By Ivy Benson
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has reiterated its call for the public to respect the offices of the President, Vice President, Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice, to ensure a sound democratic society.
Speaking at an annual Bar Press Conference in Accra yesterday, the President of the GBA, Mr. Frank W.K. Beecham, noted that unwarranted attacks on the President, Vice President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice as well as political leaders should not be encouraged, but strongly condemned.
According to the Bar, unsavory words used on people who occupy these offices do not “match our status as a civilized nation that seeks honour and good conduct in all persons, especially our leaders.
Ghana has seemingly become a country whose highest office holders are always under a barrage of insults from opposing persons, as they go on with their assigned duties of governance and enhancing the rule of law within the society.
The GBA has in no uncertain term condemned such behaviours, since it does to place the country in a good light, among other countries around the globe.
The press conference was called to officially announce resolutions passed by the GBA at its Annual Conference held in Elmina in the Central Region recently on the theme, -‘The judiciary, the Rule of Law and National Development.’ The current officers of the association were retained for the 2011/2012 legal session.
The National Executives of the Bar Association include Mr. Frank W.K. Beecham, President, Justice Kusi-Minkah Premo, Vice President, Peter R. Zwennes, Secretary, and Kwabena Asante-Krobea, Assistant Secretary.
The rest are Ms. Nancy Ampofo, National Treasurer, Anthony Forson, Jnr., National Publicity Officer and Mrs. Yaa Gyakobo, Assistant Publicity Officer.
The GBA further resolved that the members of the association abstain from defamatory and unsubstantiated attacks on judges, when dissatisfied with their decisions in cases before them.
The GBA President pointed out that some four lawyers, who impugned corruption on the judiciary had not been blacklisted, adding that the lawyers appear in court.
“None of the lawyers has been blacklisted”, the GBA President emphasized, as journalists enquired what had become of the members of the association who were banned from appearing before any judge, until they substantiate their allegations of corruption they made against the judiciary.
He was also of the view that the new legal year would be used to correct the short falls in the ethics of members of the Bar, as the GBA condemned the situation where lawyers argue and fight their cases in the media.
This attitude, the GBA noted, was not ethical and called on legal practitioners to use appropriate legal processes to solve their grievances in respect of decisions made by the courts. However, the association has indicated it s resolve to strongly resist anybody who attempts to gag any citizen, including law practitioners, from expressing their views on issues.
The association also resolved to work in harmony with the Bench, in maintaining and promoting the rule of law, as it worked towards strengthening a committee charged with monitoring the performance of the Bench. The association further agreed to fight against all forms of corruption in the country, especially, in justice delivery system and work with the judiciary to eliminate the canker.
It was the view of the GBA that the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system be made autonomous from government, so as to instill public confidence in its independence and impartiality. As a matter of fact, the GBA requested the Chief Justice to examine the system where HFC Bank collects monies on behalf of the judiciary and make it less cumbersome, in issues concerning retrieving money, as well as charges by clients.
It also encouraged its members to devote their time in engaging in Legal Aid Services, to help the poor in accessing justice in the communities. With the introduction of biometric register by the Electoral Commission (EC) for the 2012 general election, the GBA is pleased with the innovation, but called on the commission to ensure proper validation of the electoral register, and solve all concerns with stakeholders to promote free, fair and transparent elections.
On the international front, as it congratulates South Sudan in attaining political independence and statehood, the GBA requested the African Union (AU) to vigorously protect and defend the democratic rights of the people of Africa at all times, and to desist from shielding tyrannical regimes, in order to assume relevance in the desire of people of the Continent.
It further called for the fast implementation of the pronouncement made by the government of Cote d’Ivoire, to adopt concrete steps in reconciling and strengthening the various organs of government an protect the rights of the people of the war ravaged country.