She condemned some legal luminaries in the country for resorting to the media to whip up emotions, incite hatred and public ridicule against members of the judiciary on matters before court rather than using the legal avenues and processes available to seek redress.
This, Mrs. Wood said, was a threat to the rule of law and the democratic gains of the country and urged professionals to avoid pitching their clients and political allies against the established judiciary system, especially during this electioneering period.
“Let us eschew acts bound to jeopardise our democratisation process and erode the sacrifices and gains the judiciary have made so far”, she stressed.
The Chief Justice Wood made these remarks at the 2016/2017 Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) on the theme “The role of the legal profession in sustaining peace and rule of law before, during and after the 2016 elections”.
Mrs. Wood indicated that the General Legal Council was in the process of making continuing professional development a condition precedent to renewal of practitioner’s licence to encourage members to undertake continuous capacity building programmes.
Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS) called for the activation of a national peace framework that would be responsible for peace building and quick resolution of conflicts.
He urged the authorities to invest in the regional and district peace committees to empower them to address conflicts.
To reduce rising political tension, the UN envoy urged for an alliance between the Peace Council and media watchdog organisations to publicly name and shame political actors and commentators involved in the use of inflammatory language.
Dr. Chambas urged the Judiciary to quickly resolve electoral concerns raised by political parties and actors to prevent violence and disturbances.
He noted that the UN was committed to the prevention of electoral conflicts, and urged legal practitioners to help in transforming elections from verbal attacks to issue-based one.
Professor Akua kuenyehia, former Judge and Vice President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urged members of the Bar to join in educating the public on electoral processes to reduce the flaws recorded during elections.
She advised the members to support the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in educating the public on their roles and responsibilities.
The president of GBA, Mr. Benson Nutsukpui, indicated that this year’s theme for the general conference was to assist all legal professionals to reflect on, identify and effectively implement the roles expected of members to make the December polls a success.
From Claude Nyarko Adams, Ada