Transcending Dualism: Deconstructing Colonial Vestiges in Ghana’s Treaty Law and Practice

  • Godwin E. K. DzahEmail author


In line with its common law heritage, Ghana identifies as a dualist state. It follows that when Ghana ratifies a treaty, it must incorporate the treaty in order for the treaty to be domestically inapplicable. However, Ghana is more dualist in pronouncement than in practice; rendering rights-conferring treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights inapplicable or uncertain within Ghana law. Drawing on Third World Approaches to International Law, this chapter makes three propositions: that the monist–dualist divide is blurred as there is a progressive effort at transcending this divide; that Ghana’s mechanistic and continual observance of dualism is to be beholden to colonial legacies that ill-serve its interests; and, that the purpose of rights-conferring treaties can only be realised through a proactive approach by the courts, and the complementary, joint effort of the Executive and Parliament to domesticate these treaties.



Doctoral Candidate, Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia (Canada); LLM (Harvard); QCL (Gh. Sch. Law); LLB, BA (Univ. of Ghana). I gratefully acknowledge Gideon Gabor and Mawuse Barker-Vormawor for their probing questions and invaluable feedback. I would also like to thank the Canadian Council on International Law for supporting my research through the award of the John Peters Humphrey Fellowship.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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