The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) under the USAID Justice Sector Support (JSS) Activity in collaboration with Ghana Legal Aid Commission has organised a town hall meeting for the Western Region.
It was also to enhance the citizens’ role in the functionality of the CTS as well as increase the knowledge of people on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services.
The Public Education and Advocacy Specialist at CHRI, Madam Esther Ahulu, said Ghana’s criminal system was confronted with numerous challenges that inhibited effective and equitable justice delivery in the country.
She said the challenges, included lack of effective collaboration and communication among key justice institutions, leading to over-population of prisons by remand prisoners with expired warrants, detention without trial and pre-trial detainees not having their cases heard within a reasonable time.
She said the other challenge was unreasonable delays in administering of justice caused by frequent adjournments, missing case dockets, and slow processing of documentation due to high caseloads in courts.
Madam Ahulu said the government in 2018 launched the CTS, as part of measures to address the slow justice delivery system, and to support key justice delivery sector institutions to collect, collate and harmonize data for effective justice delivery.
She mentioned the institutions as Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Attorney-General’s Department, Legal Aid Commission, Economic and Organised Crime Office and Judicial Service.
Madam Ahulu said the CTS was to enable the key justice sector institutions to electronically access and track the various stages of criminal cases from the point of arrest, through to investigations, prosecution, conviction, rehabilitation and finally release.
She added that the success of the CTS needed the support of citizens in promotion and demand for use by the justice sector institutions, adding “Legal Resources Centre, Crime Check Foundation and Inter-regional Bridge Groups are the implementing partners of the USAID JSS Activity”.
The Head of Legal AID Commission in the region, Mrs Sweetie Sowah, said the ADR which comprised of mediation, arbitration and negotiation was more advantageous, and the discussions were confined to the corners of the court room.
She said ADR was good because both parties agreed for the solution of the existing problem, adding “ADR is highly confidential.”
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, TAKORADI