General News of Friday, 1 July 2016
A non-denominational service was held in Accra yesterday to mark the 34th anniversary of the abduction and murder of three High Court justices at the Bundase Military Range in the Accra Plains.
The justices were Mr Justice Fred Poku Sarkodie, Mrs Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow and Mr Justice Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong.
Also abducted and murdered was Major Sam Acquah (retd).
The solemn service, organised by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), in collaboration with the Judicial Service of Ghana, was attended by family members of the deceased, lawyers, judges, including the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and some members of the public.
At the event, the President of the GBA, Mr Benson Nutsukpui, said the memory of the three justices should live forever.
“We have forgiven the wrongdoers for their cowardly and evil deeds, but we still remember these martyrs of the rule of law and will continue to celebrate them. The Bar and the Bench acknowledge and proclaim those good qualities and deeds for which they were murdered,” he said.
He said such a tragedy should never be allowed to happen again, adding, “Assaults to the rule of law have not and should never manifest themselves in the horrific circumstances we have just reminded ourselves of.”
Rule of law
Mr Nutsukpui said the death of the three martyrs should be a reminder to people and institutions to uphold and defend the independence of the Judiciary.
“The commemoration of their deaths on Martyrs Day is an appropriate occasion to examine the role of judges and lawyers in the defence of the rule of law. An independent Judiciary is the backbone of the rule of law. A Judiciary that is protected from all forms of intimidation and interference is key to securing judicial independence,” he stated.
Members of the Ghana Bar Association and the Judiciary have been attending the Martyrs Day remembrance service since its inception
The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi, the Most Reverend Gabriel J. Anokye, who delivered the sermon at the ceremony, advised the public to use the death of the three justices to promote peace and unity in the country
He said people would be doing a great disservice to the memory of the three martyrs if peace, reconciliation and stability did not prevail in the country.
“Our departed justices will be happier if we can secure a more peaceful, stable and developed Ghana through shared responsibility.
“We can do this when freedom and justice will not be mere words embellishing our national Coat of Arms but will be practised and protected in strength and in truth,” he said.
The Special Investigations Board set up by the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to investigate the gruesome murder made a number of findings, leading to the prosecution of Joachim Amartey Kwei, a member of the PNDC; Lance Corporals Samuel Amedeka and Michael Senyah and two ex-soldiers: Johnny Dzandu and Tonny Terkpor.