Justice Yoni Kulendi

Supreme Court judge, Justice Yonny Kulendi, has stated that he believes he was conscripted to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court as he never planned to be a judge from the start of his career as a lawyer.

Justice Kulendi made this assertion at the law faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) during a programme with law students of the faculty dubbed; “Conversation with a Judge”, on Thursday 10 November 2022.

The Event

The event, an initiative of Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, Dean of the GIMPA law faculty, is designed to help demystify the law for students of the faculty by having Justices of the Superior Courts of Ghana share their life experiences in the law, to motivate a new breed of legal practitioners.

Seasoned judges will thus participate in this monthly event, to share their experiences at the bar and on the bench in order to motivate and encourage law students to pursue their ambitions with all diligence.

Article 128 (4) of the 1992 constitution states that “person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court unless he is of high moral character and proven integrity and is of not less than fifteen years’ standing as a lawyer”.

Article 44 (1) and (2) on the other hand also states that “the Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament”.

“(2) The other Supreme Court Justices shall be appointed by the President acting on the advice of the Judicial Council, in consultation with the Council of State and with the approval of Parliament”.

From the constitutional provisions as stated, the President is responsible for initiating the process of appointing judges to the Supreme with the advice of the Judicial Council and in consultation with the Council of State after Parliament’s appointment committee has vetted him and the whole house has approved the nomination.

Appointment to Bench

Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi together with Professor, Mrs. Henrietta J.A.N Mensa-Bonsu Yonny Kulendi, were sworn into office as Justices of the Supreme Court by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 26 May 2020.

Their appointment to the Apex Court followed their successful vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee on May 11 and 12, and subsequent approval by the Legislature on May 20, 2020.

Answering a question posed by one of the participating students (Naa) who wanted to know when in his career path did he decide to be a Justice of the Apex Court of the land, Justice Kulendi said he never planned to be a judge but he sees his current role as a perfect opportunity to serve the nation, Ghana.

“When it come to me as a judge, I think I consider myself more as a conscript. Conscription is a forcible recruitment into a role and a typical manifestation of it is the recruitment of people into the military (Armed Forces) during war.”

“So I think I am more a conscript than somebody who made a deliberate choice. If you met me three months or a month before the process began and you asked me, I didn’t think I was going be a judge” Justice Yonny Kulendi said.

“First of all, I enjoyed what I was doing, I told you I like mentoring, and training and affecting other people’s lives just the same way that God used other people to affect my life.”

“I was actually about launching what I thought was going to be the final phase of my career. I had a design for my office and had done soil test and I was going to do something ambitious and unusual when this situation (appointment as a judge) arose” he added.

Service to Nation

Justifying his final decision to join the bench, Justice Kulendi said he “had to yield because” all he “was doing was self-service to a very large extent even though” he “was affecting and impacting other people’s lives”.

“I had to give up that and this (serving as a judge) is more or less, my service to country in a very formal way” Justice Yonny Kulendi said.

Source: Asaase Radio

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