Government could withdraw the refugee status of the two Guantanamo Bay detainees and return them if their continuous stay is not in the interest of the country, former Deputy Attorney General under the Mahama administration, Dominic Ayine has suggested.
[contextly_sidebar id=”x2Un4wvKNaIAAbmdilKzb0jgDGPT0Stt”]His suggestion comes on the back of Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey’s assertion that the government has limited options because of the refugee status conferred on them under the Mahama administration in July 2016.
The Minister had stated that, the agreement signed between the government of Ghana and United States of America, indicated that, while the US has no obligation to the detainees after the initial two-year agreement, Ghana has the responsibility to integrate the two into the Ghanaian society.
However, speaking to Citi News’ Duke Mensah Opoku, Mr. Ayine said the refugee status conferred on the two does not necessarily make their return impossible.
“Under our refugee law, as quoted by the Minority Leader, the refugee status can be withdrawn, so it is left with this government to take that step if they so think that the presence of the two persons on Ghanaian soil is inimical to the interest of the people of this country.”
He further pointed out that, government has two options of either renegotiating its agreement with the US or resorting to possible exit arrangements.
“One option is to take steps to renew the agreement. To renegotiate terms that will inure to the benefit of the people of this country. The other option is to look at the exit arrangement necessary for the two persons that we admitted into the country to be taken out of the country,” he said.
The move to host the two in the country was criticized by many observers including the then-in-opposition New Patriotic Party, who described the two as a security threat despite assurances to the contrary by the US.
Two citizens; Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye, further sued the former Attorney General and the Minister of Interior contending that the two were being hosted illegally.
The two were justified by the Supreme Court, which declared as unconstitutional the agreement between the Mahama government and the United States.
The apex court ordered the government to send the agreement to Parliament for ratification or have the two detainees sent back to the US.
According to the judgment, the government needed the approval of Parliament before entering into any international agreement, just as in the case of the two detainees.
When the matter came up for discussion in Parliament, the House was informed that the agreement was reached under a note verbale and Memorandum of Understanding.
A note verbale is a piece of diplomatic correspondence prepared in the third person and unsigned. Parliament subsequently ratified the agreement for the two for detainees to be in the country.
Return GITMO 2 now – Antwi Danso to gov’t
An International relations analyst, Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso had earlier asked government to take immediate steps to return the two detainees.
“They were given two years to stay in Ghana, and the two years have elapsed, what next. And for me they have to leave the country. They must be made to leave by the tenets of the agreement. And agreement tells how its termination can be. So I don’t see why this thing cannot be done, because if they are not made to leave, the security implications are dire,” Antwi Danso earlier stated.
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana