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The United Nations Environmental Programme, in conjunction with the South African Judicial Education Institute, has appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Ghana, His Lordship Justice Dennis Adjei, as the Chairman for the United Nations Environmental Programme for Environmental Law Training in the Judiciaries of Africa.
His appointment came at the end a three-day Colloquium on Integrating Environmental Law into Judiciaries in Africa held in South Africa. The colloquium discussed the impact of human activities on the environment and how to integrate environmental law into the curricula of Judicial Training institutions in Africa.
The Judicial Service of Ghana has inaugurated a new court building for the District Court in Weija. Prior to its construction, the court operated from rented premises paid for by the Ga South Municipal Assembly.
The new court building which was constructed by the Ga South Municipal Assembly in fulfillment of its mandate under the Local Government Act, was funded by the World Bank under its Urban Development Plan at an estimated cost of GH₵ 916,217.05. The building has two courtrooms, offices for Judges, a Lawyer/Client room, a prosecution office as well as male and female cells.
The Hon. Lady Chief Justice, Georgina T. Wood, has commended the success of the Justice for All Programme since its inception in September, 2007. According to her, out of a total number of 3,293 inmates who have appeared before the ‘Justice For All Courts’, 672 have been discharged while 985 have been granted bail and 135 convicted.
Chief Justice Wood was speaking at the maiden stakeholders’ workshop on the Justice for All Programme organized by the Judicial Service in Accra, under the theme ‘Justice for all; Strengths, Weaknesses and the way forward’. The Hon. Lady Chief Justice said she was privileged to be present at its maiden sitting held at the James Fort Prison on 27th September 2007. “It was hugely successful and as I speak, I do recollect the joy on the faces of those beneficiaries at the time”, she said.
The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, has sworn in Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President of the Republic of Ghana. Nana Akufo-Addo took the Presidential Oath and the Oath of Allegiance which were administered by the Chief Justice. The colourful event held at the Black Star Square in Accra, saw Nana Akufo-Addo inaugurated as the Fifth President under the Fourth Republican Constitution.
At the same ceremony, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was sworn in as Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. Dr. Bawumia becomes the Sixth Vice President under the Fourth Republican Constitution. The Chief Justice administered the Vice Presidential Oath and the Oath of Allegiance to Dr. Bawumia.
The court rooms of the Supreme Court and the Civil and the Criminal Divisions of the Court of Appeal have been re-opened for business, following their closure in September last year for renovation works.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Hon. Lady Chief Justice said the Supreme Court Building had not witnessed any interior renovation since its inauguration in 1929. She stressed, “although the building was architecturally pleasing and structurally sound, its cold and drab simple interior design had worn out extremely thin, and fallen abysmally short of the minimum standards for 21st Century Supreme Courts the world over”.
A Justice of the Supreme Court, His Lordship Justice Joseph Bawa Akamba, who is proceeding on retirement this year after forty years of service, has been honoured by the Judicial Service at a ceremony in Accra. The Hon. Lady Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood, in presenting Justice Joseph B. Akamba with a plaque and an accompanying citation thanked him for his commitment and selfless dedication to his judicial and non-judicial functions. She described Justice Akamba as a man of integrity, sincerity and hard work. She said “Justice Akamba has over the years served the Judiciary and the good people of this country selflessly. We therefore have to show our appreciation and honour him”.
The Judiciary of Ghana has signed a ‘Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact’ with the International Bar Association (IBA) to enhance judicial integrity and support the fight against corruption at all levels of the justice system in Ghana. The Compact was signed at a brief ceremony at the Conference room, Administration Block in Accra.
The Hon. Lady Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood, was happy that Ghana was the first African country to commit to the Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact. She commended the IBA for initiating the Compact which seeks to mobilise an army of anti-corruption crusaders in judicial systems the world over. She stated that all signatories to the Compact Agreement which include Bar Associations, individual Judges, Lawyers, and Court personnel, would be publicly expressing their abhorrence to judicial corruption and pledging their commitment to avoid all corrupt conduct and acts of impropriety.
The Communications Department of the Judicial Service, has organised a training programme for journalists who report from the Courts in nine regions. With funding from DANIDA, the training programme aimed at equipping them with the requisite skills and knowledge to accurately report on happenings in Court with emphasis on Election Petition Reportage.The two-day training, held consecutively in the regional capitals, saw more than 400 journalists from the Greater Accra, Western, Central, Volta, Eastern, Ashanti, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions participating. Participants were taken through Legal Terminologies and Court room Etiquette, the Mandate of the Judiciary as the third arm of Government, what constitutes Contempt of Court, types of Contempt, in relation to the media, as well as Press Freedom and Responsible Journalism.