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The Republic of Ghana



Ghana was one of the first countries to become a State Party to the Rome Statute. Although it has taken a long time to domesticate the Rome Statute, Ghana has reaffirmed its commitment to be a strong supporter of the Court. Showing its dedication to the protection of human rights, Ghana not only ratified the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACrtHPR) but it is also one of the eight countries that has made the required declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court to receive cases from individuals and NGOs. The country’s high regard for human rights and African human rights institutions is further demonstrated in its extension of an invitation to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to undertake missions and assess the human rights situation in the country. As a State Party to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ghana’s Government is a strong supporter the ECOWAS Court.


Treaty ratification Process

Article 75 of the Constitution of Ghana vests in the President of the country or others authorized by him the authority to sign treaties. But ratification is a role undertaken by Parliament in the form of an Act of Parliament or a resolution passed with the votes of over one-half of all members of Parliament. The treaty ratification process begins with the preparation of a Cabinet memorandum by the Ministry responsible for the particular subject matter of the treaty, after seeking advice from the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice regarding the legal obligations under the treaty and any conflicts with domestic legislation. Then, considering the contents of the memorandum—which must contain information on the benefits of ratification, the financial and legal impact of ratification, necessary domestic law amendments, and possible reservations needed—the Cabinet may approve the treaty and, if approved, the Sponsoring Ministry sends a draft bill (in the case of an Act) or the Cabinet Secretary sends a letter (in the case of a resolution) to Parliament for ratification. If Parliament ratifies the agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration will be notified to prepare and deposit the instrument of ratification, after the president signs on it. As a common law country, Ghana is mostly a dualist state.


State of legislation on International and transnational crimes

Ghana has not created a comprehensive domestic legislative framework criminalizing the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, despite the fact that the country is one of the early signatories to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). A draft bill to give national effect to the Rome Statute was laid before Parliament in 2016 and is still awaiting passage. Despite this delay, some of the core international crimes were previously criminalized under domestic law. For example, section 49A of the Criminal Code criminalizes genocide. In addition, Ghana has domesticated the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the First Optional Protocol of 1977, in which grave breaches and certain other breaches of the Conventions are criminal offences, making some of the war crimes in the Rome Statute prosecutable. Among transnational crimes, money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking, trafficking in hazardous wastes, and terrorism are offences that are punishable nationally and whose definitions are compatible or almost compatible with that of the same crimes on the Malabo Protocol. Corruption, unconstitutional change of government, illicit exploitation of natural resources, and piracy, are partially provided for in Ghanaian law. The crime of mercenarism does not exist in the laws of Ghana. Among the fourteen crimes listed in the Protocol, trafficking in drugs is the largest challenge for the country, as the quantity of drugs being transited through Ghana to Europe and the U.S. has mounted in recent years.


Human Rights treaty signing and ratification trends

Ghana is a State Party to the majority of human rights and crime-related international (UN) and regional (AU) instruments.[1] On average it takes Ghana 44 months to ratify AU agreements, almost three times more than it takes it to ratify UN treaties (16 months). It is not clear why it takes longer for Ghana to ratify AU treaties when compared to UN treaties.


AU Judicial bodies membership

Treaty Signature Ratification
Protocol to the African Charter on Human And Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights Yes Yes
Protocol of the Court of Justice of the African Union Yes No
  Protocol on The Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (Merger Protocol) Yes No
Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Yes No


[1] See Annex – treaty signing and ratification trends calculation chart: Ghana.