SC orders parties in Defence Military Cooperation Agreement to file memorandum in 14 days

The Supreme Court (SC) has asked parties seeking the annulment of defence military cooperation agreement between the government of Ghana and United States of America (USA) to file a comprehensive memorandum of issues within 14 days.

Justice Sophia Akuffo Chief Justice

Justice Sophia Akuffo Chief Justice

The court noted that the principal issues filed separately by Messrs Yaw Brogya Genfi, a Deputy Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in the Ashanti Region, Nana Agyei Ampofo and Emmanuel Koti, both Ghanaians, are the same and should be joined.

The case has been adjourned sine dine (until further notice).

The deal between the two countries, which was ratified by Parliament, has generated controversy between the government of Ghana and Minority Caucus in Parliament.

By a majority decision, Parliament on March 23, 2018, ratified the deal, which gives the US military and civilian personnel access to certain facilities in Ghana, and provides them privileges, exemptions and immunities equivalent to those accorded the administrative and technical staff of diplomatic missions, under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18,1961.

Ghana is also expected to benefit from an aid package in excess of $20 million from the US in the areas of training and grants to the police and the military.

Not happy with the deal, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the NDC, filed a writ invoking the original jurisdiction of the SC, praying it to declare as unconstitutional the agreement reached between Ghana and the US.

The applicant wants the court to declare the agreement as invalid on the grounds that the President of Ghana failed to execute the agreement, as prescribed by Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution, before sending it to Parliament for ratification.

Mr Genfi is demanding nine reliefs, including a declaration that the Minister of Defence acted in contravention of articles 58 (1), 75 and 93 (2) of the 1992 Constitution when he laid or caused to be laid before Parliament an “unexecutive” draft of the supposed defence cooperation agreement for ratification under Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution.

According to the applicant, neither the Executive nor the Legislature had the power to enter or ratify a treaty that seeks to oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in matters of interpretation of international agreements.

The Minority walked out of Parliament when the matter came up for ratification, claiming it would not have anything to do with the agreement.

The Majority, nonetheless, went ahead to ratify it on March 23, 2018.

Per the agreement, Ghana had entered into collaboration with the US military, which would allow the latter unfettered access to some facilities.

The deal will also allow for military training activities between the armies of the two countries.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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