Judicial council jabs pro-Andani group
2011-04-26 20:14:30This article has been read 737 times.The Judicial Council has finally responded to what it describes as overt and veiled threats by the Northern Youth For Justice (NYJ)'s action, a pro-Andani group, as amounting to intimidation and harassment.
In an April 21, 2011 response to the demonstration and a petition which greeted the March 29, 2011 ruling by Justice E.K Ayebi which freed some 15 persons arrested in connection with the murder of the Ya Na Andani Yakubu II, the Judicial Council stated that the action “has a tendency to undermine the independence of the Judiciary. Indeed, those events amount to intimidation of the Judiciary,” adding that “this is a dangerous precedent and a recipe for disaster and destruction of the Judiciary which is the bulwark for justice in the democratic governance in Ghana.”
The demonstration was organized by some Dagomba youth under the umbrella of the NYJ in Accra. All the courts in Accra shut down during the demonstration as an invasion scare swept across the bench.
In a petition the demonstrators presented to the bench, they stated rather ominously, “we will come back if and only if justice is still denied to the victims and we may not know the form in which we will come back, we do not want to travel that path”.
The contents of the petition, as they relate to the Judiciary and comments made during its presentation to the Judiciary by the spokesperson of the group, Mohammed Sulemana, the Council explained, “raised some grave issues”.
The Judicial Council, a body of seasoned legal brains which advises the Chief Justice in the performance of his or her duties, regarded the outburst of the youth, because the Chief Justice was not available in person to receive the petition, as “rather strange because in Parliament, the petition was received on behalf of the Honourable Speaker by the Deputy Majority Leader and yet there was no complaint.”
Petitions, the Judicial Council explained, are received on behalf of the Chief Justice by the Judicial Secretary’s secretariat or the offices of the Complaints Unit.
The Council frowned at comments made by lawyers who should have known better about the workings of the judicial system in the country.
For others such as serial callers and politicians, their comments on the issue were made out of ignorance, the Council stated.
“Whilst some of the attacks against the Bench may be mischievous and calculated to serve political ends, especially those coming from some lawyers who should know better, a large number of the criticisms is due to lack of understanding of the work of the Judiciary,” the Council explained.
On the issue of arbitrariness in the choice of judges for cases, the Council stated that whilst this was always devoid of unfairness, the system nonetheless has been replaced with an electronic approach.
“Currently, cases at the High Courts and Appeal Court are assigned to Judges to handle through an electronic system.
The cases are assigned electronically to Judges to sit on and wholly without the knowledge or involvement of the Chief Justice,” the council explained, adding that in the lower courts, this was done by the registrars.
Judges, no matter which administration appoints them, the Judicial Council maintained, “act independently of the appointing authority.
They take the judicial oath and undertake to dispense justice without fear or favour, ill will or affection towards any one.”
There are no NDC, NPP judges on the bench, the Judicial Council explained and observed that “the Judicial Council frowns on the creeping practice of classifying judges or labeling them as belonging to the National Democratic Congress or New Patriotic Party merely because a judge was appointed under the NDC Administration or NPP Administration.”
This is a dangerous development and should be stopped forthwith, the Council advised and recalled a similar remark by the Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) in its press statement issued on 19th August, 2010 in reaction to attacks on the judiciary by the NDC which read “we do not have NDC, NPP, PNC, CPP, GCPP Judges on the Bench.
What we have is a Ghanaian Bench whose unalloyed allegiance is to mother Ghana no matter which party is the government of the day.”
The Council dispelled the notion by the pro-Andani protesters that there is a dangerous lack of confidence in the judiciary by the ordinary Ghanaian, adding, “The ordinary Ghanaian patronises the courts and trusts it as a place where he/she can access justice.”
Ghanaian judges, the Council stated, “are greatly respected by the international community who read the judgments and are satisfied with the quality and content of the judgments delivered by the courts. These judgments are published in Law Reports available to the whole world.”