, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[11] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010. U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[12] Hands Off Cain, The Death Penalty Worldwide—2010 Report, p. 59-60, August 2010.
[13] Ghana News Agency, Kufuor pardons Tsatsu, Kwame Peprah, 500 others, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/rumor/Kufuor-pardons-Tsatsu-Kwame-Peprah-500-others-155822, Jan. 7, 2009.
[14] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 76, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. Hands Off Cain, The Death Penalty Worldwide—2010 Report, p. 59., August 2010.
[15] Republic of Ghana Constitution Review Commission, Report of the Constitution Review Commission: From a Political To A Developmental Constitution, para. 75, Dec. 11, 2011.
[16] Republic of Ghana Constitution Review Commission, Report of the Constitution Review Commission: From a Political To A Developmental Constitution, paras. 67, 74, Dec. 11, 2011.
[17] Republic of Ghana Constitution Review Commission, Report of the Constitution Review Commission: From a Political To A Developmental Constitution, para. 72, Dec. 11, 2011.
[18] Republic of Ghana, White Paper on the Report of the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry, p. 44, WP. No. 1/2012, Jun. 2012.
[19] Justice Tankebe, Kofi E. Boakye, and Atudiwe P. Atupare, Public Opinion on the Death Penalty in Ghana: Final Report, Centre for Criminology and Justice & University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, http://nebula.wsimg.com/6653665afb945630ea4f6c0beffe65bd?AccessKeyId=50A9833FCBD2E20E7634&disposition=0&alloworigin=1, 2015. Kofi E. Boakye and Justice Tankebe, A pioneering study of public opinion on the death penalty in Ghana suggests the unpopularity of the death penalty as punishment for crime, Death Penalty Worldwide, http://blog.deathpenaltyworldwide.org/2016/02/a-pioneering-study-of-public-opinion-on-the-death-penalty-in-ghana-suggests-the-unpopularity-of-the-.html, Feb. 1, 2016.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty: Countries Abolitionist in Practice, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/countries-abolitionist-in-practice, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[21] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, p. 33, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[22] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 76, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[23] Hands Off Cain, The Death Penalty Worldwide—2010 Report, p. 60, August 2010.
[24] Republic of Ghana, White Paper on the Report of the Constitution Review Commission of Inquiry, p. 44, WP. No. 1/2012, Jun. 2012.
[25] Dexter Eddie Johnson v. The Republic, Criminal Appeal No. J3/3/2010, Supreme Court of Ghana, March 16, 2011.
[26] Victor Essien, Researching Ghanaian Law, NYU GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Ghana1.htm, Jan. 2012.
[27] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Offenses Act of Ghana, Black Mask LTD, 5th ed., 2008
[28] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 72, May 8, 1992.
[29] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 72 (2), May 8, 1992.
[30] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), art. 307, 308, 309(1), Black Mask LTD, 1999.
[31] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), sec. 245, Black Mask LTD, 1999.
[32] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 19, May, 8, 1992.
[33] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[34] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Art 19 (2)(b), May 8, 1992.
[35] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[36] Assn. of Commonwealth Criminal Lawyers, Ghanaian Criminal Court System, http://www.acclawyers.org/resources/ghana/, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011; AfriMAP, The Open Society Initiative for West Africa & The Institute for Democratic Governance, Ghana: Justice Sector and the Rule of Law, p. 34-35, http://www.afrimap.org/english/images/report/AfriMAP_Ghana_Justice.pdf, 2007.
[37] Henrietta J.A.N. Mensa-Bonsu, The Annotated Criminal Procedure Code of Ghana (Act 30 of 1960), art 305, Black Mask LTD, 1999.
[38] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; Assn. of Commonwealth Criminal Lawyers, Ghanaian Criminal Court System, http://www.acclawyers.org/resources/ghana/, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011; AfriMAP, The Open Society Initiative for West Africa & The Institute for Democratic Governance, Ghana: Justice Sector and the Rule of Law, p. 34-35, http://www.afrimap.org/english/images/report/AfriMAP_Ghana_Justice.pdf, 2007.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

As of July 2015, death row inmates were held in Nsawam Medium Security Prison, as well as in Koforidua Prison, Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, Kumasi Central Prison and Wa Central Prison, though they may be temporarily held in other prisons before transfer. [1] Death-sentenced women are held at one prison, the Nsawam Central Prison for Women. [2] Nsawam is the largest death row prison: in July 2015, it housed 125 of the country’s 129 death-sentenced prisoners. [3]

(This question was updated on Feb. 1, 2016.)

