Former Chief Justice Welcomes US Students

Georgina Wood

The first woman to become Ghana’s Chief of Justice, Georgina
Wood, spoke to 20 American students about Ghana’s judicial system on July 22,

The students are part of the University of Oregon’s African
Diaspora Studies program; a four-week study abroad that takes students first to
New Orleans, and then to Ghana, retracing the steps of African slaves coming to
America 400 years ago as part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The Diaspora studies program coincides with Africa’s “Year of
Return,” which aims to commemorate the arrival of the first African slave in
Jamestown, Virginia 400 years ago by encouraging African- Americans[1] 
to return to Ghana, where the slave trade began.

Wood opened her speech with a desire to use her time wisely,
telling students that she would be speaking about her experiences as Chief
Justice and answering questions near the end of the program.

She highlighted a couple of her biggest achievements in the
ten years (2007 to 2017) she spent as Chief Justice.

“In order to expedite the judicial process, we created a
number of specialty courts,” Wood said. “Including family courts, civil courts
and criminal courts,” she added.

One of the specialty courts Wood touched on was the domestic
violence court. Wood said that many women in Ghana maintained “head of household”
duties, but didn’t receive the same fair treatment that men did.

“It is important for women to be represented within the
judicial system in Ghana. It’s gotten better, but there’s still much work to

She stressed the importance of creating an independent
judiciary that isn’t “subservient to legislative or executive branches of

Wood continued “Independence is guaranteed in Ghana’s constitution.
But because of our past history and to protect the constitution and the people
of Ghana, we had to add to the constitution. That’s why it’s much longer than
the constitution in the US.”

By Donny Morrison

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