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Kwamena Bentsi-Enchill


Date of Birth:
1919-00-00
Place of Birth:
Saltpond, Ghana

Kwamena Bentsi-Enchill was a Ghanaian judge and academic and a justice of the supreme court of Ghana from 1971 to 1972.

He was born on 22 September 1919 in Saltpond, Central Region of Ghana to Kofi Bentsi-Enchill, an agent of the United African Company, and Madam Christiana Obu.

He enrolled at the Achimota college from 1927 to 1941. He taught briefly at the Mfantsipim School before leaving for the United Kingdom to study Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Oriel College, Oxford University.

Finishing in 1947, he came back to the Gold Coast briefly and then returned to London to read Law at the Middle Temple. He was called to the bar in 1950 and served under Edward Akufo-Addo's pupillage in Kwakwaduam Chambers, Accra. He then established his own Chambers in Accra, Naoferg Chambers.

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In the early 1950s he joined the Convention People's Party and later resigned to stand for the Saltpond seat as an independent candidate in 1954.

He joined the Ghana Bar Association and served as its secretary from 1958 to 1960 where he was made an Honorary Secretary of Freedom and Justice, the Ghana Section of the International Commission of Jurists. He served as the Vice-President from 1958 to 1960.

He was appointed by the International Commission of Jurists in 1959, a committee responsible for the investigation of charges of genocide against the Chinese after they occupied Tibet.

Kwamena Bentsi-Enchill joined the Ghana School of Law that was established in 1958 as teaching staff. In 1961, he joined the University of Ghana law faculty as a senior lecturer in law but left that same year for the United States to pursue his LL.M. degree at Harvard University and his doctorate in juridical science at the Chicago University.

He became an associate professor at Northwestern University. He taught political science prior to leaving the US to establish the University of Zambia's law faculty in 1966 and served as professor and dean of the faculty from 1966 to 1970. Under the patronage of the then President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, he founded the Juristic Studies Association of Zambia in 1968. He was also the founder and editor of the lpathe Zambia Law Journal.

Kwamena Bentsi-Enchillalso pressed for the establishment of the Council of Law Reporting in Zambia which was to be mandated to report decisions of the higher courts of judicature of Zambia and urged the Zambian Ministry of Legal Affairs to prepare an estimate of the country's need for qualified lawyers for the decade 1969 to 1978.

He established the Law Practice Institute of Zambia which was to give practical training to lawyers and served as its first Director. On 16 April 1970 he was elected fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The following year, he was appointed justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, he served in that capacity until 1972 when the Supreme Court was abolished by the military junta that ousted the Busia government.

In the National Redemption Council government (which was in power from 1972 until 1975 when it evolved into the Supreme Military Council), he was the a member of the executive council of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Commissioner for Stool Lands and Boundaries Settlement, and the Chairman of the Volta River Authority until his untimely death in 1974.

Bentsi-Enchill wrote numerous articles in law journals in Ghana and abroad. In 1964, he authored Land Law in Ghana which was published by Sweet and Maxwell, London. At the time of his death, he was working on a book that focused on the problems of Legal integration.

Bentsi-Enchill died on Monday 21 October 1974 at the age of 55 at the 37 Military Hospital, Accra. This was as a result of injuries he had sustained in a motor accident he was involved in on his return from Aburi to Accra on the evening of 14 October 1974. The car run into a heap of sand on the Aburi-Accra road and somersaulted. He left behind his wife and five children.

The then head of state and chairman of the National Redemption Council, Ignatius Kutu Acheampong said he had received the news of his death in great shock. He paid him tribute saying;

"by his death, Ghana has lost an eminent scholar and citizen who brought great distinction on himself and his country and who gave good counsel and dedicated service to his nation on many assignments including the; chairmanship of the Stool Lands Boundary Commission and the Volta River Authority.

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