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Human rights issues not a preserve of Superior courts – Chief Justice

Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo

Chief Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo has asked magistrates to be advocates of human rights in the performance of their duties.

“The concept that human rights issues remain the preserve of the high courts and Supreme Court is wrong. Human right issues cuts across all courts. Strive to bear your responsibility as protectors of fundamental human rights. Give voice to the voiceless in your districts.”

Ms Akuffo said this when she swore in 11 new magistrates in a ceremony in Accra, reminded the Magistrates that human rights issues have been part of every human endeavour.

The magistrates, who were made up of seven females and four males, were selected after undertaking examination and interviews by the Judicial Service.

The Chief Justice reminded the magistrates that their decisions would be subjected to scrutiny by the public and urged them to strive to deliver decisions based on integrity and the law.

Ms Akuffo tasked the newly sworn in Magistrate not to administer justice from “top of their heads. “If the public lose respect in you, you will lose respect.

She said magistrates should seek knowledge from their superiors, the internet and other sources of information to deliver quality decisions as the country expect nothing less from them.

The Chief Justice who presented bibles and Korans as gifts to the Magistrates said the “youth was looking up to them as role models.”

Mr Godfred Yeboa Dame, a deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General said the magistrates should see themselves as “fountain of Justice,” adding, that it calls for exhibition of integrity and respect.

Mr Dame said the judicial oath taken by the Magistrates indicated their commitment to their profession.

Mr Tony Forson, Vice president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) said there was a lot of expectations from the bar and the public, adding that the nations expect that they earn respect and constantly be abreast with the law.

Mr Forson said the constitutional security of their tenure came with limitations adding that their inability to perform their roles as judges or magistrates would lead to their removal.

He said traditionally, judges were unable to speak in their own matters but pledged the GBA commitment to defend any member if the need arise.

Mr Forson however asked the Judicial Council not hesitate to crack the whip if any member erred.

He appealed to the Judiciary also to provide judges and magistrates with the needed resources so they could effectively carry out their mandate.

Mr Justice Victor D. Ofoe, President of the Association of Magistrates and Judges, urged them to abide by their Code of Conduct.

Mr Justice Ofoe appealed to the Magistrates to strive to work hard as efforts were being made by the association to improve on their conditions of service.

Ms Eleanor Kakra Barnes Botchway on behalf of the Magistrates pledged to work hard.

The Magistrates include Samuel Bright Aquah, Eleanor Kakra Barnes Botchway, Rosemary Baah Tosu, Diana Adu-Anane and Ama Hathia Diboro.

The rest are Simon Gaga, Matilda Riberio, Sumaila Mbache Ahmadu and Lily Amoah –Kankam.  

Source: GNA

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