Ghana’s parliament has ratified an agreement between the country and the United States on the resettlement of two former Guantanamo (Gitmo) Bay detainees being hosted in Ghana. The two Gitmo detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, who were linked to the Al-Qaeda terror group, were resettled in Ghana in 2016 having spent 14 years in detention at Guantanamo bay.
Their arrival in the country sparked public outcry and criticism against the John Mahama government for accepting the two Gitmo detainees without recourse to the country’s laws. Two people who deemed the government’s decision as being illegal, sued the Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior. Grounding their action on Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution, they prayed the Supreme Court to declare that the then President acted unconstitutionally by agreeing to accept the two Gitmo detainees in Ghana without recourse to parliament.
In June this year, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional, the agreement based on which the two Gitmo detainees were resettled in Ghana. It held that the government needed Parliamentary approval before entering into any international agreement, hence the agreement between Ghana and the US on the resettlement of the two Gitmo detainees out to have been given parliamentary approval The court thus gave the government three months to put before Parliament, the agreement for ratification or risk the repatriation of the detainees to the US. Subsequent to the decision of the apex court, the government on July 27 laid the agreement before parliament.
It was then referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House for deliberation and consideration. What happens after January 2018? On Tuesday, the Committee submitted its report to the House recommending that the agreement be ratified to regularise the stay of the two Gitmo detainees. But Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, however wanted clarity on what happens to the two Gitmo detainees after the expiration of their stay in January 2018. “The minister of foreign affairs in her report to the Committee indicated that they are still in discussions with United States authority so there is no clarity as to the future of this two persons.
“I believe that clarity will be needed very quickly so that we will all know that as a country, what happens after January 2018. Are they going to leave the shores of Ghana? Will the Unite States government accept them or are they going to have full liberty to determine where they want to be..” he wondered. Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu agreed, but urged the House to take a cue from the Supreme Court ruling over the matter.