Get agencies to implement international treaties
The National International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Committee of Ghana has called on government to get agencies that will be implementing the various treaties it signed unto.
The Committee also advised the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to lobby government at the highest level to get international treaties domesticated.
It stated that for decades, Ghana had been a signatory to a number of international treaties, but had not been able to implement them locally.
Mr Leonard Tettey of the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCSALW), who led the discussion said there were 14 IHL and IHL-related Ghana was a party to or yet to be but had just signed unto.
He enumerated some as biological chemical convention, chemical weapon convention, cluster ammunition convention and convention of certain conventional weapons (ccw), adding that there were two more in the pipeline.
Apart from the ccw, all other weapons were ratified by the Government of Ghana, saying that though Ghana had Arms and Ammunition Act 1962 and that of 1979 and attempts made to consolidate, but it had not been realised.
Mr Tettey said, some institutions had to be created to perform part of the functions his outfit was performing, which was not within its mandate.
Government should also come out with a national control list, which would be subject to the prohibition, authorisation and restriction of certain weapons.
He explained that Ghana’s constitution illegalised the possession of small arms and would not be able to make those in possession of chemical weapon face the law when arrested.
Mr Tettey called on the Attorney General, as the main advisor to government on all legal issues to find out the statuses of the treaties signed, who is to ensure their implementations and why they were not implemented.
Mr Cecil Adadevoh, of the Attorney General Department and Ministry of Justice said it was time Ghana considered including such laws in the constitution as offenders would walk free because it was not been criminalised.
He noted that Ghana was peaceful and was not likely to engage any country in a war, but was important treaties on certain weapons be criminalised in case intra-war broke out.
“There should be law to regulate proliferation of small arms so as not to bring trouble when intra-war broke out,” he said.
Mr Charles Garmodeh Kpan of the Head Office of ICRC, Liberia as well as in charge of Ghana and Sierra Leone in a presentation said, having a national committee was an important step in ensuring an effective application.
He said the Committee was to advise government on implementing international humanitarian laws and the laws must not contradict those of the country’s constitution.
Mr Louis O. Anpong, Communications Director of GRCS said the meeting was a requirement of ICRC member states to ensure treaties signed by their countries would be ratified in the laws of their territory.
They would then be domesticated, that is being used to regulate activities in the countries, adding that “ICRC’s expectation is that all those countries with Ghana are supposed to form the national committee to make sure the committee was well affirmed with the role to draw an action plan,” he said.
He said Ghana’s Action Plan was going to be drawn at the meeting because it had signed onto many treaties, but had not implemented due to the fact that relevant agencies were not identified to ensure that aspect of the law would be done through the Attorney General.
“We are trying to draw this action plan to get information into the relevant agencies who were supposed to be doing their work to ensure that it became a law for us to use in the country,” he added.
Members of the Committee are made up of state institutions including; the army, police, parliament, fire service, GRCS, Attorney General and NCSALW.