Murdered Judges Remembered
The Ghana Bar Association has organised the 36th Anniversary Remembrance Service for the three justices of the High Court who were murdered in 1982 and their bodies set ablaze.
Justices Fred Poku Sarkodie, Cecilia Koranteng-Addow and Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong as well as a retired Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah, were abducted and murdered on the night of June 30, 1982 during the curfew hours.
Their bodies were found on July 1, 1982, in a state of decomposition at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.
Their bodies had been doused with petrol and set on fire but a rainfall quenched the fire on the burning bodies that night and their remains were later discovered.
The PNDC, publicly declaring itself to be horrified by the crime, and yielding to strong public pressure, set up a Special Investigation Board (SIB) with a former Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe, as chairman, to investigate the murder case.
The inquiry is noted for the courage and professional expertise of its main investigator, J.J Yidana, an officer of the Ghana Police Service. The SIB submitted its report and was published along with a Government White Paper.
The SIB made a number of findings, leading to the prosecution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the PNDC, L/Cpls Samuel Amedeka, Samuel Michael Senyah, Johnny Dzandu and Tekpor, who were all ex-soldiers.
Since then, the GBA and the Judiciary continue to mourn their fallen heroes who have become the martyrs of rule of law, with monuments mounted in their memory at the forecourt of the Supreme Court.
Once again, President Nana Akufo-Addo and Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, graced the occasion to commiserate with members of the Bar and the Bench.
The two made history last year when they became the first sitting President and Vice to attend the memorial service of the slain judges.
Former presidents – Jerry John Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufour, late John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama made no appearance during their respective tenures as presidents.
President Akufo-Addo, who has been a long standing member of the Bar and once a leader of the Bar, was in the company of his Vice at the ceremony organised at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Accra.
Benson Nutsukpui, President of the Ghana Bar Association, who read a brief resume of the three Justices paid them glorious tributes and appreciated them for the courage they exhibited in those trying times.
He said the event that led to the abduction and the eventual murder of the three judges continues to assail the conscience of Ghanaians and remain a stain on our political history.
“It has been 36 years since the death of the three eminent judges but time must not dim or shut our eyes to the noble cause they stood and died for. We bear a tender but firm heart in their remembrance because they represent values that have become the bulwark of our democracy”, Mr. Nutsukpui pointed out.
He indicated that the anniversary, therefore, is an appropriate occasion to examine the critical role of judges, governance institutions, lawyers and all stakeholders in promoting and defending the rule of law.
“We need to ask ourselves the critical question about nation building: how far have we come in our adherence to the tenets of rule of law? How much have the values of rule of law shaped the governance and developmental process of our country and the administration of justice?” Mr. Nutsukpui inquired.
Rev. Dr. George O. Kwapong, the Tema North District Minister of the Presbyterian Church in a sermon on the theme “The Day Will Surely Make Way to The Night” urged Ghanaians to make good use of time available to them as they shall depart this earth one day.
He said life is not permanent and we as individuals must grab opportunities given to us for the benefit of society.
He decried the growing spate of corruption and other vices in the country which are negatively affecting the citizenry.
Apart from the President and the Vice President, this year's memorial service was attended by some high profile personalities including the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu and Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Attah.
Others are the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, the Attorney General, Gloria Afua Akuffo, Justice William Atuguba, a Justice of the Supreme Court, high and lower court judges as well as a good number of lawyers.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak