The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has condemned pronouncements and commentaries that tend to intimidate, threaten, and attack the personality of judges over their judgements and rulings.
It said such attacks were a direct affront on judicial independence and rule of law and must be denounced unreservedly by all well-meaning Ghanaians.
Mr Yaw Acheampong Boafo, President of GBA, said this at the 41st Anniversary Remembrance Service held for the three murdered High Court Judges at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra on Friday.
The three murdered judges are Justice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow and Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong.
The judges and a Retired Army officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted on the night of curfew hours of June 30, 1982, and were brutally and savagely murdered at Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.
Mr Boafo described the attacks and threats as ” untidy, irresponsible, reprehensible” and urged judges not to be deterred or be cowed by them.
He asked them to remain resolute and fearless in the discharge of their judicial oaths of doing justice to all manner of persons without fear or favour or affection or ill-will, and with integrity and professionalism.
The President of GBA said the courts and judges gave decisions based on what the “law is and not based on how a party or even some section of the people like it to be” .
According to him, hiding behind political interest to only ridicule and politicise judgements not from the angle of legal, scholarly, and constitutional appraisal, unfairly and inappropriately lowered the dignity of the courts and hurt the rule of law.
He, therefore, chastised the leadership of the Minority in Parliament for launching an attack on former Justice Anin Yeboah for allegedly presiding over “miscarriage of justice” during his tenure.
He ssid the author of the accusations was unable to give particulars of the specific cases or decisions by the former Chief Justice that occasioned the miscarriage of justice and what scientific tools he had used to measure the level of miscarriage of justice.
“I, therefore, urge people to be circumspect both in our actions and statements to ensure that no judge in this country should ever suffer the tragedy and fate of the martyrs we celebrate today.”
He said the judicial office “is and could be especially difficult and taxing one. One that involves a lot of sacrifices. It is why it becomes a very difficult decision for some lawyers to leave the bar for the bench. It can be a lonely place to be, too.”
He said, “inasmuch as the GBA will continue to advocate and defend the integrity, dignity and independence of the judiciary, we implore our judges to endeavour to eschew all acts of impropriety, biases, improper influences and work in fidelity to the judicial oath.”
Mr Boafo said the judiciary remained the country’s “succor and hope” when there were excesses on the part of the two arms of government.
“When it is looked at carefully, it will be seen that the judiciary is and remains the most veritable guardian of our constitutional rights irrespective of the social, political, and religious divides we belong to. The better choice is, therefore, for all of us to help to improve it and to better serve us; and not to attack and tear it down.”
The GBA President appealed to all to resolve to pursue and sustain the path of peace, love for one another and eschew all acts of violence and lawlessness.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo Friday joined the Ghana Bar Association and the Judiciary to mark the 41st anniversary of the remembrance service for three murdered High Court Judges at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra.
Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo and Justice of the Superior and Lower Court witnessed the ceremony.
The three murdered judges are justice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow and Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong.
The three judges and a Retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted on the night of curfew hours of June 30, 1982, and brutally and savagely murdered at Bundase Range in the Accra Plains.
Preaching the sermon, Very Reverend Father Dr. Ebenezer Akesseh, Parish Priest, Christ the King Parish, said lawyers should see their profession or vocation as a calling, which meant that they were giving themselves away.
Father Akesseh described a martyr as a witness adding, “the highest form of a martyr is shedding ones blood”.
“Yours may not be shedding of your blood but insults and threats and false accusations and may be no promotion. But find comfort in the words of Jesus Christ that blessed are you who are persecuted and falsely accused.”
According to Father Akesseh, martyrs of Christianity led to the growth and flourishing of the faith.
He said the suffering of the three judges should also lead lawyers and judges to witness in their profession with integrity and resilience.
“We are celebrating martyrs of Justice; it means we acknowledge that they have crusaded for justice and in implementing justice, they lost their lives.”
The Parish Priest urged lawyers and judges to hunger and thirst for righteousness and seek wisdom for their work.
He also appealed to the judges and lawyers to pay attention to the dictates of their conscience.
“Do not ignore the dictates of your conscience. Keep your conscience clear before man and God. ”
Three Justice of the High Court, Justice Charles Gyamfi Danquah, Justice Akua Sarpomaa Amoah and Justice Kwasi Anokye Gyimah read the biographies of the murdered Judges.
Chief Justice Torkornoo and Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, read the first and second bible readings respectively.
Cantoribus Chorale treated the gathering to melodious songs.