Justice Professor Henrietta Joy Abena Nyarko Mensa-Bonsu, is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana. Before her appointment to the Bench in May 2020, she was a Professor of Law at the University of Ghana School of Law, and served as Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (2012-2018). She is a Past President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (2019-2021).
She has had a distinguished academic career spanning more than three decades at the University of Ghana since joining the University of Ghana as a Lecturer in 1985. She rose through the ranks to attain the rank of a full professor in 2002. She has undertaken a number of high level national and international assignments. Her national assignments in the public sector include membership of the National Reconciliation Commission; Ghana Police Council; New Times Corporation; Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission of Inquiry into Electoral violence. Member, Governing Council of National African Peer Review Mechanism (2016- 2018); Member, National Development Planning Commission (2018 – 2020) In the private sector she has served as non-Executive Director of Standard Chartered Bank, Member, Governing Council of STAR-GHANA Foundation (2018 – 2020). Among the high profile international assignments she has undertaken are: Ghana Representative, ‘Inter-governmental Meeting of Experts on the Draft African Charter on the Rights of the Child’ (1990); the OAU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Lockerbie Case; (2001-2002); and the AU’s Committee of Eminent Jurists on the Hissene Habre Case (2006).
In 2007-2011, she was the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Rule of Law (DSRSG RoL) in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the rank of Assistant-Secretary-General. Since 2012, she has served as a Civilian Mentor to the ECOWAS Senior Mission Leadership Courses; United Nations’ Senior Mission Leadership Courses; and the UN Police Commanders Courses, which prepare principal leaders of peacekeeping missions. In 2015, she was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) to review UN Peacekeeping; and is a Member of the Board of Trustees of Methodist Church, Ghana.
Professor Mensa-Bonsu has researched and published extensively on Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (particularly Juvenile Justice), Family Law; Children’s Rights; and more recently on International Affairs. She has been a Visiting Lecturer at a number of reputable Universities in Europe and North America and was the 2014 Diplomat-in-Residence at the School of Public and International Affairs of the North Carolina State University. She was the 2014 University of Ghana Alumni Association Lecturer and the 2023 Aggrey-Fraser Guggisberg Memorial Lecturer for University of Ghana’s flagship annual lectures. .
Justice Prof Mensa-Bonsu has earned a number of academic awards and non-academic awards and citations, her most recent academic award being Doctor of Laws (LL.D) Honoris Causa) from the University of Ghana
Justice Prof Mensa-Bonsu was educated at Wesley Girls High School; University of Ghana; Ghana School of Law; and Yale University, USA. She was called to the Ghana Bar in 1982 and is married with children and grandchildren.