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04.12.2006 General News

Justice must be equitably beneficial to all- Dieng

By gna
Justice must be equitably beneficial to all- Dieng
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Mr Adama Dieng, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, has stressed the need for Justice to disseminate information on its activities, offer services for access to the law and ensure all and sundry benefited equitably from its services.

By so doing, he said, justice might be seen to be working in the service of Peace.

Mr. Dieng made the call in Accra at the weekend during the opening session of the Conference on "Introducing the New African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights to Civil Society".

The Pan African Conference organized by the Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice,to introduce the new African Court to Human Rights and Justice sectors, has brought together participants from International Organizations, Academic Institutions, National Human Rights Commissions, Members from both the African Bar and the Bench, among others.

The over 100 conference participants are brainstorming on themes, including "Personal Jurisdiction"; "Substantive and Advisory Jurisdiction"; "The Interface between the African Commission and the African Court"; "Lessons and Warnings from Elsewhere"; "The Contribution of Civil Society to the African Court"; and "Towards an Effective African Human Rights Machinery", at the two-day Conference.

Mr Dieng, who is also the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, pointed out that the dysfunctionality of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, had given rise to the idea of a choice between two solutions, namely, integrating the Commission into the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR), or maintaining the dual nature of the monitoring system.

He explained that the establishment of an African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) was aimed at meeting the continent's concern to have a judicial authority for dealing with disputes.

The fact, Mr Dieng said, nevertheless remained that the credibility of ACJHR would undoubtedly depend on its independence from the Member States of the African Union, which for their part, very often felt a certain mistrust of the judicial system.

He said the desire to build an African Human Rights Community which led to the establishment of ACJHR, was based on the idea of the primacy of the general or community interest over the interests of States.

The Assistant UN Secretary-General noted that the credibility of ACJHR would depend on how resolutely its judges, who would be responsible for initiating the operations of an African judicial institution for the protection of human and peoples' rights, performed their delicate task.

Mr. Joe Ghartey, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who opened the Conference, urged Africans to join forces and resources to achieve economic progress and prosperity on the Continent.

He lauded Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other great African Leaders and Human Rights Activists, for their pioneering role to ensure the liberation of the Continent.

He urged African Leaders to co-operate in order to ensure that human rights issues were not violated.

Mrs. Evelyn Ankumah, Executive Director of AFLA, hoped the new court would not only place itself firmly on the map of the African human rights landscape, but would also be made accessible to victims of human rights violations on the Continent.

Mrs Justice Sophia Akuffo, Supreme Court Judge who chaired the opening, reminded Africans to constantly keep in mind their values, in order to help move the Continent forward.

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