Description of Prison Conditions

According to Amnesty International, prison conditions on death row violate prisoners’ right to humane treatment and constitute a serious challenge to their mental well-being. [4] Death row prisoners, known as “condemned” prisoners, are held in separate facilities suffering from the same problems of overcrowding, poor food and lack of health care and toilets common to the rest of the prison population, but with an even smaller common area, fewer visits and without any amenities or activities. Death row cells are small, dark and poorly ventilated, and contain on average 4 to 6 prisoners in 10 square meters. Prisoners sleep on mats and do not have access to toilets at night. Death row inmates are not allowed to work or to access education programs. Prisoners are isolated and not allowed to mix with the other prisoners. [5]

Prison conditions for women on death row are less severe. During its September 2011 visit, Amnesty found that each of the four women on death row had her own cell in a separate cell block. Prisoners are isolated and not allowed to mix with the other prisoners. Cells were bare but clean. [6]

Ghana claims it has responded to criticism about its prison conditions generally by creating prison reform programs, including new prisons, [7] but as a news expose revealed, the conditions for prisoners remain grim. Overcrowding is a general concern for all prisoners, with prisoners packed in cells for long periods of time—sometimes they have to lie almost on top of one another to sleep. The conditions often lead to disease outbreaks among the prisoners. The quality of the nutrition provided to those incarcerated is usually poor. [8] A Prison Services official has stated that at one prison 104 death row inmates were held in a cell designed for 24 people. [9] The U.S. Department of State reports that this is a common ratio of overcrowding. [10]

Overcrowding in prisons continues to affect the health and welfare of incarcerated persons. [11] In 2008, 107 prisoners died while in custody, mostly due to diseases contracted while in prison or left untreated—including HIV/AIDS, TB, and liver failure. Prisoners depended on family assistance or outside organizations for food, medical care, and other necessities, and shortages of essentials like bedding, clean water and clothing continued. [12]

Women and men are generally separated into quarters. Pregnant women are held in special cells until they give birth. [13]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

There is at least one foreign national under death sentence in Ghana. [14]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

There at least one foreign national under sentence of death, Dexter Johnson, a British national. [15] His final appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Ghana in March 2011. [16]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

Yes. There were at least 3 women under sentence of death at the end of July 2015. [17]

(This question was updated on February 1, 2016.)

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

As of February 2016, we found no reports that individuals were held under sentence of death for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

(This question was updated on February 1, 2016.)

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We did not find any reports regarding the racial or ethnic composition of death row as of October 2012.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Constitution provides for all persons facing trial to be provided with legal representation and an interpreter at the state’s expense. [18] The Department of State has stated that generally this provision is obeyed, although bringing a case to trial often takes a long time. [19] The government of Ghana reports that “[p]rivate practitioners have not been too enthusiastic in taking on legal aid cases.” [20]

The Legal Aid Scheme was implemented to help indigent defendants receive legal help. The LAS addresses, among other issues, human rights violations and handles 6000-8000 cases annually. [21] A Remand Review Project, [22] and Legal Aid Board [23] address the demand for assistance on remand and appeal. We do not know the extent to which these programs assist capital defendants or appellants, although the mandate of the Legal Aid Board is to assist in both civil and criminal matters.

