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General News of Saturday, 9 April 2011

Source: Ghana Celebrities

CDD Press Release

CDD-GHANA STATEMENT ON THE REACTIONS TO THE HIGH COURT
RULING IN YA-NA MURDER TRIAL.

The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
expresses its grave concern over reactions in certain quarters to the
recent decision of the High Court in Accra in respect of the trial of
certain individuals for their alleged complicity in the 2002 murder of
the Ya-Na.

CDD-Ghana would like to register its deepest sympathy with the elders
and people of Dagbon for the tragic and criminal murder of their King.
That the perpetrators and abettors of this heinous act remain at large
nearly a decade after the fact is damaging to prospects for peace,
stability and development in Dagbon in particular and the nation at
large. We therefore share with the elders and people of Dagbon their
collective frustration and disappointment over the apparent failure of
the State authorities to marshal the necessary investigative resources
to help bring due closure to this case.
CDD-Ghana is deeply concerned that the legitimate expectation of the
people of Dagbon for justice and closure in a matter as grave as this
has been seized upon by politicians to further their own narrow and
self-interested agendas to the detriment of peace and unity in Dagbon.
Instead of providing professional investigators and prosecutors with
the resources and support necessary to get to the bottom of this case
in a systematic fashion, our politicians have chosen to add partisan
fuel to an already tense and divisive situation.
We are especially appalled by the reactions of elements of the ruling
NDC as well as the opposition NPP to the recent verdict rendered by
the High Court in Accra. While politicians, like all other citizens, are 2
free to comment on decisions of the courts, it crosses the line of
appropriate and responsible commentary and subverts our young
constitutional order for politicians and others who should know better
to examine a judicial verdict simply and purely through narrow
partisan political lenses, all with a view to exploiting the verdict for
maximum partisan advantage. It is worse still when political and civic
leaders proceed to make comments that seek to destroy public faith in
our judges and judicial system and to mobilize factional and partisan
anger and frustration against judges who discharge their lawful duties
in the courts of law.
It is particularly irresponsible for politicians and civic leaders to
reinforce the popular misconception that the State’s case in a trial is
always foolproof and, therefore, that the State must prevail in every
case, or even in most of the cases, it brings before the courts of law.
The courts of Ghana are not the judicial wing of the NDC or the NPP;
they are established under the Constitution as independent arbiters of
legal disputes and are duty-bound to dispense justice based solely on
the facts and the evidence, without fear or favor, affection or ill-will
toward one or the other party involved in the dispute. It is therefore
gravely troubling for politicians to give the impression that the courts
exist to do the bidding of one or the other political party. It is indeed
offensive to the integrity of our judicial system and a threat to the
security and independence of our judges for politicians to openly
politicize matters that properly lie in the province of prosecutors and
the courts and, then, turn around and place the burden of the blame
and disappointment on judges when the outcomes of those cases do
not meet with their partisan approval.
Our system of justice offers litigants who are aggrieved by an adverse
decision of a trial court the opportunity to exercise their right to
appeal the judgment to a higher court. Short of exercising that right3
and allowing the due process of law to take its course, we deem it
highly inappropriate and damaging to the Rule of Law and the peace of
our nation for politicians to incite partisan passions for or against a
judge who has sat in judgment over a case.
We are compelled to remind our politicians that Ghana does not belong
to the NPP or the NDC. All of us, without regard to party, have an
equal stake in the peace, progress and development of this nation. We
therefore entreat Ghanaians, and especially the citizens of Dagbon, to
reject the misguided attempts by certain extreme elements in both the
NDC and the NPP to politicize the search for justice in the Ya-Na case.
We also appeal to social and political commentators as well as
journalists to be circumspect in their comments on the judiciary and
allow the due process of law to take its course.
CDD-Ghana calls on the Council of State, the National House of Chiefs,
and all civil society groups to rise to the occasion and call our
politicians to order before they imperil the stability and peace of our
nation or destroy the institution of the judiciary. We also urge the
Constitution Review Commission to give serious consideration to the
idea of depoliticizing the investigation and prosecution of criminal
cases by recommending, in its final proposals, that the prosecutorial
function in Ghana be assigned to a constitutionally-independent Office
of Prosecution, instead of a politician Attorney-General. We have come
too far along the path toward democratic and constitutional
consolidation to allow our progress to be set back by the undue
politicization of the rule of law.
I

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