Three High Court judges cited in the judicial bribery exposé done by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, have secured an interim injunction from the ECOWAS Court against their impeachment at home until the international court rules on the matter on 30 May.
Ghana has, thus, been instructed not to take any further measures against the applicants who include Justices Paul Uuter Dery, Habib Logoh and Ayisi Addo.
The instruction was given by the ECOWAS Court at a session held on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 in Bamako, Mali, presided by Justice Yaya Boiro.
The applicants took their case to the ECOWAS Court on grounds that their human rights have been violated by the state.
In an application dated 13 April 2018, the applicants indicated that they had earlier filed a suit for provisional measures (interim measures) pursuant to Article 20 Protocol (A/P1/7/91); Article 79 of the Rules of the CCJ.
They pointed out that: “The defendant (Republic of Ghana) despite the suit in this Court, is proceeding with the impeachment proceedings aimed at terminating the appointment of the applicants/plaintiff.
“The defendant, by letters dated 6 April 2018 to each of the plaintiffs, has ordered the plaintiffs to appear for commencement of impeachment proceedings…”
They, therefore, invoked the authority of the ECOWAS Court to restrain the Republic of Ghana from going ahead further with the impeachment proceedings.
Justice Boiro subsequently granted the application by the plaintiffs to have the Republic of Ghana halt any impeachment proceedings until the case concerning the violation of their human rights have been determined.
Lawyer for the three judges, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, filed an international suit with the Court of Justice of ECOWAS in a joint suit and named the Ghana Government, the Chief Justice of Ghana, the Ghana Judicial Council and the Attorney General of Ghana as the first, second, third and fourth respondents, respectively.
By the suit, the three justices are seeking the following:
• That their human rights have been violated;
• That the Government of Ghana “owes it as a duty to respect and uphold and also ensure that every person within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ghana respects and upholds individual human rights enshrined in the laws mentioned earlier;
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to fair trial and administrative justice;
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination; and
• That the Government of Ghana has violated their rights to work and to privacy.
The judges are also seeking an order from the ECOWAS Court “prohibiting the Government of Ghana from continuing with the impeachment, or prosecution of the applicants based solely on evidence procured in violation of the applicants’ rights to privacy”.
They are further seeking an order from the court to direct the Ghana Government to “pay with interest full salaries and allowances which it unlawfully suspended since January, 2016 – arising out of a petition by Tiger Eye PI/Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ for their removal from office.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a Ghanaian private investigator, presented a petition to then-President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, which he later forwarded to then-Chief Justice of Ghana, Theodora Georgina Wood.
The petition exposed 33 judges of the high and circuit courts and magistrates in video and transcripts – allegedly receiving bribes from agents of Tiger Eye PI, an investigation firm owned by Anas.
Acting upon evidences provided by the video and transcripts, the Supreme Court and the Ghana Judicial Service dismissed a number of high and circuit court judges and magistrates for professional misconduct.
But a few of the indicted judges opted to exercise their human rights by challenging the positions taken by the Ghana Judicial Service on the matter.