The Parliament of Ghana has approved the abolition of the death penalty for common crimes, such as murder, replacing it with life imprisonment. The death penalty remains in force for the crime of high treason, as provided by the Constitution.
Common crimes (or improper crimes) are those that can be committed by anyone, while proper crimes are crimes that are only committed by people with a particular qualification. For example, high treason, which is committed by the military.
The bill to amend the law on the death penalty was introduced by MP Francis-Xavier Sosu, with the support of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Opinion polls suggest that the majority of Ghanaians support the abolition.
For the 176 people detained in Ghana awaiting execution, the death penalty will be replaced with life imprisonment. Ghana has not executed death sentences since 1993.
The law must be signed by the country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, to come into force.