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28.06.2004 General News

CJ calls for the establishment of National Hall of Fame

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Accra, June 28, GNA - Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice on Monday appealed to the Government to institute a National Hall of Fame where statutes or busts of deserving Ghanaians would be preserved.

He said the Government could also consider the preservation of burial grounds for national heroes and heroines.

Mr Justice Acquah made the appeal at the unveiling of busts erected in memory of three High Court Judges, who were abducted and murdered in cold blood in the early hours of June 30, 1982.

They were Mr Justice Fred Poku Sarkodee, Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong and Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, assisted by the Chief Justice and Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, Speaker of Parliament, unveiled the busts at the forecourt of the Supreme Court in Accra on Monday.

Mr Justice Acquah said it was about time departed heroes and heroines were recognized to create the awareness in the youth that dedication to duty, honesty, integrity and loyalty to the nation would be recognized and imprinted on the mind of time.

He said the ceremony was unique because it afforded the Judiciary and the nation the opportunity to honour those to whom honour was due. "We are often told that a nation which does not honour its heroes and heroines is not worth dying for."

The Chief Justice said each of the Judges was a judge of great honour, integrity, hardworking and faithful to their judicial oath. "They stood for justice but were the victims of injustice, they showed Christian love and charity but they were victims of hate and vengeance, they showed mercy but they received none in return," he said.

Chief Justice Acquah called on Judges and officials of the Judicial Service to re-dedicate themselves to their calling and contribute their quota to the deepening of democracy and the rule of law, which were the foundations of any free society.

He explained that the bust of a fourth person - retired Army Major Sam Acquah - who was also killed alongside the judges, was not added because it was a Judicial Service initiative to honour and perpetuate the memory of its members.

"The retired army officer was not a member of the Judicial Service. Furthermore, we have no mandate from his family or any relation to mount his bust on the forecourt of the Supreme Court," he explained.

Mr Paul Adu-Gyamfi, president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) said the erection of the busts of the martyrs would forever serve as a reminder that as a nation Ghanaians cherished the rule of law.

He said the solemn event was also an acknowledgement and a vindication of the courageous stand taken by the association to immortalize the names of the slain judges through the martyrs' day lectures and memorial services.

Each of the three busts was set upon a granite pedestal with their individual biographies and a short account of the circumstances under which they were killed.

There is a curved colonnade serving as a backdrop to the busts, which symbolically represents "God's justice" in the land and reflects the architecture of the Supreme Court building.

The curvature also creates a central focus court in front of the busts where the pain and sin of the crime is focused, symbolically collected and atoned for and taken away into the depths of the earth. Behind the busts are pillars with the inscription "Martyrs of the Rule of Law".

The Ghana Police Service Central Band and the Winneba Youth Choir provided melodious tunes at the solemn ceremony.

The Judicial Council took the decision this year to immortalize the souls of the three eminent Judges by erecting their busts at the forecourt of the Supreme Court Building as a reminder of their supreme sacrifices to the nation.

Unveiling of the busts, valued at 500 million-cedi, formed part of activities to mark the 22nd anniversary celebration of the death of the Judges, dubbed "Martyrs' Day".

On that fateful day, the Judges together with the Army Major were abducted from their homes and cruelly killed at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.