IBA - Ghana Judiciary and Bar adopt IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact

Ghana Judiciary and Bar adopt IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact

The President of the International Bar Association (IBA) David W Rivkin, Ghana’s Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, members of Ghana’s Judicial Council and leaders of the Ghana Bar Association* have met in Accra for the official signing of the IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact – a document symbolising a unified commitment by the judiciary and members of the legal profession to prevent any corrupt practices from impacting the judicial process, to defend the rule of law and to uphold ethical principles throughout the profession.

From left: Benson Nutsupkui, Ghana Bar President; Dominic Ayine, Deputy Attorney-General; Chief Justice Georgina T Wood; David W Rivkin; Nene Amegatcher, past President Ghana Bar and incoming IBA African Regional Forum co-chair.

Mr Rivkin commented: ‘Against the backdrop of President-elect Nana Akufo-Addo winning Ghana’s recent presidential elections, his stated intent to fight corruption at all levels and to pursue an anti-corruption drive anchored in the rule of law and strict respect for due process, I am delighted that Justice Wood, as the highest member of the judiciary in Ghana, and many other leading members of the Ghana judiciary, as well as the leadership of the Ghana Bar Association, have shown a firm commitment to an institutional fight against corruption by adding their individual signatures to the IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact.’

In a speech at the signing ceremony, Chief Justice Wood said: ‘We must commend the IBA for its instrumental role in developing this Compact Agreement, aimed at mobilizing an army of anti-corruption crusaders in judicial systems the world over. All signatories to this Compact Agreement, namely, Bar Associations, individual judges, lawyers, prosecutors, court personnel etc would be making two important statements by these singular acts. They would be publicly expressing their abhorrence to judicial corruption, while pledging their commitment to avoiding all corrupt conduct and acts of impropriety and at the same time pledging their loyalty to the principles of professional integrity and ethical conduct in their various careers.’

She added: ‘I am happy to report that the Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact Agreement reiterates the fundamental standards and principles that run through our own Code of Conduct. The Compact Agreement is thus not at variance with our Code of Conduct, and will complement the concrete steps we have taken and continue to take in order to minimize judicial corruption if not eliminate it entirely from the system.’

Ghana is the second country to adopt the IBA Judicial Anticorruption Compact, and the first in Africa to do so. Mexico was the first country in August 2016 to pledge to uphold its principles. At the core of the Compact is an individual commitment by all members of the judicial process – judges, lawyers, prosecutors and court administrators – that they will not engage in any form of corrupt activity, that they will report any instances of corrupt activity of which they become aware, and that they will work to reinforce an impartial and independent judiciary separate from other branches of government.

Mr Rivkin has held in-country discussions with lawyers, judges and prosecutors in a number of jurisdictions – including Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore – on how better to promote integrity in the administration of justice; how to assist lawyers to more thoroughly understand the nature of corruption in their respective jurisdictions; and how to think and act when they are confronted with corruption in their dealings with the judiciary.  The IBA Judicial Anticorruption Compact is one of several current projects of the IBA Judicial Integrity Initiative, which Mr Rivkin initiated during his IBA Presidency.  Other projects include a survey of national anticorruption laws to determine if they adequately cover forms of corruption in the judiciary; working with the IBA’s bar association and law society members to enhance their ability to investigate and sanction corrupt conduct by their members; investigating the establishment of standards to certify whether judicial systems have sufficient protections in place to avoid corruption; and a case study of best practices in investigating judicial corruption.

On 27 May 2016, the IBA, in partnership with the Basel Institute on Governance, published The International Bar Association Judicial Integrity Initiative: Judicial Systems and Corruption. It contains the results of a global survey that shows bribery and undue political influence as the two most frequently reported forms of corruption observed in judicial systems. The typology study also detailed how and when corrupt practices arise – involving lawyers and members of the judiciary – as well as the most effective practices for reducing judicial corruption to have been implemented in different countries to date. The report is available to download free of charge from the IBA website at tinyurl.com/j2tmocn.

