Ghanaians urged to champion the implementation of Case Tracking System

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Social Hall Meeting
Social Hall Meeting

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is urging Ghanaians to champion the implementation of the Case Tracking System (CTS) to enhance justice delivery in the country.

The CTS is a system for the Ghana criminal justice sector that tracks and provides information about criminal cases at every stage of the criminal justice system.

It tracks cases from the beginning at the Police Station or Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) throughout the processes till the time they are disposed-off within the key justice sector institutions, including the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice, Legal Aid Commission, Judicial Service, and the Ghana Prison Service.

Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the CTS was launched in 2018 by the Government of Ghana to fast-track criminal cases.

Currently, it is implemented in 147 selected districts across seven regions.

It is against this background that USAID is supporting three Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including CHRI, Legal Resources Centre, and Crime Check Foundation, to implement a project dubbed, “USAID Justice Sector Support (JSS) Activity” to strengthen the CTS through citizen engagement, empowerment, and the voice to demand accountability and improve services.

At a townhall meeting in Kumasi as part of efforts to whip up public interest in the CTS, the CHRI underlined the need for Ghanaians to embrace the initiative to promote transparency and accountability in the criminal justice delivery system.

Ms. Esther Ahulu, the Public Education and Advocacy Specialist of the Activity and Program Manager, CHRI Africa Office, said it was important for citizens to show a keen interest in the implementation of the CTS to eliminate the blatant abuse of people’s rights when they fall foul with the law.

She said research suggested that most Ghanaians had no confidence in the justice delivery system because of delays and injustices meted out to people involved in cases at various stages of prosecution.

She said with the introduction of the CTS, instances such as missing dockets, prolonged remand of suspects, and blame games between the Police and Attorney General Department over delays in the AG’s advice should be outdated.

“With the click of a button, the Legal Aid Commission and the Attorney General Department receive notification whenever the Police or EOCO enter a case on the platform,” she explained why there were no more excuses for delays.

With that arrangement, she said, the Legal Aid Commission was able to have timely information about suspects on remand and provide free legal assistance, where necessary while the Attorney General’s Department also provided prompt advice to ensure a speedy trial of cases.

She said situations, where people spent months, and in some cases, years, on remand because someone had failed to perform his or her duty were unacceptable and called on Ghanaians to show keen interest in the implementation of the CTS.

Madam Mina Mensah, Director, CHRI Africa Office, who spoke on the need for settling cases through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), said it was the way to go to reduce the pressure on the courts.

She said it was more rewarding to settle some petty/minor offences which fall under misdemeanor through ADR than to spend precious time frequenting the court.

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