General News of Tuesday, 18 December 2018
Source: Edmond Gyebi
The Family of the 16 year old boy brutalized by three soldiers in Tamale has commended the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) for coming out with its investigations and recommendations almost three years after the incident.
However, the family says they are highly disappointed and dissatisfied with the GHC30,000 compensation package proposed by CHRAJ to be paid to the victim by the perpetrators.
“I am going to speak to my lawyer to properly interpret the CHRAJ report to me but as for that GHC30,000 I am even shocked as to how CHRAJ arrived at that figure. It cannot even cover our medical bills for the past two and half years not to talk about compensating my brother in his current state,” Senior brother and spokesperson of the victim’s family, Mr. Richard Kombian said.
He lamented that the amount was not enough to even compensate for the medical bills of his brother who now frequents the hospital almost every two weeks after the assault.
“These soldiers from all indications wanted to kill my brother for a crime he did not commit. They have indeed destroyed his life, because now Christopher does not behave normal again. How can they torture a small boy for more than 7 hours, burn his naked body with plastic materials, threaten him a gun and handcuff him on a tree so that no one can rescue him”.
Richard Kombian noted that his brother is now mentally unstable, had lost his dignity and not been able to erect (rendered impotent) as a result of the brutality he suffered in the hands of the law enforcers.
Christopher Barmah, was brutally assaulted and tortured by the three soldiers for allegedly stealing a mobile phone belonging to one of the soldiers, Corporal Sampson Atuahene.
CHRAJ in its report has recommended that the boy should be granted a compensation of GH¢30,000, and 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.
CHRAJ 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.
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.
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 victim 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.