Mr Rivkin reiterated earlier comments, that: ‘Judicial corruption is a problem on every continent. Wherever it exists it is impossible to eliminate corruption in other aspects of government. The effects are far reaching and destabilising; undermining the rule of law and causing citizens to lose faith in the ability of government to assist them. Unless a judiciary is corruption-free, all of the other efforts to prosecute and eliminate corruption cannot succeed.’

He concluded: ‘Raising awareness of the legal consequences of judicial corruption, combatting it through practical actions and promoting the highest standards of integrity among judges, prosecutors, court personnel and lawyers are duties for all in the legal profession.’

In her closing remarks Chief Justice Wood stated: ‘The judiciary and the legal profession of Ghana must demonstrate a clear commitment to creating a conducive business friendly environment, a potential for attracting Foreign Direct Investments.  This is what makes today’s ceremony seminal.’

Ghana signed the IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact on Wednesday 21 December 2016 in the conference room of the Lady Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood at the High Street, Accra, Ghana.

ENDS

 

To interview Mr Rivkin during his visit to Accra, contact Nene Amegatcher at: ameg@senachambers.com

Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to read the speech in full by The Honourable Lady Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood. Also available here: tinyurl.com/h6shfyj

  2. Click here to view the signed IBA Judicial Anti-Corruption Compact. Also available at: tinyurl.com/gvwxrk9

  3. *Distinguished personalities present at the signing were:
    • The Honorable Lady Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana
    • Dominic Ayine Deputy Attorney-General
    • Justice Jones Dots Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana
    • Benson Nutsukpui National President, Ghana Bar Association
    • Sam Okudzeto Past President, Ghana Bar Association and Honorary Life Member of the IBA
    • Nene Amegatcher Immediate Past President, Ghana Bar Association and Incoming Co-Chair, Africa Forum, IBA
    • Tony Forson Vice President, Ghana Bar Association
    • Mrs Efua Ghartey President, Greater Accra Regional Bar, Ghana Bar Association
    • Mrs Yvonne Obuobisa Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney-General’s Department, Ghana
    • Mrs Helen Ziwu Solicitor-General, Attorney-General’s Department, Ghana
    • Justice Victor Ofoe President, Association of Magistrates and Judges, Ghana
    • Justice Alex Poku-Akyeampong Judicial Secretary, Ghana
    • Justice Samuel Kanyoke Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Justice Kyei Bafour Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Professor Seth Ayettey Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Dr Samuel Asante Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Ambassador Victor Gbeho Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Brigadier-General Eden Fiawoo Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Mr Ohene Kena Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Miss Joyce Oku Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Mrs Eileen Odartei-Laryea Member, Judicial Council of Ghana
    • Several Judges and Magistrates and Staff of the Judicial Service

  4. Related topic: The IBA Judicial Integrity Initiative
    Launched in January 2015 by IBA President, David W Rivkin, the overall goal of the Initiative and its relevance to society is the improvement of the level of integrity in the judiciary. The Initiative focuses on the role of legal professionals in the judiciary and utilises the resources and experience of the IBA’s global membership of lawyers and bar associations. For more information visit: www.ibanet.org/Legal_Projects_Team/judicialintegrityinitiative.aspx

  5. Related topic: The Anti-corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession
    This is a joint project of the International Bar Association (IBA), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which focuses on the role lawyers play in combatting international corruption, with particular attention on the relevance of international compliance. As part of this Strategy, the IBA conducts worldwide in-country workshops for senior-level private practitioners of law firms particularly involved in business transactions. Click here for further information (anticorruptionstrategy.org/Default.aspx).

  6. David W Rivkin is a partner at law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. His presidency of the IBA runs for the two calendar years 2015 and 2016. Click here to download a short bio from the IBA website.

  7. The International Bar Association (IBA), established in 1947, is the world's leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Through its global membership of individual lawyers, law firms, bar associations and law societies it influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA's administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association's International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

    The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

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IBA website page link for this news release:

Short link: tinyurl.com/gvkscm6
Full link: www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=17758c13-d2b9-48cb-844a-80ba8578d309