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Ghana has detailed terrorism legislation from 2008. Its compatability with the country's international human rights law obligations has been questioned, although there is a limited carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental rights. There is also a provision on terrorism in a situation of armed conflict that is relatively narrow in scope, requiring a specific intent on the part of the perpetrator.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2008 Anti-Terrorism Act defines a terrorist act in its Section 2 in the following, very broad terms:

(1) A terrorist act is an act or threat of action in or outside the Republic which constitutes an offence within the scope of an international counterterrorism convention to which the Republic is a party.

(2) Any of the following acts effected or performed in furtherance of a political, ideological, religious, racial, or ethnic reason or for any other reason constitutes a terrorist act, these include, an action which

(a) involves serious bodily harm to a person;

(b) involves serious damage to property;

(c) endangers a person's life;

(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public;

(e) involves the use of firearms or explosives;

(f) involves the exposure of the public and the release into the environment of:  i. dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substances; ii. toxic chemicals; or iii. microbial or other biological agents or toxins;

(g) is prejudicial to national security or public safety;

(h) is designed or intended to disrupt a computer system or the provision of services directly related to communications, infrastructure, banking or financial services, utilities, transportation or other essential infrastructure; or

(i) is designed or intended to disrupt the provision of essential services.

Subsection 3 stipulates that a terrorist act is also an act

which is intended or by its nature and context may reasonably be regarded as being intended to

(a) intimidate the public, or

(b) compel a person, a government or an international organization to do or refrain from doing an act, and

is made to advance a political, ideological or religious cause.

It is, however, clarified that

A protest, demonstration or stoppage of work which disrupts an essential service shall not be considered to be a terrorist act within the meaning of this Act if the act does not result in the harm referred to in paragraphs, (a),(b),(c) or (d) of subsection (2) of section 2.S. 3, 2008 Anti-Terrorist Act.

In a situation of armed conflict, an act of terrorism is specifically defined. Section 4(1) of the 2008 Act provides that terrorist act in armed conflict means 

an act done in the course of an armed conflict which by its nature or context is intended to

(a) intimidate the population or compel a government or an international organization to do or refrain from doing an act; or

(b) that is intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian not taking an active part in the hostility [sic].

According to subsection 2, an act shall not be considered to be a terrorist act in armed conflict if the salient act is in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Ghana is a State Party to most of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State Party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention Signatory


Ghana is also a State Party to the primary African treaty on terrorism but not its 2004 Protocol.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention Signatory

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

Committing a terrorist act attracts a penalty of a term of imprisonment of not less than seven years and not exceeding twenty-five years.S. 1(2), 2008 Anti-Terrorist Act.

The 2008 Act also stipulates a punishment ranging from seven to twenty five years in prison, for aiding or abetting a terrorist organization "by way of financial support, training, recruiting, providing and transporting property and weaponry, harboring terrorists and concealing inside-information regarding a terrorist act.” 

An academic commentator has questioned whether Ghana's terrorism law is compatible with its human rights obligations.Samuel Boadi Adarkwah, "Counter-Terrorism Framework and Individual Liberties in Ghana", African Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 28, No. 1 (February 2020), pp. 50-65.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The Ghana Police Service is the primary law enforcement agency of the Republic.


Criminal Code of Ghana

Ghana 2008 Anti-Terrorism-Act