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

NGOs assist in making legal assistance available. [24] The government of Ghana reports that “[p]rivate practitioners have not been too enthusiastic in taking on legal aid cases.” [25] This is confirmed by at least one lawyer practicing in Ghana. [26] A Legal Aid Board receives many of its requests from prisoners wishing to appeal—many of whom may have paid their own costs at trial but run out of resources—and attempts to coordinate their representation. [27]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We cannot determine the quality of legal aid in Ghana, once it is obtained. Although there are cases of capital murder defendants being acquitted of the charges [28] (including in high-profile cases), [29] in these cases the defense’s main accomplishment seems to have been in requiring the prosecution to offer evidence or witnesses which it did not have.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

There have been problems with getting those on remand to trial in a timely fashion—there are numerous reports of people being imprisoned without trial for years. [30] This seems to be the most pressing issue facing the criminal justice system. The large number of persons on remand burdens the Legal Aid Board, which has the responsibility to provide representation to indigent defendants on remand (and appeal), and this contributes to the long wait before trial. [31] The US Department of State estimates that about one-third of incarcerated persons are on remand and are awaiting trial [32] —these individuals are held along with convicted prisoners and, while they have more privileges, may in some regards be treated like convicted prisoners. [33] A 2007 report indicated that at one location 700 remand prisoners were held under deplorable conditions in a facility designed to hold only 70 people. [34] The Attorney General’s office implemented Justice for All, a program that aimed at improving the criminal justice system in Ghana. As of 2009, this program has reportedly had little effect in bringing those remanded in prison into court in a more efficient manner. [35]

There have been reports of police using excessive force against accused persons, which resulted in the death of at least 15 persons in 2009. [36] Death due to life-threatening conditions of detention also occurs. [37]

Ghana has ongoing violence and unrest between ethnic groups and traditional rivalries—chieftaincy disputes have accounted for some deaths and injuries and property damage. [38]

References

[1] Ghana Prisons Service, Friday Morning Unlocked Report, Jul. 31, 2015. Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012. Metro TV (Ghana), Inside Ghana’s Prisons (video), http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1/, Jan. 2, 2010. Ghana News Agency, 104 death row inmates packed into a hole for 24, Vibe Ghana, http://vibeghana.com/2010/11/25/104-prisoners-on-death-roll-packed-into-a-hole-for-24/, Nov. 25, 2010.
[2] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, pp. 34-35, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[3] Ghana Prisons Service, Friday Morning Unlocked Report, Jul. 31, 2015.
[4] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, pp. 34-35, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[5] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, pp. 33-34, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[6] Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, pp. 34-35, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.
[7] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review—Ghana, para. 31, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/36, May 29, 2008.
[8] Metro TV (Ghana), Inside Ghana’s Prisons (video), http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1/, Jan. 2, 2010.
[9] Ghana News Agency, 104 death row inmates packed into a hole for 24, Vibe Ghana, http://vibeghana.com/2010/11/25/104-prisoners-on-death-roll-packed-into-a-hole-for-24/, Nov. 25, 2010.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[11] Metro TV (Ghana), Inside Ghana’s Prisons (video), http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1/, Jan. 2, 2010.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] Metro TV (Ghana), Inside Ghana’s Prisons (video), http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1/, Jan. 2, 2010.
[14] The Death Penalty Project, Human Rights Litigation in African Countries: Ghana, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/content_pages/31, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[15] The Death Penalty Project, Human Rights Litigation in African Countries: Ghana, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/content_pages/31, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[16] Dexter Eddie Johnson v. The Republic, Criminal Appeal No. J3/3/2010, Supreme Court of Ghana, March 16, 2011.
[17] Ghana Prisons Service, Friday Morning Unlocked Report, Jul. 31, 2015.
[18] The Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, art. 19, May 8,1992.
[19] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956, Mar. 11, 2010.
[20] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 44-45, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[21] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15(A) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Ghana, p. 15-16, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/2/GHA/1, Apr 8, 2008.
[22] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15(A) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Ghana, p. 15, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/2/GHA/1, Apr 8, 2008.
[23] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 44-45, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[24] There are NGOs that provide representation and assist in making appeals for prisoners in Ghana, such as the Legal Resource Center (http://lrcghanaorg.tempwebpage.com/).
[25] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 44-45, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[26] Interview with Mr. Joe Aboagye Debrah, Being a Lawyer in Ghana, Advocats Sans Frontieres, http://www.asf.be/en/being-lawyer-in-ghana, May 2010.
[27] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 44-45, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[28] The Accra Mail, Sekondi court acquits four murder suspects, , last accessed Jan 23, 2011.
[29] Ghana News Agency via Ghanaweb, Prosecution closes its case in Ya-Na trial, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=196837, Nov. 5, 2010.
[30] Metro TV (Ghana), Inside Ghana’s Prisons (video), http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1/, Jan. 2, 2010. U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[31] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 44-45, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[32] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[33] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 12, 15, 47, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights,http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[34] AfriMAP, The Open Society Initiative for West Africa & The Institute for Democratic Governance, Ghana: Justice Sector and the Rule of Law, p. 115, http://www.afrimap.org/english/images/report/AfriMAP_Ghana_Justice.pdf, 2007
[35] Amnesty Intl., Amnesty Intl. Report 2010: Human Rights in the Republic of Ghana, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/ghana/report-2010., May 28, 2010.
[36] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956, Mar. 11, 2010.
[37] Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, p. 10, Report prepared for Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug 12 2006.
[38] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Ghana, Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135956, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Ghana has not yet submitted its national report, due in 2001, which would allow for its review by the Committee. [1]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Recommendations by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review for Ghana, which held its latest session in May 2008, included 5 recommendations regarding the death penalty. These recommendations, which were to adopt an official moratorium on the death penalty and to abolish the death penalty, received no comment from Ghana. [2]

