Cecilia Koranteng-Addow (formerly nee Gaisie) served as a High Court judge in Ghana from 1975 until her abduction and murder on June 30, 1982, during Jerry Rawlings' second military regime.
Cecilia Afran Gaisie, born in Assin Nsuta, Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1936, came from the Royal Asenie family of Adansi Medoma. Her parents were Philip Afran Gaisie, a businessman, and Mary Adwoa Kwansaa Boafo, one of her father's six wives and a housewife. She received her primary education at the Roman Catholic School in Assin Anyinabrim and the Assin Edubiase Methodist School. She later attended secondary school in Cape Coast, first at Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) College of Education for middle school and then at Holy Child High School. In 1959, she moved to the United Kingdom to study LLB law at the University of Hull and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in London in 1963.
Upon completing her studies in the UK, Cecilia returned to Ghana in 1964 and started working as a lawyer in the private legal practice of Opoku Acheampong and Company. Later, she was recruited as a magistrate by the Ghanaian Judicial Service. After serving as a judge in Ghana's district court and circuit court for several years, she was appointed as a High Court judge in 1975, a position she held until her untimely death in 1982.
During her career, Cecilia made notable rulings, including a decision in 1980 in favor of Mr. Shackleford, a businessman who had been detained during Jerry Rawlings' 1979 revolution. Cecilia's ruling stated that there was no justification for the detention and ordered his release. She was the first judge to challenge the transitional provisions of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) inserted in the 1979 constitution, resulting in the release of an AFRC convict. Cecilia also presided over a case involving rioting workers of the Ghana Industrial Holding Corporation (GIHOC) who had attacked parliament during Ghana's Third Republic. One of the leaders of the rioting workers, Joachim Amartey Quaye, later became a member of Rawlings' Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) and was ultimately convicted for his involvement in Cecilia's murder.
In her personal life, Cecilia was first married to Nicholas Liverpool, who went on to become the sixth president of Dominica from 2003 to 2012. They met during their time at the University of Hull and married in 1963, having four children together. They divorced in 1969. In 1974, Cecilia married Gustav Koranteng-Addow, a judge who served as Ghana's Attorney General from 1975 to 1979. They met through their work and remained married until Cecilia's tragic death in 1982. They did not have any children together.
Tragically, Cecilia was abducted and murdered on June 30, 1982, alongside two other Supreme Court justices, Frederick Poku Sarkodee and Kwadjo Adgyei Agyepong, as well as a retired army officer, Sam Acquah, during Rawlings' second military rule. Their bodies, burned beyond recognition, were discovered at the Bundase military shooting range in the Accra Plains the following day. As a result of public pressure, the Ghanaian government established a Special Investigation Board to look into the murders. The board's inquiry findings, as reported by The Independent in 1992, recommended the prosecution of 10 individuals, including Kojo Tsikata, the head of national security at the time and Rawlings' close associate. However, Tsikata filed a defamation lawsuit against The Independent, which was later resolved with a correction statement clarifying their intent. Several individuals, including Lance Corporal Amedeka, Michael Senyah, Tekpor Hekli, Johnny Dzandu, and Joachim Amartey Quaye, were indicted for the murders in 1983. Amedeka managed to escape while in custody, while the others were found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad.
Cecilia, along with the other slain justices, is commemorated annually in Ghana through a judicial service called Martyrs Day, held on the anniversary of their deaths. The Supreme Court of Ghana houses the Memorial to the Martyrs of the Rule of Law, featuring statues of the three murdered justices. In 2011, the Esi Afran Foundation was established in Cecilia's memory by her childhood friend Josephine van Lare, along with her children Philip Liverpool and Nana Ama Brantuo (formerly Liverpool). The foundation's objective is to enhance the lives of young women by focusing on education and training. Presently, the foundation supports and advises other organizations in Ghana that strive to improve the educational standards in the country through financial assistance and guidance.
Date of Birth: 24th May, 1936
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Assin Nsuta