President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday affirmed Ghana’s commitment to the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to the adoption of the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute.
He said despite the controversy surrounding the work of the Court, Ghana was committed to its obligations to the ICC, and would soon adopt the implementation legislation that will give effect to the Rome Statute domestically.
“Ghana remains committed to its obligations under the Rome Statute and the work of the ICC,” he said when he addressed the inaugural annual public lecture in International Criminal Justice at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) organised by African Centre of International Criminal Justice (ACICJ) in Accra.
“We are yet to adopt the implementation legislation that will give effect to the Rome Statute domestically. This has been long overdue and it is time that we remedied it. I want to say that we shall remedy it very soon,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo said there was little doubt that the emergence of the ICC “filled an important and significant void in the global architecture for accountability for evil on a mass scale”.
He said however that there was compelling need for the reach of the court to be universal, stating that the fact that some permanent members of the UN Security Council were not signatories to the Rome statute weakened the process of global accountability.
A domestic legislation on the Rome Statute, when enacted, would give Ghana the power to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate the most serious international crimes. As such, persons who commit international crimes bordering on genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression in Ghana would be prosecuted in the country’s courts.
Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, the ICC’s President who delivered the inaugural lecture appealed to President Akufo Addo to convince the governments of Togo and Guinea Bissau to ratify the Rome Statute.
“I will like to take advantage of this opportunity to appeal to President Akufo-Addo to help us encourage countries like Guinea Bissau and Togo to take that step for the sake of humanity as all other ECOWAS states have done,” he said.
Judge Eboe-Osuji noted that although the ICC, like any institution, had challenges, the body remained a veritable edifice of the rule of law.
“But for the existence of the ICC, many crimes against humanity would go unpunished,” he said, adding that the court not only served justice, but provided sustainable economic and human development.
The ICC President urged the Courts critics to focus on the broader duty of the institution role as a deterrent to those who infringed on people’s rights and not on its shortcomings.