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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kofi Adams goofs badly

Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams
Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams
Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Kofi Adams has added his voice to ongoing harsh calls on the judiciary to purge itself of perceived corruption and political bias.

The NDC deputy general secretary's appraisal of the judiciary comes on the heels of recent attacks by his party's national chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adgyei on the bench as well as the Chief Justice, Madam Georgina Wood.

Mr. Adams, an avowed critic of the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration yesterday introduced a completely new angle to the ongoing debate when he stated categorically that the United States of America(USA) signed a non-surrender agreement with the Government of Ghana(GoG) because the former lacked confidence in the country's judicial system at the time.

He told this reporter after making similar comments on Asempa FM in a telephone conversation that "the NPP administration signed a non surrender treaty with the US authority that their citizens when arrested should not be put before our courts because they do not have confidence in our courts, if they are confident they will not say we should not put their citizens before our courts"

The NDC guru who misguidedly referred to the Bilateral Immunity Agreements "between the GoG and the US regarding the surrender of offenders to the International Criminal Court to build- his case, added that "we've had governments since independence and since the inception of the 1992 constitution why did they sign this agreement under President Kufuor to protect their citizens who come here".

It will be recalled that Parliament on 30th October 2003 with a vote of 101 in favour and 53 against voted for the ratification of the said bilateral agreement, a development which. Mr. Adams said he was unaware of.

A former Minister for Foreign Affairs in the NPP administration Mr. Akwasi Osei Adgyei who threw more light on the agreement said the NDC chairman's assertions were completely far from the truth.

He explained that "the objective of this agreement is the establishment of a legal relationship between Ghana and the United States of America under which US military and civilian personnel suspected of committing international crime on the land of member states will not be turned over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or in other words, will enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the ICC"

"This has nothing to with judicial corruption or the judiciary in this country, the agreement went to Parliament and we were all here", he added.

He continued that the US negotiates the agreement in order to give its citizens protection against unwarranted and politically motivated prosecutions.

To strengthen its position on the issue the US Congress in 2001 passed the American Service Members Protection Act introducing a sanction regime that compels the US Administration to suspend all forms of military assistance to countries refusing or failing to sign the Agreement by July 2003, and extended to October 2003.

Against this backdrop, the former Minister said "Ghana stands to benefit by ratifying the bilateral Agreement especially with military assistance to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF)".

When Mr. Adams was asked during the telephone chat whether he was aware of the fact that the agreement was ratified by Parliament, he answered "I don't know whether it was signed, I can't remember the year but you can call President Kufuor and ask him"

He reaffirmed his party's position that the judiciary needed some measure of cleansing, saying that " they themselves (judges) have been saying that there is an internal house cleaning going on, if there is no corruption why the house cleaning? As a political party with majority representation we need to comment on such issues when the need arises"

The US government has been approaching countries around the world seeking to conclude Bilateral Immunity Agreements, purportedly based on Article 98 of the Rome Statute, excluding its citizens and military personnel from the jurisdiction of the Court. These agreements prohibit the surrender to the ICC of a broad scope of persons in chiding current or former government officials, military personnel, and US employees (including contractors) and nationals.

Source: Daily Guide

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