1982 judge murders, violence: Rawlings must apologize – Sam Okudzeto
A Member of the Council of State and lawyer, Sam Okudzeto has insisted that former President Jerry Rawlings should apologize for the “mess” that ensued following the mysterious deaths of three prominent Ghanaian judges and a retired army officer in 1982.
“There was absolute lawlessness in the country,” Okudzeto told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday. “The best thing you can do for your country is to always follow the rule of law.”
On Tuesday evening, Joy News aired the much-anticipated documentary “Who Killed the Judges,” a 90-minute film detailing the brutal murders of Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow, Justice F.P. Sarkodie, Justice K.A. Agyepong and Major Sam Acquah.
In the documentary, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah (retd) recounts audio recordings of a man claiming that the the top ranks of Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) ordered for the killing of the judges. In the recordings that have since been released, one of those convicted and shot for the murders, Joaquin Amartey Kwei is heard repeatedly crying, “I have done a wrongful act. I have done a wrongful act,” adding that, “I carried out the instructions that were given to me.”
Sam Okudzeto, who practised law at the time of the killings, admitted that “I cannot say that Jerry Rawlings was the one who ordered the murders.”
He did, however, state that neither politics nor parties should cloud the judicial system. Following the judges’ deaths on June 30, the nation has proclaimed as Martyrs Day. That day, he said, should serve as a reminder for judges to remain resolute in their quest for justice.
“It is also a reminder to lawyers that it is not just judges, but we are all a part of the judicial process. We are God’s instruments to justice and law. That is our responsibility and we should never relegate from that.”
He also advised that Ghanaians – here and abroad – must be held accountable for understanding their history so that “it does not repeat itself.”
Quoting a verse in the Bible, he forewarned that “lack of knowledge will cause people to perish.”
He continued: The murders were “evil and heinous. We must remind ourselves that these judges were collected from their homes and murdered because they were doing their jobs.”