GBA Fights For Judges

Judges

 

Benson Nutsukpui, the National President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), has cautioned Ghanaians against the use of social media to mount scurrilous attacks on judges.

He said although the citizenry have the right to criticize judges, it is absolutely unacceptable for the criticisms to be rendered in languages that are vituperative, sensational and purely abusive.

This, the GBA president insists, is done with the primary aim of “inciting public dissatisfaction for our judges and to undermine the integrity of the judicial system.”

Mr Nutsukpui was speaking at a memorial service in Accra yesterday to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the murder of three high court judges – Justices Fred Poku Sarkodee, Cecilia Afran Koranteng-Addow and Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong.

He said the occasion was an appropriate moment to examine the role of judges and lawyers in the defence of the rule of law, stressing that an independent judiciary is the backbone of the rule of law.

Benson stated that a judiciary that is protected against all forms of intimidation and interference is key to securing judicial independence.

The GBA president told Ghanaians that it’s time to rededicate themselves to the entrenchment of the rule of law, adding that “assaults to the rule of law should never manifest themselves in the horrific circumstances we have just reminded ourselves.”

On the impending elections, he said the public must uphold the tenets of the rule of law before, during and after the polls.

“It is my hope that we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of the rule of law which we so gallantly uphold. As we approach the 2016 parliamentary and presidential elections, I cannot but encourage citizens, public and state institutions to recommit themselves to the ideals of the rule of law, thereby ensuring that the upcoming elections take place in an orderly and peaceful environment.”

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In a sermon, Most Rev. Gabriel J. Anokye, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese, Kumasi, among other things, urged all Ghanaians to be united for the good of the country.

Thirty-four years ago –June 30, 1982 – the three afore-mentioned high court judges as well as a retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted in the night when a curfew had been imposed on the entire nation by the defunct military junta, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) headed by Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings (the former civilian president).

Their bodies were found on July 1, 1982, in a state of decomposition at the Bundase Military Range on the Accra Plains.

Their bodies had been doused with petrol and set on fire, but by divine intervention, raindrops that night quenched the fire, making the partly charred bodies somewhat recognizable.

The PNDC, publicly expressing horror at the crime and yielding to strong public pressure, set up a Special Investigations Board (SIB) with a former Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, as chairman, to investigate the murders.

The professional expertise of the main investigator, J.J. Yidana – an officer of the Ghana Police Service – was remarkable as far as getting to the root of the crime was concerned. The SIB submitted its report and was published along with a Government White Paper.

The SIB made a number of findings, leading to the prosecution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the PNDC; L/Cpls Samuel Amedeka, Samuel Michael Senyah, Johnny Dzandu and Tekpor.

For the past 34 years, the Ghana Bar and the Bench have been mourning the ‘martyrs of the rule of law’ every year.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson 

[email protected]

Source GhanaPlus.com

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