The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CCSOs) has joined calls for an independent probe into the killing of two individuals at Ejura Sekyeredumase by Military personnel on Tuesday, June 29.
In a Press statement issued July 2, the CCSOs concurred with assertions by the Minority in Parliament that the Ministerial Committee will be handicapped to undertake effective investigations into the issue.
The CCSOs said the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery cannot establish a Committee to probe into actions carried out by officers within his outfit, hence the request that the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) takes up the inquiry.
“While we commend the President for directing swift investigations into this matter, we are concerned that the use of the Interior Ministry to conduct investigations into matters which involve agencies acting under the authority of the Ministry may compromise the fairness and integrity of its findings.
“The Ministry of Interior, which may have been complicit in the handling of this unfortunate incident at Ejura Sekyedumase cannot be judges in their own cause. It is only proper that an independent body conducts investigations into this matter. In this respect, we call on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) under whose mandate this matter which involves excessive abuses of human rights squarely falls, to thoroughly investigate this incident and cause the criminal prosecution of all persons found culpable,” portions of its July 2 communiqué read.
Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery on Thursday established a three-member Committee to probe the circumstances that led to the clash between the youth and Military personnel in Ejura.
The Committee comprises; George Kingsley Koomson, Justice of the Court of Appeal as Chairman, Security Expert, Dr Vladimir Antwi Danso and Juliet Amoah, Executive Director of Penplusbyte, a civil society organisation.
However, Ranking Member on Parliament’s Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga, stressed that a Ministerial Committee lacks the legal mandate to compel potential witnesses to assist in its investigations.
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations condemned the brute force employed by the soldiers to resore order after the youth hit the streets on Tuesday, June 29, to demand justice for their fallen colleague, Ibrahim Mohammed, a social activist. The deceased was attacked in front of his residence and was subsequently pronounced dead on Monday, June 28, at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
“This unfortunate incident and many others in the recent past, point to a long standing, systemic and recurring problem in how State security agencies handle protests in this country. The undemocratic exercise of Police powers and the unwarranted brutal use of force by the Police and the Military who are too eager to display machismo often result in needless fatalities and injuries; the Ejura Sekyedumase matter being a case in point,” the Group added.
According to the Group, the first call to bringing clamness to civilian unrests rest on the shoulder of the Ghana Police Service and not officers from the military, until need be.
“We are also deeply troubled by the frequent deployment of the Military in internal security matters of the country and urge the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and the National Security hierarchy to reassess when and how to deploy Military personnel. By constitutional design, the Ghana Police Service is responsible for the maintenance of internal security and it should remain so until the need arises,” it stated.
The CCSOs has, therefore, revealed their intentions to arrange a meeting with the government and the security hierarchy to discuss how best to manage the twin challenges of securing and policing the right to protest as well as the use of the army for policing work.
Meanwhile, the Coalition has commiserated with the bereaved families as well as four others who as a result of the pandemonium sustained several injuries and have been admitted at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
On the other hand, the media has been advised to be circumspect in the language used in reporting on this unfortunate incident.
“The tendency to mischaracterise and perhaps trivialise such sensitive and critical national issues often do not help in ascertaining the facts of what may have actually happened,” the Coalition noted.
For justice to take its course, the Coalition concluded by admonishing members of the general public, particularly, the youth of Ejura Sekyedumase to remain calm and not engage in any acts of violence to impede ongoing investigations carried out by the Ashanti Regional Police Command.
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