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Asso. Of Ghanaian-based US Lawyers React To Bawku Brutalities
 
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25-Dec-2009  
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One of the victims of the Military brutalities in Bawku.
 
 
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The Association of Ghanaian Lawyers of America (AGLA) has learned with shock the cruel and inhuman treatment some personnel of the Ghana Military Service recently meted out to residents of Bawku. Two of the victims reported to be teachers in the area have been thoroughly humiliated by the egregious conduct of the military personnel deployed to the area to quell renewed violence in the region.

AGLA is astounded at this conduct, now memorialized in grotesque photographs of persons being forcibly paraded naked on the streets of Bawku, one with a gun stuck in his mouth. These photographs are circulating freely on the internet and social networking sites. The world’s conscience is shocked. Even more shocking are the attempts to cover up the army’s unprofessional conduct with implausible explanations. The result has been a terribly tarnished image of our otherwise internationally acknowledged professional men and women in uniform and, by extension, our country. Their conduct is incongruous with Ghana’s ideals and its newfound image.

As if these acts and the cover-up attempts were not bad enough, the minister of state responsible for the area is quoted to have suggested that perhaps this treatment is preferable to murder and hence, it is justified as it is not the worst form of punishment. AGLA strongly disagrees with the treatment given to these Ghanaians and the minister’s position.

The humiliation suffered by these victims may be worse than murder. However we posture it, one thing is clear: no person deserves to be disrespected and demeaned in this manner and under any circumstance. In more civilized societies, such conduct will immediately trigger an investigation and resignations including the minister who made that ridiculous statement and those who failed to safeguard the rights of these individuals. We ask no less of our country and its leaders. While we concede to the inflammatory nature of the Bawku crisis and how troubling it has been for our country, we cannot make exceptions for how any person can be singled out for such inhumane treatment on account of the conflict. Members of our military who carried out these brutalities acted in an unwarranted, unprofessional and unconstitutional manner, plain and simple. Their actions must be condemned unconditionally and an internal investigation instituted to nip repetition of such conduct in the bud.

As a professional organization, we ask that the military itself move quickly to salvage its image by exhibiting strong leadership in line with its own ethics and regulations even before the president or government gets involved. By regulating itself the military will assure the public of its ability to discipline its members and set an example for future conduct. Needless to say, its finding must be made public and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly. To those who have been violated, we strongly urge them to utilize our courts to elicit justice. And, to civil society, we solicit genuine outrage and ask that our voices be heard echoing the choice Ghanaians made to pursue a democratic system of governance in 1992. It is important that our democracy is protected through the exercise of individual’s rights. Such rights include challenging perceived untouchables who might otherwise get away with their acts of brutality in our courts.

It is AGLA’s position that government officials must begin to appreciate the fiduciary duty of their offices to the people of Ghana and align their actions and pronouncements accordingly with those whom they are supposed to serve. It is time to redefine leadership as service in order to move our country forward. Acts of violence such as these are an abuse of power and must not be tolerated regardless of whom such violence is directed against.

Ghana’s newfound image as a decent oasis of peace in a largely troubled region of the world cannot afford the prolonged crisis in Bawku and other hot spots. The sporadic conflicts must be mediated and peace must prevail. But, it engenders despair when the institutions we have entrusted to help parse out reason from violence fail us, too, by reacting unprofessionally to an already volatile situation. We cannot accept the notion that this reaction is commensurate to the violence that exists in Bawku. Our law courts and institutions can be utilized to reach settlements. At the very least, this is the choice that we proclaimed when we opted for democracy. AGLA, therefore, asks the military to act now. With regard to the minister, we are certain that he will do the right thing as, in fact, he appears to have has lost his edge to lead. We leave it to his better judgment.
 



"About AGLA"

About the Association of Ghana Lawyers of America The Association of Ghanaian Lawyers of America is incorporated in New York as a domestic-not-for-profit organization and is established for the purposes of facilitating and improving the administration of justice both in Ghana and in the United States of America; serving the needs of members of the Ghanaian and American communities as a whole in their understanding of and access to law and the courts; and educating and assisting member attorneys and promoting the spirit of collegiality among the members thereof.

For more information see: www.ghanalawyersusa.com.

CONTACT:

Kwaku Boafoh Agyeman, Esq.

President, AGLA

Tel: (973) 821-5377

E-mail:[email protected]

Website: www.ghanalawyersusa.com

 
 
Source: Ghanaweb
 
 

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