The Chief Justice nominee, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, has reiterated the Supreme Court’s position that a birth certificate is not proof of citizenship but rather a record of one’s birth location.
Explaining that the information on a birth certificate is not verifiable during her vetting on Friday, May 26, Justice Torkornoo stated that citizenship is determined by factors such as lineage, the identity of one’s mother and father, and their relationship.
She added that while a birth certificate serves as a requirement to indicate birthplace, it does not establish nationality.
“Citizenship is a matter of law, nationality is a matter of law. In certain jurisdictions, being born in that place makes you a citizen of that country, [but] in our country, being born in Ghana doesn’t make you a citizen of Ghana.
“It is your relationship with your mother, it is your mother’s identity, your father’s identity, it is your lineage that determines your citizenship. So that form [birth certificate] is just an international requirement, we must know where everyone is born. But beyond that, your nationality is derived from that form, the evidence on that form.”
The Supreme Court first ruled that birth certificates cannot be proof of citizenship.
“A birth certificate is not a form of identification. It does not establish the identity of the bearer. Nor does it link the holder with the information on the certificate. Quite obviously, it provides no evidence of citizenship,” the Supreme Court verdict said in part.
The ruling was in the matter of the NDC and another vs the Attorney General.
“As a Christian and a lawyer, having indicated to us in a short while how you’ve managed these two, what will be your professional legal position and your faith position on the matter of LGBTQ and the position of the law?” Joe Osei Owusu asked.
And Justice Torkornoo’s answer was straightforward. “I’ve made it very clear that when I walk into court, all my thoughts are soaked in the law,” she said, eliciting explanations from the chairman that she agrees to implement the law as passed by parliament.
The controversial Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, is currently before Parliament seeking that the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality be criminalised in the country.
It is a private member’s bill that was presented to Speaker Alban Bagbin on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.
And per Justice Torkornoo’s response during her vetting, she cannot do other than what the law says on LGBTQ+ issues.
Additionally, she assured the committee that her religious beliefs will no way interfere with the dispensation of her duties should she approved.
Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, if approved by the committee will take over as Chief Justice to succeed Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah who retired on May 24, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 for justices of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
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