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06.12.2005 General News

Veep lauds customary judicial practices

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Accra, Dec. 6, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama and the Head of the Legal Session of the World Bank, Mr Roberto Danino on Tuesday conferred on a project to enhance the capacity of chiefs and other traditional rulers to facilitate the administration of justice. The project designed to integrate the country's statutory and customary laws was initiated by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah, has attracted the blessings of the World Bank. The pilot phase had taken off at the Manhyia Palace of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II in the Ashanti Region.

Vice President Mahama lauded the project, which he said would empower chiefs to be part of the country's judicial process. He said administration of justice in Ghana had been hampered by lack of manpower and capacity to extend the services of the Judiciary to every part of Ghana.

Vice President Mahama commended the Bank for being very supportive to Ghana by way of technical advice, grants and loans. He said the project was key to good governance, which was the priority of the Government.

The Vice President said his official visit to Botswana last year exposed him to a perfect blend of traditional and statutory laws. Mr Danino, a former Prime Minister of Peru, said he was excited about the vision of the Chief Justice, which he said would speed up the arbitration of cases and bring peace to local communities. He said the project would clarify the role of statutory and customary laws.

Mr Acquah said during the colonial era chiefs were solely responsible for arbitration of cases especially on chieftaincy, but expressed regret that their vital role had been relegated to the background.

He said every traditional ruler had a traditional court where legal issues were handled amicably.

Mr Mats Karlsson, Country Director of the World Bank, called on the Government to speed up the land Arbitration Project to end the number of land litigations that were stifling development in the country.