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12.05.2004 General News

Send cases to courts and avoid violence - Chief Justice

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Accra, May 12, GNA - Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, Chief Justice (CJ), has inaugurated five automated magistrate's courts in the three Northern Regions with a call on the people to send all their disputes to the courts for determination and avoid engaging in violence. The courts, which are in Lawra and Tumu in the Upper West Region; Navrongo in the Upper East Region and Bimbilla and Damango in the Northern Region, were funded by Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

The courts, equipped with personal computers, laptops and photocopiers, have trained stenographers to transcribe proceedings in the courtrooms. Mr Justice Acquah said the automated courts were designed to bring transparency in the adjudication of cases and to facilitate faster administration of justice.

He said it could not be doubted that faster, efficient and transparent administration of justice was an essential requirement in a sound democratic country.

The Chief Justice called for the strengthening of the courts to enable Ghana to thrive on democracy and the rule of law, which was the bedrock of the country's democratic dispensation.

"In striving to ensure the presence of rule of law in the society, it was equally important to see to it that the administration of law is not tainted with corruption," he said.

Mr Justice Acquah announced the establishment of a Courts Inspectorate Unit to be headed by a Judge of considerable experience to monitor the activities of members of the Bench and staff.

He said the Unit would pay unannounced visits to the courts to monitor the performance of Judges, ascertain dates and times of court sittings and inspect record books.

"The report of the Inspectorate Unit will be in addition to the annual performance appraisal system of Judges and Magistrate I have already put in place."

He commended the Government of Denmark for sponsoring the five projects as well as assisting the Judiciary to put up six commercial court complexes currently under construction in Accra.

The Chief Justice said DANIDA had provided the funding for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Project that would enable the Judicial Service to mainstream its process in courts.

Mrs Leonora Kyerematen, Programme Coordinator, National Governance Programme, urged District assemblies to provide adequate and appropriate court premises. 12 May 04