Judiciary must be accountable to the people

Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, the Chief Justice on Tuesday tasked the Judiciary to be accountable to the people as mandated by the 1992 Constitution.

“Justice emanates from the people and shall be administered in the name of the Republic by the Judiciary, which shall be independent and subject only to this Constitution.

“The judicial power of Ghana shall be vested in the Judiciary, accordingly, neither the President, the Parliament, any organ or agency of the President or Parliament shall have or be given final judicial power,” Mrs Wood stated during an interaction with the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee.

The Chief Justice therefore commended the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) for the comprehensive consultation in conducting the review process.

The Implementation Committee is chaired by Professor E.V.O. Dankwa, with Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, Minister of Justice and Attorney- General as Ex-Officio Member. Other members are Mr Akenten Appiah Menka, a lawyer and Industrialist and formerly a Commissioner of the Constitution Review Commission, Mrs Estelle Appiah, and Dr Gheysika Adombire Agambila.

Prof Dankwa said the meeting with the Chief Justice was a follow-up to find out the Judiciary’s action on the recommendations of the CRC especially on issues concerning the judicial system.

He said the Committee has a short time to discharge its mandate and that members are working to meet the deadline.

He said the Committee had also been tasked to prepare the people for a referendum on the entrenched provisions of the Constitution as well as facilitate the passage of the bills for the amendment of the non- entrenched provisions.

Prof Dankwa said the Committee would develop proposals for legislative changes recommended by the CRC and also help in the implementation of the administrative actions.

The CRC recommendations on the Judiciary borders on administration of justice, delays in justice delivery, corruption in the judiciary, the adjudication of electoral disputes, adjudication of constitutional disputes and the Supreme Court.

Other issues are the composition of the Supreme Court, quorum of the Supreme Court, the automatic right of appeal to the Supreme Court, composition of the review panel of the Supreme Court, qualification requirements for appointment to the Supreme Court and process of appointment of justices of the Supreme Court.

The rest of the issues are tenure of justice of the Supreme Court, removal from office of justices of the Supreme Court, appointment to the office of the Chief Justice, the empanelling powers of the Chief Justice, removal of the Chief Justice from office and appointment to the office of justices of the Appeal Court and the High Court.

The establishment of the position of President of the Court of Appeal, maintenance of Regional Tribunals in the court structure; constructional expression of the lower courts and the tenure of office and conditions of service of judges and magistrates of the lower courts.

The CRC recommendations also focussed on the Judicial Council and composition of the Council.

The CRC Implementation Committee is expected to complete it work by the end of the year.

Its broad mandate is to develop and report on the public reactions to the Government White Paper and the Constitutional amendment bills for both the entrenched and non-entrenched provisions of the Constitution.

The main objective of the Committee is to implement the recommendations of the Government White Paper on the CRC.

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