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General News of Friday, 16 February 2018


Chief Justice 'attacks' Professor Atuguba on research findings

Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo has dismissed claims by Professor Raymond Atuguba, an Associate Law professor at the University of Ghana that political appointments have an influence on decisions by the judiciary.

According to the Chief Justice, “under the constitution, a judge will be appointed during somebody’s time… and that somebody will belong to one party or the other.”

The decisions taken after such appointments by the judges, she said, were subject to any political interpretation by anyone.

“But so long as it is in line with the law and it is sound and follows the facts,” the Chief Justice.

She cautioned the professor against comparing foreign judicial systems to Ghana’s, saying “be careful what you’re importing into our environment, they are used to that, we are not.”

The insinuation that some decisions by the Supreme Court are in favour of political parties who appoint those judges was the core of the professor’s delivery in a research he conducted on 100 court cases.

Prof Atuguba claimed that “somehow, the Supreme Court lost its way after the first years and the judgments started becoming clear on the lines of party appointments.”

Citing the recent Abu Ramadan and Woyome cases, Professor Atuguba noted that the trend was changing again and said: “the supreme court is finding its feet again, where it is giving unanimous judgments on the basis of the law and not the source of the appointment.”

He was quick to add that the possibility of such a change in the Supreme Court decisions could be attributed to the public interest that resulted in scrutiny and eventually, transparency in how the judgment was delivered.

Overall, the data revealed that 14 out of 22 National Democratic Congress (NDC) appointees, making up 64 percent of the party’s appointees to the Supreme Court have given judgment in favour of the NDC.

On the other hand, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had 13 of its 16 judges giving judgments in favour of the party.

Essentially, the NDC, since the beginning of the fourth republic, had appointed 15 percent more justices to the Supreme Court than the NPP, according to the professor.

Professor Atuguba was speaking at the GIMPA law conference held at GIMPA in Accra.

The program which was organized as part of annual conferences presents the platform to gather a community of scholars and academics, experts and practitioners to critically review trends, emerging developments and challenges confronting the law in specific fields.

It was also attended by some key figures in the judicial community such as many lawyers and Justices including Justice Emile Short, Former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, and Paramount Chief of the Asokore Traditional Area, Dr. Nana S.K.B. Asante, who acted as chairman.