The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has condemned Thursday's attack on a Kumasi Circuit court by members of the Delta Force, a political vigilante group aligned to the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
A statement issued and signed by Mr Benson Nustukpui and Mr Justin Amenuvor, President and National Secretary, the GBA said: "It is sickening and horrifying to watch the said videos of persons using violence as a means to defy the Court’s orders."
The GBA "condemns in no uncertain terms this blatant disregard for the orders of a duly constituted court of law and attack on the judge in the discharge of her lawful duties. This is an affront to the independence of the Judiciary and an attack on the rule of law."
Some members of the group stormed the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Circuit Court to free 13 of their colleagues who had been arraigned for forcibly throwing the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator out of office last month.
Below is a copy of the full statement
GHANA BAR ASSOCIATION’S STATEMENT ON THE “DELTA FORCE” ATTACK ON THE KUMASI CIRCUIT COURT AND FREEING ITS MEMBERS ON 6th APRIL 2017
The Ghana Bar Association is shocked and horrified at the news item and video recordings which have gone viral alleging that members of the supposed “Delta Force” have attacked the Circuit court in Kumasi earlier today after the Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Mary Senkyere had reportedly ordered the thirteen (13) persons who were charged with the offence on conspiracy to commit crime, assault on a public officer, causing unlawful damage and preventing a public officer from doing his lawful duty, to be remanded in custody and re-appear on the 20th day of April 2017.
The 13 persons who the Circuit Court ordered to be remanded in custody were said to have been taken away by the members of the alleged “Delta Force” in clear disobedience of the Court’s order.
The report further stated that the few police personnel present did their best to protect the Judge whilst the alleged members of the “Delta Force” destroyed some court property.
The GBA condemns in no uncertain terms this blatant disregard for the orders of a duly constituted court of law and attack on the judge in the discharge of her lawful duties. This is an affront to the independence of the Judiciary and an attack on the rule of law.
Such glorification of violence, dastardly acts and threat to our Judiciary cannot be tolerated or allowed under our democratic dispensation.
It is totally unacceptable under whatever pretence to disobey orders of the court, attack or threaten to attack the person of the judge thereby endangering the peace of our country.
The GBA notes that any system that allows an individual, group of persons or institutions to disobey orders made by a court of competent jurisdiction with impunity undermines the independence of the judiciary, creates room for anarchy, chaos and lawlessness. This certainly has no place under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
We therefore call on the Inspector-General of Police to immediately re-arrest the 13 persons ordered to be remanded, cause a thorough investigation of the incident to ensure that all persons who played any role whatsoever in the attack on the court are arrested, duly charged and prosecuted.
We also call on the Minister of Interior to as a matter of urgency take steps to ensure the immediate disbandment of the “Delta Force” and all other vigilante groups that have sprung up in our country.
We call on all well meaning Ghanaians to condemn this resort to violence in flagrant disobedience of court orders.
The Bar wishes finally to emphasize that an independent judiciary is the backbone of the rule of law. A judiciary that is protected against all forms of intimidation and interference is the key to securing judicial independence and the freedoms of the citizenry.
We should therefore not, in any circumstance, countenance any attack whatsoever on the courts and the Judiciary as a whole for that matter.
ISSUED IN ACCRA, THIS 6th DAY OF APRIL 2017