Military brutality: CHRAJ recommends GH¢30,000 compensation to boy assaulted 2-years ago

General News of Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2018-12-18

Christopher Barmah was assaulted by three military men for allegedly stealing a mobile phone

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has recommended that a boy brutalised by military men when he was sixteen years should be granted a compensation of GH¢30,000.

CHRAJ also recommended that the payment should be done through the Chief of Defence Staff, Ghana Armed Forces, and proof shown to the Commission within three months following the date of the decision.

The Commission has also charged the Chief of Defence Staff to take immediate steps to put the military personnel who assaulted the boy on trial in accordance with section 12 (2) of the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105), and the GAF’s Code of Service Discipline.

Background

On April 4, 2016, Christopher Barmah, was alleged to have stolen a mobile phone by three military persons.

The military personnel thoroughly searched the teenage boy but did not find the phone on him.

However, later that day, the victim who usually runs errands for the three military personnel invited Christopher into their barracks and allegedly assaulted him after they failed a second time to get the missing phone from him.

The victim then Petitioned CHRAJ to launch a full-scale human rights investigation into the dastardly act and make appropriate recommendations to forestall any future occurrence of same.

Recommendations

The key findings, based on CHRAJ’s investigations, which informed the recommendation were as follows:

– As of April 25, 2016, when the complaint was lodged with CHRAJ, Christopher Barmah was 16 years and eight months old and hence was a child.

-It was also found that the brutalities suffered by Christopher took place on April 1, 2016, and not April 4, 2016. CHRAJ found that Christopher was subjected to brutalities and other dehumanising acts by the military personnel on suspicion of him having stolen mobile phone. One of the military men who assaulted Christopher is at large.

-It was found further that the victim was “totally subordinated to the will and power” of the soldiers for seven hours.

– CHRAJ also found that Cpl. Sampson Atuahene and Clp. Collins Eyison admitted their culpability for the brutalities, apologised and wanted the intervention of the Chief of Sheshegu Community to help settle the matter.

– CHRAJ said the degree of torture of the deserves a redress.

Based on its findings, CHRAJ recommends that the Respondents should render an unqualified apology to Christopher Barmah which is to be published within 3 months of the decision.

CHRAJ recommends that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice takes steps to criminalise torture in accordance with Ghana’s obligation under Articles 4(1) and (2) of the Convention Against Torture.

The Commission has charged the Ministry of Defence and the Ghana Armed Forces takes steps to ensure that Christopher Barmah undergoes a thorough and comprehensive medical examination and care in any of the Military Hospitals run by the Ghana Armed Forces and also rehabilitate to enable him to lead a meaningful life.

CHRAJ commended F-X Law & Associates and in particular Lawyer Francis-Xavier Sosu for his fight for the marginalised and whose effort led to the submission of the complaint on behalf of the victim.

CHRAJ also commended Joy FM, TV Africa and the medical facilities that assisted the victim when he was first violated. The show of Leadership by GAF particularly by the Former CDS Air Marshal Sampson Oje and his team of experts who also intervened when the news first broke.

The decision was reached and communicated on December 17, 2018.

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