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Vol 42 No 3

Published 9th February 2001


Austin Amissah

We are saddened to announce the death of Justice Austin Amissah, a reader, critic and friend of Africa Confidential.

An eminent jurist, academic and author, Justice Amissah's career spanned Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. Born in Ghana in 1930, Justice Amissah became that country's Attorney General and served on Commissions and Enquiries across the Commonwealth. As President of Botswana's Court of Appeal, he made a landmark ruling in favour of Unity Dow's right to confer nationality on her children. He found that the Botswana constitution's guarantee of equal treatment of men and women overrode an immigration regulation stipulating that nationality rights could be conferred only by a man.

A former colleague of Amissah's on the Botswana appeal bench, better known as Nelson Mandela's lawyer, George Bizos, described Amissah as "…a zealous guardian of judicial independence; a patient, helpful and understanding colleague; he avoided prejudgment of any cause and strove to reach a just decision in every case after giving counsel on both sides and his brethren on the bench every opportunity to persuade him what was the right thing to do".



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