A BILL has been laid before Parliament to pave the way for the enactment of a legislation to prohibit and punish torture, according to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong.
She said the move was to give meaning to Ghana’s ratification of the optional protocol on the Convention Against Torture Initiative (CTi).
Mrs. Appiah-Opong, who announced these at a two-day international seminar in Accra yesterday, said the bill, when passed into law, would address gaps in the existing laws on torture in Ghana.
The minister said Ghana had adopted the Justice for All programme, which had resulted in the release of some detainees from prison custody.
She said government was considering the findings and recommendations of the United Nations Special Rapporteur assigned to examine conditions in prisons and other places of detention in Ghana.
Mrs. Appiah-Opong noted that “although torture is prohibited under the international law, the reality is that the phenomenon of torture, which horrified the world leading to frantic calls and urgent action to draft and adopt a Convention Against Torture continues in many countries whether in peace time or in times of violent conflict”.
She said Ghana’s commitment to protecting the rights of persons against all forms of degrading treatment and torture would ensure inter alia, that no exceptional circumstances or order from a superior or public authority may be involved as jurisdiction of torture.
The Ambassador of Ghana to Switzerland and Austria, Sammie Eddico, said implementation of the Conventions’ legislation remained a challenge to some countries.
He said CTI’s 2016 and 2017 ratification and implementation strategy would focus on three thematic areas — supporting states to align their domestic laws with the Convention’s objectives, supports states to prevent torture in police custody and improve information to the committee against torture.
Established in 2014, the CTI is an initiative by states, aimed at facilitating technical advice, support and co-operation among member states, to help them address obstacles to ratification and implementation of the Convention.
By Malik Sullemana