April 26, 2012

The Ghana Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has petitioned the court to investigate the genocidal statements and ethnic-cleansing pronouncements of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.

The petition was presented by three members of the coalition, Mr Francis Kojo Arthur, Mr Eric Akomayi and Mr Fortune Sase.

In a brief remark at the presentation, Mr Arthur, who is the legal officer of the coalition, said the petition was presented in pursuant to Article I5 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“In doing so, the Ghana Coalition for the ICC believes firmly in the view expressed by the court on January 24, 20I2 that it is better to avert future acts of genocide and violence,” it said.

In the petition, the coalition said that events in Ghana since 2009 gave cause to believe that politicians, especially within the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), were plotting to unleash violence, war, genocide and ethnic cleansing either prior to or in the event that they lost the December 20I2 elections.

“Since losing the 2008 elections, the rhetoric of the opposition NPP and its leadership has assumed very inflammatory and alarmingly belligerent tones. Both publicly and in secret, they have urged their followers to resort to violence in order to win the 20I2 elections,” it said.

It explained that those developments did not augur well for the safety and security of the people of Ghana “and it is in this regard that we have taken the decision to bring to the attention of the ICC the genocidal and ‘call to kill’ comments of a leading member of the NPP and MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, for investigation and action,” it said.

The petition indicated that the coalition would provide evidence to show that Mr Agyapong’s statements for ethnic cleansing of some tribes in Ghana followed a pattern set by the leadership of the NPP.

It explained that speaking on his radio station, Oman FM, on Friday, April I3, 20I2, Mr Agyapong “declared war in Ghana” and challenged Ghana’s National Security Co-ordinator to arrest him if he could.

“He also proceeded to incite the Akan population in the Ashanti Region to attack any Ewe and Ga persons they come into contact with,” it added.

It said the coalition believed that Mr Agyapong’s statements made him liable for prosecution under Article 3C of the United Nations Convention on Genocide.

The petition added that Ghana was about the most stable democracy in Africa, with relatively strong institutions, and expressed the confidence of the coalition in the ability of the Electoral Commission to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in December 20I2.

It said the prospect of violence was real, especially in a situation where the country’s Judiciary appeared unwilling to punish individuals who incited or engaged in violence.

“In light of the above, we appeal to your outfit to commence investigations into Mr Agyapong’s conduct, with a view to bringing him to justice within the framework of international law,” it said.

It called on the ICC to adopt a more proactive posture, rather than wait for crimes against humanity to be committed before bringing people to justice.

The petition cited a number of statements by some leaders of the NPP which, according to the coalition, had continued to serve as motivation for other officials of the party to preach violence and incite ethnic sentiments.

The coalition also provided the ICC with audio recordings, newspaper cuttings and other evidential materials necessary for the ICC to consider the petition.

Daily Graphic