From left to right- Justice Akua Kuenyehia, Dr. Josephine Dawuni, Justice Mariama Owusu and Justice Sophia Akuffo.Two of Ghana's esteemed judges have urged their female colleagues in Ghana to build credentials that will meet the criteria and expectations at international courts.
Her Excellence Justice Akua Kuenyehia, a former judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague and Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akuffo, a current Supreme Court judge of Ghana and former judge and president of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR) based in Arusha, believe that is the only way Ghanaian female judges can take up appointments at the international level when they are available.
The two made the call at a conference dubbed “Women Judges Demystifying International Courts” organised by the Institute for African Women in Law (IAWL).
The conference was in conjunction with the Ghana chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), in Accra.
Delivering a speech as one of the guest speakers at the event which had a heavy presence of women judges, Justice Kuenyehia shared her international experiences with the participants and the numerous benefits of being part of the ICC.
She also challenged all female judges in the country to embrace the opportunity to improve their judicial knowledge, adding that there is no age restriction to serving as a judge on the ICC.
Justice Sophia Akuffo, on her part, recounted the work she and other judges had to do to build the newly established African Court in 2006.
She was of the opinion that national governments across Africa needed to do more to meet the gender balance requirement contained in the Article 12 (2) of the Protocol Establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights establishing the African Court. This, she said needed to be addressed considering that consistently, only 2 out of 11 (18%) of the total number of judges on the court have been women.
A Professor at Howard University in the USA and the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for African Women Dr. Josephine J. Dawuni, pointed out that African women judges are making giant strides in international law and justice and shared her research findings with the conference attendees.
She advised prospective candidates to research on past and present women judges on international courts in order to enable them to gain more knowledge on the needed qualifications to apply for such positions.
Another judge of the Court of Appeal and current President of the IAWJ-Gh, Justice Mariama Owusu, thanked the invited speakers for sharing their experiences and providing the much needed mentoring opportunities for other women judges.
The event was chaired by Justice Rose Owusu, a retired Supreme Court judge and in attendance were Justice Harriet Abban, a retired Court of Appeal judge and female judges drawn from all levels of the judiciary.
Dr. Josephine Dawuni speaking to the judges.
Cross section of the judges at the event
From left to right- Justice Akua Kuenyehia, Dr. Josephine Dawuni, Justice Mariama Owusu and Justice Sophia Akuffo.