General News of Saturday, 1 July 2017
The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr Benson Nutsukpui, has urged Ghanaians to stem vigilantism and mob justice, since they threaten the very essence of the rule of law and democracy.
Rather, he said there was the urgent need for all to embrace the rule of law for the sustenance of the country’s democracy,
Speaking at the 35th remembrance service held in Accra in honour of the three High Court judges murdered in 1982, he described mob justice and vigilantism as a threat to the country’s well-being which if not checked, “will erode the very essence of our democracy.’’
Mr Nutsukpui cited the attack on a Circuit Court in Kumasi in April 2017 as a clear example of the “outrageous and shocking’’ disrespect that people had for the rule of law.
“As a country, we appear not to have made enough progress in the fight against lawlessness. We must devote ourselves to defending the rule of law,’’ he said.
This year’s event, held at the Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, was attended by President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo Addo, the Vice-President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the Chief Justice (CJ), Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo.
Others in attendance were the Attorney-General (A-G), Ms Gloria Akuffo, Justices of the Superior Courts, lawyers and some family members of the murdered judges.
Martyrs’ Day June 30, known as “Martyrs’ Day”, a sacred day in the law profession and the Judiciary, is observed in memory of Mr Justice Frederick Poku Sarkodee, Mrs Justice Cecilia Afran Koranteng-Addow and Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong who were abducted from their homes and murdered in 1982.
In a sombre mood, the life histories of the three judges were read as some friends and family members shed tears.
Justice Sarkodee was described as one who “was not afraid to expand and explore the frontiers of the law,’’ while Justice Agyepong was noted for his “love for the judicial work and his abhorrence for violence.’’
Justice Koranteng-Addow was described as an “affable and kind woman,’’ known for her “keenness and thoroughness in her work.’’
Prior to the remembrance service, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the monument erected in front of the Supreme Court in memory of the three judges.
The wreaths were laid by the Chief Justice, the president of the GBA and representatives of the families of the three judges.
Need for change Delivering the sermon, titled “A Ghanaian Indeed,’’ the Methodist Minister of the Accra Ridge Church, Very Reverend Emmanuel K. Aryee, reiterated the need for the country to change its way of politicking.
According to him, people had failed to recognise the rule of law as the bedrock of the country’s democracy and had rather resorted to activities that polarised the country.
“After 25 years of constitutional rule of governance under the Fourth Republic, political radicalism and extremism continue to dent our democracy,’’ he said.
He also advised people to change their way of life, adding, “Our development will be impeded if we do not change.
“Corruption and dishonesty are pervasive in our national vibe, including the religious sphere, making it difficult to promote peace in our country and to trust one another,’’ he said.
Very Rev. Aryee further urged Ghanaians to work hand in hand to solve the country’s problems and not see them as the “problems of only the leaders.’’ “Let everyone stand up and be counted,’’ he added.
How it happened On June 30, 1982, Justices Sarkodee, Koranteng-Addow, Agyepong and a retired army officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted from their homes at night during curfew hours and murdered at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.
A special investigative board with a former CJ, the late Mr Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, as Chairman, was set up to investigate the murders. The lead investigator was the late Chief Superintendent Jacob Jebuni Yidana.
The special investigative board made a number of findings, leading to the prosecution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), Lance Corporals Samuel Amedeka and Michael Senyah, and two ex-soldiers —Jonny Dzandu and Tonny Tekpor.
All the accused persons were found guilty and sentenced to death. During the trial, Amedeka, Dzandu and Tekpor escaped in a jailbreak. Amedeka fled the country but Dzandu and Tekpor were captured.