Five Ghanaian nationals have sued the country at the ECOWAS Court of Justice alleging human rights violations.
Stella Kubagee, Joseph Anny, Samuel Anane, Solomon Nketia and Abdul Samed Abubakari are residents of Asuakwaa Community, Sunyani Metropolitan District and the Bono Region of Ghana.
They are boys who ranged between 13 to 16 years when the alleged violations occurred in June 2018.
The mother of one of the boys is also part of this action bringing the number of plaintiffs to five. They say they were woken up from their sleep and picked up from their respective houses by some soldiers of the Ghana Armed Forces stationed at the Liberation Barracks in Sunyani.
The soldiers are said to have accused four of the boys of stealing a laptop belonging to one, Captain Prempeh. The boys say they were taken to the Liberation Barracks where Captain Prempeh and two other soldiers: Adu Gyamfi, a.k.a. Shakur and Ebo Mensah, subjected them to beatings.
“They beat the boys with sticks, a pestle, a metal rod, a vehicle fan-belt and a cutlass. They stripped the boys naked and poured water on them as they beat them. In the process of beating the second plaintiff, they took him to his house where they met his mother, the first Plaintiff”, court documents state.
The story of these boys was told in a JoyNews documentary, “As if we weren’t human; tracking unsolved police and military brutalities”.
Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in December 2019 asked the three soldiers accused of brutalising the four minors to pay compensation to the victims.
In its ruling, CHRAJ gave the soldiers three months to pay the victims ¢10,000 each for their salary.
The victims are also to benefit from free medical care from any military hospital until they have been declared fit.
Further, the soldiers were to face disciplinary action from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Parents of the four boys say they have since received the ¢10,000 each from the military. They, however, claim there has been no investigation into the inhuman treatment that the 1st Plaintiff, Stella Kubagee, suffered from the soldiers. She is also reported not to have received any compensation in any form for the beating and injury she suffered.
“As at the time of filing this Application, none of the soldiers responsible for this incident has been prosecuted. In addition, none of them has been removed from the Ghana Armed Forces. They all remain serving members of the Ghana Armed Forces,” the court documents further allege.
They are therefore asking the court to order Ghana to carry out an effective investigation into the matter. They also want financial compensation in the following terms
“1st plaintiff – $5000
2nd to 5th Plaintiffs – $20,000 for each of them.”
They also wish rehabilitation and psycho-social services as well a directive that Ghana legalises legislation that criminalises and spells out punishment for all acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
The court documents filed on November 2 show that the Plaintiffs will be represented by lawyers from Ghana, Gambia, and Nigeria at the regional court.
“Gaye Sowe (ESQ), (Member of the Gambian and Nigerian Bars
Edmund Foley (ESQ), (Member of the Ghanaian Bar
Oludayo Fagbemi (ESQ), (Member of the Nigerian Bar)”