President tasks new Supreme Court judges to uphold the rule of law

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President Akufo-Addo and Justice Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday swore into office Justice Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi as justices of the Supreme Court, with a call on them to always dispense justice in full accordance with their conscience and the rule of law.

“You must ensure the strict application of the laws of the land and the words of the judicial oath that you have just taken, without fear or favour, affection or ill will, and therefore without recourse to the political, religious or ethnic affiliations of any citizen of the land,” the President said.

President Akufo-Addo also charged them to deal with any person who falls foul to the law accordingly, saying that as the true concept of equality before the law.

Professor Mensah-Bonsu

Outlining the credentials of Justice Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, President Akufo-Addo described her as having stellar career in the world of academia and scholarship, female activism, international relations, public service and religious engagement.

“I am happy to be the President who swore her into office as a Justice of the Supreme Court. The appointment, I have no doubt, will help strengthen the development of the court’s jurisprudence and case law,” the President said.

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Professor Mensah-Bonsu, according to President Akufo-Addo, met the stringent requirements of Article 128 Clause (4) of the Constitution and had “exhibited the independence of spirit, proven integrity, high moral character and impartiality of mind to hold the office.”

Yonny Kulendi

After swearing in Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, President Akufo-Addo stated that the independence of the Supreme Court is buttressed by the constitutional jurisdiction it exercises in the interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution.

He cited the illuminating dicta of Sowah JSC, in the locus classicus of constitutional interpretation, Tuffuor vs the Attorney General…, saying: “Its language, therefore, must be considered as if it were a living organism capable of growth and development. A broad and liberal spirit is required for its interpretation,”

Making reference to the above, President Akufo-Addo noted that “the broad and liberal spirit” that has become hallowed by Tuffuor vs the Attorney General should inform the different perspectives that appointments to the Court should reflect.

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He explained that was why, as Attorney General in the Kufuor administration, he proposed the nominations for appointments onto the court, distinguished academic jurists of varying viewpoints, such as Professor Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, the late Professor Tawia Modibo Ocran, and the late Professor A K P Kludze.

He noted that even though the three persons were not “in the mainstream”, their works turned out to have significant impact on the growth of the court’s constitutional jurisprudence.

“As President, I have continued in this tradition, by appointing, among others, the immediate past President of the Ghana Bar Association, Justice Nene Amegatcher, and the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Justice Professor Emmanuel Nii Ashie Kotey, again persons who were not in the mainstream, as members of the Supreme Court,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He added: “Indeed, earlier today, I have appointed another distinguished, academic lawyer, with an outstanding reputation in criminal law, Justice Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, onto the Court. A blend of such persons with others on the Court will enrich the evolution of our country’s jurisprudence.”

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Well deserved

This, he said, is one of the strongest reasons for the appointment of Mr Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, a highly-regarded, accomplished barrister, who forms part of the small group of persons appointed onto the Court directly from the Bar, including Justice Nene Amegatcher and the late Edward Akufo-Addo.

Congratulating Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi on his appointment, the President said the appointment is a particularly poignant experience for him.

“I was your pupil master in your early days at the Bar, and you cut your teeth in legal practice in my Chambers, Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co., before branching out to establish your own successful practice, Kulendi@Law, which has become a respected voice in the legal fraternity of our country. Your elevation, understandably, fills me with considerable pride,” he added.

Source: Daily Statesman

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