Chief Justice advocates special Courts on the environment

Sunyani, Justice Sophia A. B. Akuffo, the Chief Justice, on Monday advocated the establishment of special Courts that would focus on the prosecution of environmental- related cases.

She expressed worry about the rapid destruction of the environment due to illegal logging, mining and other uncontrolled human activities which were rapidly depleting forest resources.

Justice Akuffo made the call when she addressed the opening session of the Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), underway in Sunyani.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo officially opened the five-day conference being attended by the Judges as well as members of the GBA.

It is on the theme “Saving the Future Generation from the Scourge of Corruption and Environmental Degradation – The Role of the Legal Profession”.

The establishments of these Courts, Justice Akuffo said would speed up the prosecution processes and augment the government’s bid to control illegal mining activities in the country.

She emphasised that both the Bar and Bench had collective role to play in the fight against the destruction of the environment and it was required of them to play such respective role in diligence.

But, she cautioned that they should not allow the privileges granted them to create mistrust and breed public disaffection.

Justice Akuffo urged the GBA to observe optimal compliance with the ethics of the legal profession in the course of their constitutional duties.

“It is unfortunate to reflect at the rapidly increasing pace of indiscipline in the legal profession, she said.

Justice Akuffo admitted the justice delivery system was bedeviled with systematic and human challenges, but was quick to add such challenges should not be a yardstick to corrupt the Bar and the Bench.

She emphasised that citizens deserved legal systems easily accessible, cost and time effective in the administration of justice.

Miss Gloria Afua Akuffo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, expressed deep regret about the increasing perception of corruption in the legal profession.

“Corruption is an indictment on our profession'” she said and called on the GBA to act swiftly in addressing the menace which had become the bane of national development.

Describing corruption as the most organised form of crime in the country, Miss Akuffo said the fight against the menace required collective approach among all stakeholders.

She said it was against this background that the government was pursuing the 10-year Anti-Corruption Campaign and asked the GBA to support the course.

Miss Akuffo underscored the importance for the GBA to strengthen its internal security control mechanisms to reduce the opportunities for corruption.

She called on the media, civil society organisations, law enforcement and security agencies to also support the fight against the practice.

Earlier in a welcoming address, Mr. Alfred Tuah Yeboah, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the GBA, expressed the optimism that the participants would take advantage of and visit the numerous tourist attraction sites in the Region.

Source: Ghana News Agency