Private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu and Madina lawmaker Francis-Xavier Sosu have received recognition for the various roles they played in the abolishing of death penalty in Ghana.
The French Embassy and Amnesty International Ghana honoured the two individuals at a short ceremony in Accra to commemorate the World Day against Death Penalty, which falls on the 10th of every October.
Ghana’s Parliament abolished the death penalty on July 25, 2023 through a Private Member’s Bill moved by MP Sosu, ending several years of failed attempts to get the provision removed from the Criminal Offences Act.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, August 2 assented to the bill after its passage.
There is currently 186 condemned prisoners made up of six females and 180 males on death penalty in the various prisons.
The two awardees called on President Akufo-Addo to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment by signing the second option protocol.
In particular, lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu who is also Deputy Ranking Member for the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, commended the President for prioritising the abolition of the provisions from Ghana’s constitution.
On her part, Country Director of Amnesty International Genevieve Partington called on President Akufo-Addo to take all necessary steps to remove the provisions of death penalty from the constitution since “it still holds that you can have the death penalty for high treason,” she stressed.
According to her, the efforts by the two individuals signify that the approach is a home-grown solution and no external forces were involved in its abolishment.
The French Ambassador to Ghana, Jules-Armand Aniambossou said France also took steps to abolish the death penalty many years ago after similar struggles.
He, therefore, called for partnerships between Civil Society Organisations to stop all forms of human rights abuses.