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JusticeGhana Looks at the Ups and Downs of 2013

year review

Photo ReportingThe Ups and Downs of the Year 2013

Hello, Many Thanks and Welcome to JusticeGhana- and to have time and insight into what in our humble opinion, we saw as the major ups and downs of the year 2013. We begin as follows:

JANUARY

POLITICS (07 Jan)-John Mahama sworn in as President amid Legal Protest- The incumbent President of Ghana and the leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress John Dramani Mahama; was sworn in as President in line with the presidential election result of 07 and 08 December 2012 polls in which on 9 December 2012, the Chairman of the Ghana Electoral Commission- Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan declared him as winner and president-elect of Ghana. The declaration was gazetted by the Declaration of President-elect Instrument 2012 (CI 80) on 11 December 2012. Notwithstanding this, the main opposition leader of New Patriotic Party (NPP)- Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; his running mate- Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and the NPP Chairman- Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, on 28 December 2012, lodged at the Supreme Court, a petition challenging the validity of the outcome of the presidential result. The reason being that there were evidential proofs suggesting irregularities tallied during the elections that favoured the NDC. And that 24,000 of the pink sheets results from some polling stations showed that those anomalies were enough to affect the results. At this inauguration attended by the Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, Ex-Presidents Rawlings and Kufuor, foreign heads of state, diplomats and people of all walks of life, the all-white-dressed John Mamaha paid a glowing tribute to such forefathers and foremothers as Nana Yaa Asantewaa; Naa Gbewa, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah; Dr. J.B. Danquah; Efua Sutherland, Dr. James Kwegyir Aggrey; Drs. Esther Afua Ocloo and Ephraim Koku Amu, whom the new leader said are firmly etched in the world’s memory. JusticeGhana might have misconstrued this citation as a hung on the founding-father’s debate.

Images of the monkey being prepared for lift-off were shown on Iranian televisionSCIENCE(BBC, 28 January):Iran 'successfully sends monkey into space'- Iranian state TV showed images of the monkey, which was strapped into a harness, being taken to the rocket. According to the BBC report, Western nations have expressed concern that Iran's space programme is being used to develop long-range missiles. The primate, in the words of the Iranian defence ministry travelled in a Pishgam rocket, which reached an altitude of some 120km (75 miles) for a sub-orbital flight before "returning its shipment intact". “In 2010, Iran successfully sent a rat, turtle and worms into space. But an attempt to send a monkey up in a rocket failed in 2011. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced in 2010 that the country planned to send a man into space by 2019. A domestically-made satellite was sent into orbit for the first time in 2009.”

FEBRUARY

Photo ReportingRELIGION: Benedict delivers last Sunday papal blessing- Pope Benedict XVI delivered his last Sunday address to crowds in St. Peter's Square before his abdication. Police estimated that 100,000 people packed the Vatican City's public plaza to hear the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics deliver his final noon Sunday Angelus blessing in various languages from his Vatican apartment window. Flags in the crowd represented many nations, with a large number from Brazil. The 85-year-old pontiff told Sunday's crowd that he would continue to serve the church "in a way that is more commensurate to my age and my strength". "But this does not mean abandoning the Church, on the contrary," Benedict added. "The Lord is calling me to climb onto the mountain, to dedicate myself even more to prayer and meditation," he said to cheers of "Long Live the Pope." Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone - who occupies a post known as the "Camerlengo Cardinal" (Chamberlain Cardinal) - will take over... (ipj/slk (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa) Date 24.02.2013)

Photo ReportingINTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: UN Security Council condemns North Korean nuclear test- All 15 members of the United Nations Security Council approved a press statement criticizing a North Korean nuclear test as "a clear threat to international peace and security " and violation of existing UN resolutions. "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolutions," South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, whose country chairs the council, told reporters after the meeting in New York. The written document called the test "a clear threat to international peace and security," and also alluded to a January meeting, convened to discuss a successful satellite launch by North Korea that much of the international community considered to be a disguised ballistic missile test. Then, the council said it would take "significant action" in the event of a third North Korean nuclear test. "In line with this commitment the SC said it will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a SC resolution," Tuesday's statement said. North Korea's official KCNA news agency "confirmed that the nuclear test was carried out at a high level in a safe and perfect manner using a miniaturized and lighter nuclear device with greater explosive force than previously, and did not pose any negative impact on the surrounding ecological environment," KCNA said. (msh/jlw, AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters, 12 February)

MARCH

Photo Reporting: Kenyan Election HearingKENYAN ELECTIONS: Kenyan election results 'doctored', say Raila Odinga supporters. The political coalition led by Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, said on Thursday that the vote-tallying process now under way to determine the winner of the country's presidential election "lacks integrity" and should be stopped, and alleged that some vote results had been doctored. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta had a substantial lead over Odinga by Thursday evening. Kenyatta had more than 3.1m votes while Odinga had almost 2.6m, although fewer than half of the polling stations had been tabulated. The election commission chairman, Isaak Hassan, said he had not seen any case where the total valid votes exceeded the number of registered voters. (The Guardian /AP, 07/3/13)

