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General News of Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Source: Ernest Osei

Be sensitive in arresting state officials for international crimes - Kabral Blay-Amihere

A former Ghanaian Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, H.E Kabral Blay-Amihere has charged countries to be politically sensitive in the arrest of high-ranking state officers who are alleged to have committed international crimes in order to avoid political instability.

He said, although member states of the United Nations are obliged to cooperate with international criminal tribunals to bring people who bear the greatest responsibility for atrocity crimes to justice as their commitment to international justice, the prevailing political situation should not be overlooked.

Ambassador Blay-Amihere noted that there have been several debates faulting Ghana for not arresting former Liberian Leader, Charles Taylor when he attended the peace conference in Ghana at a time when the Special Court for Sierra Leone had issued a warrant for his arrest for his alleged involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

He said, Ghana was being politically sensitive to have not affected the arrest of the former Liberian leader because the timing was very bad politically which could have aggravated the already tensed political situation in Liberia at the time and stressed that even though he was not arrested, the Ghanaian Embassy, as well as the Sierra Leonean Embassy, was vandalized with several properties destroyed.

Ambassador Blay-Amihere made these remarks during a panel discussion commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court. The discussion was organized by the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability in collaboration with CDD-Ghana. The discussion, which was sponsored by Senegal-based Trust Africa, was on the theme “20 Years of the ICC: The Hits, Misses, and Prospects for Pursuing Justice for Victims of Atrocity Crimes.’’

The discussion was led by experts in international justice such as Justice Emile Francis Short, Former Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Professor Anne Pieter Van Der Mei, Department of Public Law, Maastricht University, H.E Kabral Blay-Amihere, Former Ghanaian Ambassador to Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast and Ms. Evelyn Ankumah, Executive Director, Africa Legal Aid. The Discussion was chaired by H.E Judge Akua Kuenyehia, Former Vice President of the International Criminal Court.

Discussants included international justice experts, Members of Parliament, officials from the Executive branch of government, legal practitioners, academics, Diplomatic corps, civil society, and the media.


On June 4, 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) issued an arrest warrant against Charles Taylor, the incumbent President of Liberia for his alleged involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. When the warrant was issued, Mr. Taylor was travelling to Ghana for talks with Liberian rebel groups to end a four-year civil war that has destabilized West Africa.

The indictment against Mr. Taylor had been issued on March 7, 2003, but was kept sealed until the Special Court Prosecutor saw in Mr. Taylor's trip an opportunity to apprehend him. The warrant was served on the authorities of Ghana, and transmitted to Interpol.