May 26, 2023 – In a recent appearance before the Appointments Committee, Chief Justice nominee Justice Gertrude Torkornoo emphasized that a birth certificate alone is insufficient to prove one's citizenship. The nominee clarified that while the document marks the beginning of the process to determine nationality, it is not the ultimate proof of citizenship.
During the session, Justice Torkornoo responded to questions from committee members, stating that a birth certificate primarily serves as an international requirement. She explained that in Ghana, citizenship is determined by one's lineage rather than simply by place of birth.
“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,” Justice Torkornoo affirmed.
She further emphasized that a person's relationship with their mother, father, and overall lineage holds the key to establishing their citizenship status. While a birth certificate may indicate where one is born, it is the evidence and information derived from that form that contribute to determining one's nationality.
Justice Torkornoo's statements align with a previous ruling by the Supreme Court, which concluded that birth certificates cannot serve as conclusive proof of citizenship. The apex court highlighted that a birth certificate does not provide proper identification, nor does it establish a direct link between the holder and the information on the certificate. Consequently, it does not offer tangible evidence of citizenship as required by Article 42 of the Constitution.
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