GHANA. GOVT FAILED TO BAN DEATH PENALTY
June 26, 2008: a senior Ghanaian justice department official expressed surprise that the government failed to ban capital punishment, implicitly censuring lawmakers for their recent endorsement of two new pro-death penalty judges to the Supreme Court.
The current law permitting the death penalty was 'obnoxious', the deputy attorney general, KwameOsei-Bempah, told IPS.
'There is no reason why it should remain on our law books.' He added: 'Unfortunately, no government has had the political will to raise the issue for discussion.' Attempts by IPS to get MPs to comment on the justices' views on the death penalty were met by a wall of silence.
'It is a very controversial issue,' one MP said on condition of anonymity.
Nana Oye Lithur, African Regional Coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) expressed surprise at the little public outrage voiced over Justice Owusu's strong support for carrying out death sentences. Lithur attributed this to the fact that the death penalty was not a 'priority' issue for the government. This was because 'no one talks about it,' she explained. (Sources: All Africa, 26/06/2008)