A Retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice N. Y. B. Adade, has suggested to the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) to commission the publication of a book on the full account of the murder of the three high court judges and a retired army officer to commemorate the silver jubilee of the murders next year.
He also suggested that the three High Court Judges and the retired army officer who were murdered on June 30, 1982, be immortalised by having their images on one of Ghana's currency notes.
Justice Adade made the suggestions at a public lecture to mark this year's Martyrs Day in Kumasi. The three High Court Judges, Fred P. Sarkodie, Kwadwo Adjepong, Cecilia Koranteng Addo and , the retired army officer, Major Acquah, were abducted and murdered on June 30, 1982, and next year will be the 25th anniversary of their murder.
The Ghana Bar Association has set aside June 30 of every year to be observed as Martyrs Day in the memory and honour of the matyrs.
The retired judge stated that the 25th anniversary of the bizarre event would be a significant period to remember the victims, and the occasion could best be observed with the launch of the book.
Justice Adade said although the judiciary and the Ghana Bar Association had erected statutes of the three judges in their honour, standing conspicuously in the nature of things, its situation in Accra alone as they are, make them lack national focus.
He said the judges and the army officer died in harness and given the manner of their death, “we have already canonised them and made martyrs of them to which June 30th every year has been etched in our calendar as Martyrs Day, which the nation has accepted, and added that it would not be asking too much for the images to be embossed on any of the nation's currencies.
Justice Adade said it still defied belief that a number of sane and intelligent mature young men could pick the judges from their homes one after the other, with a jeep, drive them to a solitary place outside Accra, seat them in a row on stones and shoot them from behind.
He said those who were interested in re-living the times, as well as those who, may be, were not sufficiently conscient or were born after the event, such persons may be told again or referred to contemporary newspapers and magazines all of which carried the full story with all its gory details.
He said in addition to those sources, some industrious writers had written valuable thought-provoking books and pamphlets on the event including, “The Judges' Murder Trial of 1986”, which was written by the Chairman of the Tribunal which tried the perpetrators of the murders.
He said the suspects were all convicted and sentenced to death (one in absentia) and subsequently executed.
“But is that all there is to this saga?”, Justice Adade asked and said evidence taken together with recent revelations at the sittings of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), chaired by Justice K. E. Amua-Sekyi, all seemed to establish that apart from those persons who were charged and tried, there existed a strong prima facie case of complicity in the abduction and murder of the judges and the army officer.
Justice Adade said some of these persons might, doubtless, be alive today. He said the accused persons claimed that they did not know any of the victims and asked what must have motivated them to undertake such a senseless adventure?.
He said the inference is irresistibly that they must have been put to the deed by some people hiding in the shadows, and in memorialising the event, it might be better to complete the records by convincingly establishing the motive for the crime and through that help identify the conspirators who might still be at large, at least for the benefit of generations to come, even if there might be no appetite to prosecute them.
“After all, crime has no expiry date, and we should not prejudice whatever action the future may suggest, by failing today to put all available material together and preserved”.
Turning his attention to Parliament, Justice Adade exhorted the Bar Association and the Judiciary to take a bit more interest in the working of the law-making body.
He said, so far, it looked as if the Judiciary and Bar Association had concentrated on helping to interpret the law but called on them to help in making the law.
Story by Enoch Darfah Frimpong.