Gaddafi & Ghana’s Indemnity Clause Must Fall Together

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 Source: Onipa Ba

Libya’s Gaddafi & Ghana’s Indemnity Clause Must Fall Together.

Several years ago when I first entered the United States, a natural question that used to be thrown at me was inquiry about my origins in Africa. My response would be: “Ghana in West Africa” which would trigger the immediate rejoinder: “there is no war there right?” implying there is no war in West Africa. Such was the well informed status of the American public opinion on the relative stabilities and peace at different locations on the African continent. This educated American opinion resulted from widespread media coverage on violent unrests and civil wars in North, East and Southern Africa. Southern Africa grappled with the racist apartheid unrests in the Republic of South Africa and the strife in Mozambique. Northern Africa struggled with the violent Polisario/Morocco/Algeria conflicts. East Africa struggled with Idi Amin’s murderous and dictatorial reign, the civil war in the Shaba Province of Zaire under Mobutu’s reign and the violent clashes around the Horn of Africa at multiple places in the region including Ethiopia under Mengistu’s regin. The only spot on the continent that was free of any civil wars or unrests was West Africa.

Sadly enough, the relative peace in West Africa would disappear following the unlawful and criminal intervention in the affairs of West African countries by Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, through the agency of his equals in the West African zone. The West Africa criminal protégés of Gaddafi include J. J. Rawlings of Ghana, Charles Taylor of Liberia, others in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Through the agency of these West African thugs, Gaddafi would plunge most of the West African region into civil wars that inflicted very heavy carnage, human misery, irreparable infrastructural destruction and economic loss onto these countries. Every civil war or violent strife that has erupted in a West African state from about 1979 to the present has had its origins in Libya’s Gaddafi.

Invariably, in all historical precedence in which such criminals perpetrated crimes against humanity, they were eventually made to pay for their crimes. The Nazi criminals paid their dues in court trials and sentences in Nuremberg and elsewhere. Idi Amin paid his dues with expulsion into exile, Saddam Hussein paid his dues, Cambodia’s Pol Pot paid his dues in state trials, Liberia’s Charles Taylor is currently paying his dues in The Hague and Gaddafi is currently dancing to the music in Libya.

The lawlessness and the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Rawlings during his unlawful reign of terror in Ghana are identical to those carried out by his equals such as Pol Pot of Cambodia and others. During Rawlings’ reign of terror, the laws of Ghana were collectively called “JJ Rawlings” and the person of Rawlings was above this set of laws and he owed no accountability to any institution in the land. Like his counterparts in the Nazi, Pol Pot and Sadam Hussein’s regimes Rawlings unlawfully used the state security apparatus to intimidate and silence well meaning opponents of his lawless campaign through mass assassinations. To date, a lot of innocent persons who disappeared from the society during Rawlings’ murderous and lawless regime remain unaccounted for and no traces have been found of them. A typical example is the late Mr. B. B. Bismarck a noble King who was also a very successful entrepreneur from Akuapem. The facts show, without any doubt that the late Mr. Bismarck was adopted and murdered by Rawlings and his murderous thugs. The case of the late Mr. Bismarck is representative of countless such cases. Rawlings and his cohort of thugs and criminals would extend their campaign of lawlessness and gross human right abuses to unlawful destruction and confiscation of the properties of other persons. Rawlings and his criminal cohorts carried out this lawlessness along tribal lines and on the basis of tribal animosity. The tribal dimension puts the actions of Rawlings and his band of criminals in the same domain as the unlawful ethnic cleansing campaigns in Rwanda, Serbia, Nazi Germany and elsewhere for which the perpetrators are facing or have faced trials in high courts such as in The Hague or at Nuremberg.

An apparent travesty of justice is that Rawlings walks around as a free man, notwithstanding the gravity of his crimes against humanity. Ironically, for perpetrating these same crimes, the counterparts of Rawlings were brought to justice. The seemingly laissez-faire status that Rawlings is currently enjoying is due mainly to the questionable indemnity clause which Rawlings at gun point forced the law scholars to incorporate into the constitution of Ghana, solely to protect him against future potential prosecution for the crimes he had committed. The indemnity clause provides for Rawlings immunity from prosecution for the unlawful acts, murders and the gross human right abuses that he perpetrated in his reign of terror.

The indemnity clause can justifiably be viewed as an offshoot of the terrorist campaign of Libya’s Gaddafi because he financed Rawlings on multiple occasions to unlawfully overthrow constitutionally elected governments in Ghana and Rawlings consequently crafted the indemnity clause in the state constitution. The international community has stood up to make Gaddafi compensate the victims of his terrorist campaign such as in the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing. The international community is currently helping the Libyan people to end the reign of terror imposed on them for over forty years by Gaddafi. Gaddafi has caused a lot of human misery, carnage and infrastructural destruction in West Africa through civil wars perpetrated by his protégé criminals in West Africa which include J. J. Rawlings. In the case of Ghana however, the indemnity clause inserted into the constitution by Rawlings at gun point, bars any reprisals against Rawlings. Because the indemnity clause was imposed on Ghana by a protégé of Gaddafi, it seems justifiable that the international community helps Ghana to eliminate this clause from Ghana’s constitution, in the same way as the international community helped or is helping the other victims of the terrorist campaign of Gaddafi. These beneficiaries include the surviving relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing and the people of Libya who are currently enjoying the assistance of the international community to rid themselves of Gaddafi. With the influence of the international community, multi-million dollar settlements have been awarded to the survivors of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, against Libya.

Calls for the removal of the indemnity clause from Ghana’s constitution, must be started from within Ghana and when the going gets tough, that is when the international community could come to the aid of the people of Ghana. Calls for democratic changes in Egypt and Libya, started from within these countries and not from outside, and when the going became tough, the international community went to the aid of the Libyan people. The people of Ghana must similarly start calls from within for removal of the indemnity clause, so that Rawlings and his gang of criminals can be brought to justice.

The indemnity clause in Ghana’s constitution is a direct product and an unequivocal offshoot of the terrorist campaign of Libya’s Gaddafi and both these entities must be eliminated together.

Columnist: Onipa Ba