A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Jones Dotse has described as an “insult of the highest order” a presentation made by law Professor, Raymond Atuguba, which sought to create a link between voting trends by judges of the Supreme Court and the political party that appointed them into office.
Presenting his findings at the 2018 Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law Conference in Accra on Thursday, 15 February 2018, Prof Atuguba explained that the research was based on hundred political cases in Ghana adding “it is not a coincidence”.
“Judges were voting less according to who appointed them at the beginning of the Fourth republic in 1993. A number of reasons accounted for that. First, we had a new constitution and some of the cases were very clear. So a lot of them will give unanimous judgments, so whether you were appointed by an NDC government or NPP government, you joined the unanimous decision in saying that this provision of this law is contrary to the constitution. Then in the middle, somehow the Supreme Court lost its way after the first years and the judgments started becoming clearly on the lines of party appointments,” he explained.
He continued: “Overall, the data reveals that 14 out of 22 NDC (National Democratic Congress) appointees, making up 64 percent of the party’s appointees to the Supreme Court have given judgments in favour of the NDC. The NPP (New Patriotic Party) was more successful with 13 of their 16 judges giving a majority judgment in their favour, so 81 percent consistency”.
However, Justice Dotse who was also at the same programme maintains Prof Atuguba is entitled to his views. However, they will study the findings thoroughly.
“You are entitled to your views but I thought that when we meet, and this gathering is essentially Justices of the Superior Court and you come, we are assembled here, and you drum this into our ears. I think it is an insult of the highest order but as judges and academics I think we accept it, we will look at your entire presentation on context,” he noted.
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo also told Prof Atuguba to be cautious as that kind of research is foreign to Ghana.
“It is an American type of research that you have done…that’s fine, but please be careful what you are importing into our environment.
“They [Americans] are used to that, we are not. I don’t think there was a single judge who agreed with what you were saying,” she said.