Political Scientist at the University of Ghana, Dr. Kumi Ansah Koi has reechoed the need for countries like Ghana to abolish the death penalty from the constitution.
According to 2017 figures, there are about 160 people on death row.
Speaking at the 16th World Day against Death Penalty symposium organized by the University Of Ghana Chapter Of Amnesty International, Dr. Koi indicated that although it has been a long while since someone was sentenced to death in the country’s criminal justice system, its very existence in the laws of the country is worrying.
He opined that death penalty is against the fundamental human right to life.
“For some years we haven’t really practiced it but in theory it still remains in our statute book, it’s in our constitution. For the crimes of murder, treason and such crimes the penalty is death, so it’s still part of our laws, we still have people on death row…. Amnesty just wants that removed because it is a violation of the fundamental right to life”
Dr. Koi pointed out that death penalty was introduced as a measure to discourage people from engaging in crimes, however that purpose is not being achieved since majority of people are still not being dissuaded by death sentences of others.
He added that since the judiciary is run by humans, mistakes are bound to happen during trials and thus a need to relook at the relevance of death penalty.
“Death penalty is justified on a number of grounds that it will really lead to deterrence; people will not commit the crime again. But that is not true; people still commit the same crime. If you kill me, you being killed back do not bring me back to life.
It turns out that majority of people on death roll are poor and powerless people and sometimes the judiciary can make mistakes, some people may be sentenced to death and there’s is no chance for a reform because you are killed”
Dr. Kumi Ansah Koi added that obliviousness is a major setback of Amnesty International Ghana in the quest to push for the country to abolish the death penalty.
He opined that despite other challenges being faced by Amnesty International in the fight to end death penalty in the country, the level of awareness is not on the rise among the immense majority of Ghanaians and that is a major hindrance in fast-tracking the processes needed to remove death penalty from the constitution.
He was quick to add that the political will on the part of governments over the years have been on the low.
“It does seem that the vast majority of Ghanaians don’t see the seriousness of death penalty and so there is a lot of mass ignorance; that is the violation of human right.
The political will is also not there; our governments don’t have the will to actually bring out the death penalty” he said
Dr. Koi further called on the general public, particularly the youth to channel more energy in raising awareness about death penalty because it is outmoded and is not really serving it purpose across the world. He beseeched that other forms of punishment should be developed to deter people from committing crimes.
“The general public must realize that the death penalty now is outdated and it does not really solve the problem and it is inhuman and it also destroys lives. There must be other forms of punishment for those who deserve to be punished, apart from the death penalty. The youth who form the majority should organize and put pressure on our political leaders so that the political will, will come for them to bring about the change”
He made these remarks in an exclusive interview with Univers News after the University Of Ghana Chapter Of Amnesty International held a symposium in the commemoration of the 16th World Day against Death Penalty yesterday at the Union Building in the University of Ghana. The day aims at raising awareness on the need to abolish the death penalty.
Credit: David Quaye/universnewsroom.com