Chief Justice nominee, Gertrude Torkornoo, has called for a review of capital punishment in the country’s constitution.
Speaking in Parliament during her vetting on Friday, May 26, Justice Torkonoo said that for her as an individual, the death penalty sentence handed to convicts seems too decisive.
She, therefore, called on parliament to take a review of the death penalty. When asked if as a judge she should not be firm in handing down death sentences, especially to convicted murderers, she noted “sentencing is always guided by law”. For years, some civil society organisations have called for the abolition of the death penalty.
In Ghana, capital punishment is a mandatory sentence for certain offenses including murder, treason and genocide. However, Ghana last executed convicts on death row in 1993, the year it returned to civilian rule.
Twelve people convicted of armed robbery or murder were executed by firing squad.
According to a report by Amnesty International, as of the end of 2020, 160 people—155 men and five women—were to sentenced to death. These included six foreign nationals, one from Benin, two from Burkina Faso and three from Nigeria.
Amnesty International cited a lack of effective legal representation among others for the plight of some convicts on death row. In June 2021, Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu initiated a proposal for the introduction of a bill
to remove the death penalty from the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29). The proposal seeks to abolish the death penalty for most capital offences under national legislation.