Ghana’s Parliament Abolishes Death Penalty, Replacing it with Life Sentence for Certain Crimes

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On July 25, 2023, Ghana’s Parliament made a significant decision to remove the “dormant” death penalty from the country’s laws. The Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 2022 was passed, which replaces the death penalty with a life sentence for certain crimes.

Previously, the death penalty in Ghana was imposed for convictions related to murder, attempted murder, genocide, or piracy and smuggling of gold or diamonds. However, human rights activists have long argued that the death penalty is too final and irreversible, and they advocated for its replacement with a life sentence.

With the passage of the bill, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, declared, “The Criminal Offences Amendment Act, 2022 is duly read the third time and duly passed,” indicating the formal acceptance of the change.

The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, expressed that the passage of the bill is a cause for celebration for the country. It marks a progressive step towards respecting human rights and introducing a more humane approach to justice.

Also Read: Prince Akpah to Represent Ghana at 2023 SHAPE Africa Conference in South Africa

It’s worth noting that while the death penalty was originally inherited from the colonial administration as a punishment for certain crimes, successive presidents of Ghana have not signed death warrants for the execution of offenders since 1993.

This reflects a growing reluctance to implement the death penalty in the country and aligns with the global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment in many jurisdictions.

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