Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Joseph Whittal, has chastised military persons who have taken the law into their own hands and are brutalising civilians under the guise of the President’s partial lockdown orders.
Some 2,000 military personnel were deployed by government to help enforce the president’s directives which began on Monday as part of efforts to contain the fast-spreading Coronavirus. So far about two of these officers have been found abusing their powers and are undergoing investigations.
Speaking on JoyFM’s ‘Top Story’, Mr. Whittal expressed displeasure about the situation. According to him, the military’s powers do not include physically abusing civilians even if they are flouting the rules.
Instead, he says, they ought to enforce the law by arresting them and initiating the right processes for them to appear before court.
“If you come across anyone who is not covered by the exemption arrest the person and put the person before court. The imposition or restrictions Act 10 (12), cannot and does not take away the dignity of Ghanaians which remains invaluable under the constitution.”
He commended them for their efforts towards combating indiscipline but was quick to add that they have no rights whatsoever to go around physically assaulting anybody.
“So for you to administer beatings and slaps on your own, that means you have become a judge as a taskforce member, that is completely wrong and that is why we are drawing attention to the taskforce, that they are doing a good job, but they should be mindful of these excesses because we were told, that this exercise is going to be carried out on humanitarian basis.
If people are loitering all over the place, they should be arrested and put before the court, and not an issue of taking the law into their own hands, that is where we are concerned.”
Meanwhile, the interior ministry has refuted suggestions that soldiers are maltreating civilians and brutalising them.