Parliament to amend Criminal pffences Act
Parliament has begun a process to amend the Criminal Offences Act, I960 (Act 29) to include the unlawful use of human parts, enforced disappearance, sexual exploitation and illicit trafficking in explosives.
Other offences that will be included in the act after its amendment are illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition, participation in organised criminal group activities and racketeering.
The amendment bill, which was placed before Parliament in May 20I0, passed through its second reading stage yesterday.
In its report on the bill, members of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee observed that the illicit practice of the removal of human organs such as the kidney and the drawing of human blood which are associated with ritual murder were currently unknown to the Criminal Law regime of the country.
That, according to the committee, made it difficult for the country to support global initiatives towards combating that menace.
“The criminalisation of this heinous practice by the inclusion in the body of our Criminal Laws would, therefore, provide Ghana the necessary impetus to complement international efforts at fighting the menace to eliminate such criminal conduct both within and outside the jurisdiction,” it said.
The committee observed that there was a clear distinction among abduction, kidnapping and enforced disappearance, explaining that enforced disappearance was usually characterised by torture, which resulted in the person living in constant fear of harm or death.
Such victims were never released and their fate remained unknown to their families and friends, it explained.
On organised group crime and racketeering, it was observed that the United Nations passed the Vienna Convention against trafficking and narcotics which Ghana ratified.
The UN noted that there were I9 other offences in money-laundering through transnational organised crime which called for the enactment of appropriate legislation to combat.
Participation in organised criminal group action and racketeering had been identified as one of the I9 predicated offences for money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, moved the motion for the amendment bill to go through its second reading and he was seconded by the NPP MP for Kwabre West, Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah.