The Minority has welcomed the declaration by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional the admission of the two GITMO detainees into Ghana during the John Mahama administration.
A seven-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo by six to one (6 -1) majority decision Thursday June 22, 2017 said the two are illegally in the country since the then government allowed them into the country without prior approval by Parliament.
The consequential order of the court is that government should within three months subject the agreement to parliamentary consideration and approval and in default return the two Gitmo detainees.
Commenting on the ruling Thursday on Accra-based Citi FM a ranking Member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa lauded the decision, but said government needs to be circumspect in implementing the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“We respect the decision,” he stated, “and we will only want to say at this point that moving forward we need to be cautious.” The NPP party during the campaign into the 2016 elections made the GITMO 2 case quite an issue, suggesting that they will return the two when given the nod. “Now we have this judgment; the Supreme Court has given them two decision either you come to parliament or you return them. If they come for parliamentary approval that will appear to be at variance with their campaign promise,” said Mr. Ablakwa who is also the Member of Parliament for North Tongu in the Volta region.
Last year Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of Interior, accusing government of illegally bringing in the two former Gitmo detainees, without recourse to the laws of the land.
The two plaintiffs were therefore seeking a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The applicants claim that the President of the Republic of Ghana acted unconstitutionally by agreeing to the transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby to Ghana.
Article 75 says: “(1) The President may execute or cause to be executed treaties, agreements or conventions in the name of Ghana.
“(2) A treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President shall be subject to ratification by-
“(a) Act of Parliament; or
“(b) A resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of more than on-half of all the members of Parliament.”
Two Guantanamo bay detainees, Atef and Al-Dhuby had been in detention for 14 years by the United States after being linked with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.
The Supreme court said the agreement reached by the the government of Ghana and the United States was one that falls directly under the purview of the provisions of Article 75 of the 1992 constitution and the then government ought to have sought parliamentary approval before the two detainees were admitted into the country.