Legal luminary, Dr Thomas A. Mensah, who played a pivotal role in the country’s boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire, has passed on at age 87.
Dr Mensah died in London last Tuesday after a short illness.
A former President of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), he represented the country in a number of cases at the International Court on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the popular one being the boundary dispute case between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
He also represented Ghana as an ad hoc judge in the “ARA Libertad” Case (Argentina v. Ghana).
Dr Mensah was also chosen by Bangladesh in the maritime boundary delimitation dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the Bay of Bengal.
In 2013, the IMO Council awarded him the prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2012.
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organisation judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the organisation.
Throwing further light on the late Dr Mensah, a statesman and politician, Dr Kwame Donkor Fordjour, who was a personal friend to the deceased, confirmed the passing of the man he described as “a close friend.”
“He left Ghana for London on March 14, and when he was returning, he complained that he was not well. He had complained that he was not able to swallow food properly. He went back for two weeks and passed on last night,” he told the Daily Graphic on phone from his base in Kumasi.
On the burial arrangement, he explained that because of the coronavirus situation across the world, it was difficult for the family in Accra to move to London for that purpose.
He described Dr Mensah as a close friend, “ one who was more than a brother to me”.
“He was not my biological brother but he was more than a brother to me. He was my best man in 1960 and since then, we did everything together. Any time he came to Ghana, he usually came to me in Kumasi although he had his own house,” he said.
On what the death of Dr Mensah meant to the country, Dr Donkor Fordjour said it was a big loss to Ghana and added that history would remember him for paying his dues to the country.
“Ghana owes Dr Mensah a lot. He was the judge that prepared the way for Ghana’s victory over Cote d’Ivoire in the historic oil boundary dispute case,” he added.
He added that efforts were being made to inform President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo about the death.