Parliament approves nominees to Supreme Court

Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, Sept. 25, GNA – Rev Professor Aaron
Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament of Tuesday indicated his personal
support for the death penalty as the House approved by consensus, the
nomination of four persons by President Nana Akufo-Addo as justices to the
Supreme Court of Ghana.

The approval followed the debate by Members on
the Report of the Appointments Committee after the vetting of nominees-Prof
Emmanuel Ashie Kotey, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of
Ghana; Nene Abayateye Ofoe Amegatcher, private legal practitioner and former
President of the Ghana Bar Association; Justice Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau and
Justice Agnes Mercy Abla Dordzie, both judges of the Appeal Court of Ghana.

The Speaker, in a comment, before the plenary
responded with a resounding “aye” to approve the nominees, picked on the thorny
issue of death penalty and indicated that the death penalty, although not used
for a long time in Ghana should be maintained to serve as deterrent.

The issue of the death penalty had come up
during the vetting, and the Speaker wondered if it were right for a person to
continue to enjoy life, on the grounds of human rights, if he or she takes that
of others in a shooting spree.

Rev Prof Oquaye cited an instance of a
psychopath, who enters a mosque on a Friday or a church on Sunday and kills
about a thousand people in each case and then he is allowed to go scot free on
the grounds of human rights.

He asked the proponents of human rights, who
would not support death penalty for such a person, if that person has the right
to take the lives of others.

Rev Prof Oquaye registered his personal
support for the death penalty to be maintained, as he put it “have it in our
pocket to serve as deterrent to offenders.”

First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the
Appointments Committee Joseph Osei Owusu agreed with Majority Leader Osei
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu that issues about the number of people to serve on the
Supreme Court, whether to capped or increased should be directed to that office
for interpretation.

The appointment of the Justices to the Supreme
Court followed the retirement of some long-serving justices.

As at 2016, there were 14 Supreme Court
judges, but at least three Supreme Court judges have retired or are expected to
retire in a few years.


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