References

[1] U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reporting Status: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Ghana’s Reporting Round 1, http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/5038ebdcb712174dc1256a2a002796da/80256404004ff315c125638c005d96ae?OpenDocument, last accessed Oct. 14, 2012.
[2] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR, paras. 30, 38, 41, 46, 54, 70, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/36, May 29, 2008; UPR-info, Responses to Recommendations: Ghana, http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/Recommendations_Ghana_2008.pdf, Feb 25, 2010.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Amnesty International Ghana
H/No. 347/7,
Rolyat Castle Road Opposite Havard College
Kokomlemle Accra GH
+ 233 (0) 30 2 220 814
info@amnestyghana.org

Helpful Reports and Publications

Justice Tankebe, Kofi E. Boakye, and Atudiwe P. Atupare, Public Opinion on the Death Penalty in Ghana: Final Report, Centre for Criminology and Justice & University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, http://nebula.wsimg.com/6653665afb945630ea4f6c0beffe65bd?AccessKeyId=50A9833FCBD2E20E7634&disposition=0&alloworigin=1, 2015.

Kofi E. Boakye and Justice Tankebe, A pioneering study of public opinion on the death penalty in Ghana suggests the unpopularity of the death penalty as punishment for crime, Death Penalty Worldwide, http://blog.deathpenaltyworldwide.org/2016/02/a-pioneering-study-of-public-opinion-on-the-death-penalty-in-ghana-suggests-the-unpopularity-of-the-.html, Feb. 1, 2016.

Amnesty Intl., ‘Prisoners Are Bottom of the Pile’: The Human Rights of Inmates in Ghana, AFR 28/002/2012, Apr. 2012.

Edudzi Ofori and Chelsea Paradis, Prisoners’ Rights in Ghana, Journalists for Human Rights, http://www.jhr.ca/en/aboutjhr/downloads/publications/Prisoners%20Rights%20in%20Ghana.%20Edudzi%20Ofori%20&%20Chelsea%20Paradis.%202006.pdf?id_article=3266, Aug. 12, 2006.

An informative news story by Metro TV Ghana on the grim conditions of Ghanaian prisons can be watched here (the video is about 50 minutes long): http://www.ghanatubes.com/view/764/inside-ghanas-prisons-1.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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