Death Penalty Abolition in Ghana: Criminal Offenses (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1101) (Death Penalty Abolition for ordinary crimes) in force

In a historic move, Ghana sees a pivotal shift in its legal landscape as the Criminal Offenses (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1101) comes into effect, abolishing the death penalty for ordinary crimes. A resounding unanimous guilty verdict by a jury has resulted in life sentences for 12 individuals involved in the tragic death of military officer Major Maxwell Mahama.

Prior to the groundbreaking amendment in July 2023, championed by MADINA MP and officially enacted on August 2nd, 2023, the convicted individuals would have faced the death penalty. The legal transformation has spared them from the ultimate punishment, marking a significant departure from the previous legal framework.

With 181 individuals already on death row and the addition of 6 new convicts on charges of High Treason, the total number now stands at 187. Notably, these individuals will no longer be sent to condemned cells but will serve their sentences as lifers in regular prisons.

This momentous decision reflects Ghana’s commitment to human rights and judicial reform, ushering in a new era where the death penalty is reserved for only the most serious offenses. The nation’s judiciary, with the support of legislative changes, continues to evolve to ensure a more just and humane legal system.

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