Ghana Famous People
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Henrietta Joy Abena Nyarko Mensa-Bonsu, JSC, FGA is a Supreme Court Judge of the Republic of Ghana. She was nominatted by president Nana-Akufo-Addo.
She is the 5th female member of the Court. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, she was a Ghanaian law professor who served as a member of the United Nations Independent Panel On Peace Operations.
Mensa-Bonsu is a professor and senior law lecturer at the University of Ghana school of law. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu attended Wesley Girls High School, University of Ghana and Yale University, obtaining a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1985.
She became a full law lecturer at the University of Ghana in 2002, and in 2003 was elected as a fellow into the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was elected President of the Academy in 2019.
She has used platforms available to her to advocate for peace to accelerate national development. She was the guest speaker at the Second Annual Peace Lecture put together by the Accra West chapter of the Rotary Club and the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), where she spoke about the "need to nurture peace" without waiting "till the need arises for peace before we go for it".
She delivered the 2014 University of Ghana Alumni Association lecture on the topic "The African Union’s Peace and Security Architecture: A guarantor of peace and security on the continent”.
In 2017, Mensa-Bonsu failed in her bid to be elected as a Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She was a member of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry which probed the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
Mensa-Bonsu was nominated by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, in May 2020 for consideration for appointment to the bench of the Supreme Court of Ghana.
Her name was submitted with other three judges by the president Nana-Akufo-Addo to Parliament for appointment into the Supreme Court bench. The others were Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu and Justice Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.
She was approved by the Parliament after she was recommended by the Appointment Committee. She was sworn into office by the President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Mensa-Bonsu is married to Kwaku Mensa-Bonsu and they have three daughters, five grandchildren, three foster sons and three foster grandchildren.
She is currently a member of the presidential commission of enquiry into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
Professor Mensa-Bonsu has served in a number of high-level national and international assignments. She served on the Legal Committee of the Ghana National Commission on Children; represented Ghana on the Inter-governmental Meeting of Experts on the Draft African Charter on the Rights of the Child, served as member of the President's Committee on the Review of Educational Reforms, the National Reconciliation Commission and the Ghana Police Council.
She has also served on a number of public boards and councils, such as Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, New Times Corporation, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, Methodist University College Council and the Board of Standard Chartered Bank. She served the Methodist Church, Ghana as member of the Committee on Law and Policy; and on the Presiding Bishop's Advisory Council.
In the international arena, Prof Mensa-Bonsu served as the ECOWAS nominee on the International Technical Advisory Committee for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Vice-Chairperson of the ECOWAS Working Group on the Harmonisation of Business Laws on non-OHADA States, member of the OAU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Lockerbie Case and the AU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Hissene Habre Case.
A highpoint was her appointment as the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Rule of Law (DSRSG) in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the rank of Assistant-Secretary-General in 2007.
As Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the Rule of Law Sector of the United Nations in Liberia for four years, she led the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission as its deputy head and also led the United Nations family on efforts to reconstruct the law-enforcement, legal and judicial sectors of post-conflict Liberia.
Returning to the University of Ghana in 2011, she served as a Civilian Mentor to the ECOWAS Senior Mission Leadership Course training of the Civilian Component for the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), also on the UN’s Senior Mission Leadership Course.
She recently accepted to serve on the Review Reference Group for the Project to prepare a ‘Guidance Note on Peace building’ for the United Nations system.
As an academic, Prof Mensa-Bonsu has researched and published extensively on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Family Law and Children's Rights, been a visiting Lecturer at the Queen's University Belfast, Northwestern University School of Law, visiting Scholar at Leiden University in the Netherlands and the 2014 Diplomat-in-Residence at the School of Public and International Affairs of the North Carolina State University.
Professor Mensa-Bonsu has earned a number of academic awards and awards for meritorious service. These are: MaCallien Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Volta Hall (1980); McDougal Fellowship from the Yale University (1984); the Fulbright Fellowship (1991); and the ACU/UNITWIN Fellowship for Women (1994).
Her awards for meritorious service include a Citation for Meritorious Service from the Ghana Armed Forces (2012), a Meritorious Service Award from the Akuafo Hall of the University of Ghana (2006); a Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service from the University of Ghana in 1999 and the International Association of Lions Clubs President's Excellence Award (1998).
Prof. Mrs. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and Prof. Anne Marie Ofori- First Women to obtain first class in Law.
Currently, she teaches Criminal Law, Jurisprudence and Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, and serves on a number of Boards of the University.