Photo ReportingOBITUARY/TRIBUTES: African literary giant Chinua Achebe dies- Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe was reported dead in the United States at the age of 82. He is widely regarded as the grandfather of modern African literature. The career of famed Nigerian author Chinua Achebe spanned more than half a century. The announcement of his death at the age of 82 prompted an immediate flood of tributes from Africa and beyond. “Achebe's first novel "Things Fall Apart", which was published in 1958, was translated into dozens of languages and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide,” the report adds. (Deutsche Welle, 22/03/2013)

Photo ReportingCHARITY/DIPLOMACY (Mar 26): Prez Mahama Receives Bill Gates At Flagstaff House- Bill Gates of the Microsoft fame arrived in Ghana for a two-day working visit to familairise himself with his Foundation’s projects and to participate in the immunization tour. According to GNA report, President John Mahama said that the support from the Bill Gates’ Foundation had helped to boost the nutritional needs of children and increase school enrolment, making Ghana reach the universal enrolment level. On malaria, President Mahama was quoted as stating that his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was using new methods of tackling the malaria parasite by the use of Bio Lavaesite to supplement the existing methods. Bill Gates was reported to have said he was in the country to observe Ghana's healthcare system and the need to replicate it elsewhere and promised to partner with Ghana to ensure that the health needs of the people are met in the coming years.

Photo ReportingTERRORISM: Cleric linked to 9/11 dodges deportation in Britain- Britain's Court of Appeal thwarted the government's efforts to deport Abu Qatada, a radical Islamist cleric who is wanted on terrorism charges in Jordan. The court argued that his right to a fair trial in Jordan is in jeopardy. The announcement from the three judges of the Court on Wednesday stated that while they consider Qatada to be dangerous, his right to a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights could not be guaranteed. "The court recognizes that [Qatada] is regarded as a very dangerous person but emphasizes that this is not a relevant consideration under the applicable Convention law," the court said. The decision cemented the previous ruling from the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which blocked Qatada's deportation in November. Home Secretary Theresa May has been actively pushing for Qatada's deportation and had received assurances from Jordan that he would receive a fair trial if he was deported. "This is not the end of the road, and the government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada," the Home Office said in a statement. Qatada is believed to be linked to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States. It is also believed he had ties to former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Qatada has been in and out of prison in Britain since 2002, and was jailed earlier this month for allegedly violating the terms of his house arrest (Reuters, AP and AFP,- 27/03/13)

APRIL

Photo ReportingINTERNATIONAL JUSTICE: Human rights court backs Tymoshenko- The European Court of Human Rights says that the pre-trial detention of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was "arbitrary" but couldn't find evidence of maltreatment in prison. The court found that "Tymoshenko's pre-trial detention had been arbitrary, that the lawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed and that she had no possibility to seek compensation for her unlawful deprivation of liberty." Ukraine had broken Articles 5 and 18 of the Convention, including the rights to liberty and security. According to the report, Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhij Vlasenko expressed his satisfaction stating that "The highest legal authority in Europe has for the first time issued a legal assessment of the Tymoshenko trial. He added that the court had found that Tymoshenko's arrest was "illegal and arbitrary," and had made out "political motives for the prosecution." Vlasenko. “Tymoshenko was arrested on 05 August 2011 and two-and-a-half months later, a court in the capital Kyiv sentenced her to a fine and seven years in prison. It was found that she had overstepped her authority as head of government when she signed a gas contract with Russia in 2009. The trial and the verdict led to a storm of international criticism,” the report said. (Reuters, AP and AFP/DW, 30/04/13)

MAY

Photo ReportingLAW & JUSTICE: The Supreme Court overrules objection by petitioners- The Supreme Court overruled an objection raised by Philip Addison- lead Counsel for the 2012 election petitioners that Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the second petitioner should not be made to identify a document that did not emanate from the petitioners. Tsikata had argued that Addison was trying to set up an entirely new case when the respondents have argued right from the start of the trial that there was no over-voting as claimed by the petitioners. Addison submitted among others that he finds it surprising that Tsikata would be bringing an entirely different pink sheet outside the 11,000 pink sheets the petitioners submitted and seek to question the witness on it. After some 30 minutes of deliberation, the Presiding Judge- Justice William Atuguba, who read the ruling, said that so far as the question objected to seek to portray that there were other pinks sheets with malpractices of the kind in respect of which the witness had testified that they should be annulled, the objection is over ruled. Justice Atuguba added however that beyond such composite question, the questioning cannot be allowed as much as the third respondent’s turn to testify along the line is yet to come. Earlier, the court also overruled a similar objection raised by Addison when Tsikata sought to ask the witness to identify a document. These arguments oscillated around 24,000 polling station results and the 26,000 stations (GNA, 07/05)

JUNE

Photo ReportingELECTORAL CONFLICT (09 June): Pink Sheets Are Not Sensitive Materials- Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan- the Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, stated that pink sheets unlike ballot sheets are not considered as sensitive materials. “Ballot papers are not just critical but also sensitive materials. Sensitive in the sense that if they fall into the wrong hands, they will corrupt the outcome of the election; so according to our classifications, ballot papers and pink sheets are not in the same category,” he said. He conceded however, that some special voting centers had codes whilst others did not. “If it is a center which is not ordinarily a polling station, it will have a code or designation… some will have codes, others will not… if it is a temporary indication of where the voting will take place, it will not have a code in the same sense as the polling station,” he added.


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