Key institutions in the justice delivery system have hailed the introduction of the Case Tracking System (CTS), a common platform to track criminal cases, as a game changer but want the system strengthened to achieve its purpose.
The institutions including the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Prison Service, Economic and Organised Crime Office, Legal Aid Commission and Attorney General's Department believe effective operationalization of the CTS would promote transparency and fast-track prosecutions.
The CTS is a comprehensive integrated case tracking system for the Ghana criminal justice sector that has been designed, tested, piloted, and is currently being rolled out with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
As part of efforts to increase citizens' monitoring and feedback to ensure the effective implementation of the CTS, the USAID is supporting three Civil Society Organizations including the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Legal Resources Centre and Crime Check Foundation to implement a project dubbed, “USAID Justice Sector Support (JSS) Activity” which is being undertaken in 40 selected districts in seven regions.
A sensitization workshop on the USAID JSS Activity has been organized for stakeholders with participants drawn from CSOs, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and Justice Sectors Institutions (JSIs) by the CHRI, Africa Office in Kumasi.
It was during the workshop that the institutions applauded the CTS as a laudable initiative that required the commitment and support of all stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation.
They took turns to appreciate how the system could aid their work if well implemented and pledged their commitment to improve the platform to ensure efficiency in the justice delivery system.
Madam Mina Mensah, Director of CHRI Africa Office, said the CTS sought to promote efficiency in the handling of criminal cases to ensure justice was served to citizens expeditiously.
She said the processes that citizens had to go through sometimes from their arrest till their fate were determined by the courts could be traumatic, hence the need for the CTS to improve service delivery as a result of transparency in the process.
“We need to tackle the problem in a manner that is comprehensive. The problem is systemic and not the fault of an individual or any organization but the structures that we have in place,” she observed.
She said some reforms had been made in the sector over the years but the desired results had not been achieved and stressed the need for stakeholders to contribute to the success of the CTS.
“If all of us decide that we are part of the solution so we all engage the system and there are problems, we all talk about it and make suggestions. We can only do this if we understand the system, are aware of it and participate,” she implored the participants.
Justice Yonny Kulendi, a Justice of the Supreme Court who chaired the workshop, said the promise of fair, transparent and honest adjudication of disputes between individuals and institutions was at the very foundation of democratic practice.
Without that assurance, he said, confidence in the Republic was frayed and weakened, adding that, “the consent of the governed cannot be procured and maintained if they cannot trust the institutions that are meant to protect them and secure their rights.”
He said it was not that the State had been tardy in addressing these issues and mentioned initiatives such as the Justice for All Programme, Alternative Dispute Mechanisms and the legal aid concept as some of the reforms introduced to aid citizens to seek justice.
Justice Kulendi said the CTS would facilitate much greater collaboration and coordination between the justice service institutions, enhance transparency and reduce the impact of corruption on the process.