The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has trained members of a Citizen Monitoring Group (CMG) in the Upper East Region to monitor the Integrated Criminal Justice Case Tracking System and support stakeholders in the justice delivery system.
The Case Tracking System (CTS) project is to enable key actors in the justice delivery system to electronically access and track the various stages of criminal cases from the point of arrest, investigation, prosecution, conviction, rehabilitation and release.
Members of the CMG, drawn from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), were expected to play an oversight role to ensure the use of the CTS and effective coordination among the stakeholder institutions.
The stakeholder institutions included the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prisons Service, the Attorney General’s Department, Legal Aid Commission, the Economic and Organised Crime Office and the Judicial Service.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the training in Bolgatanga, Mr Enock Jengre, the Project Officer of the LRC, said the LRC was awarded a cooperative agreement to implement a three-year activity with funding from the USAID.
He said the activity, captioned the “USAID Justice Sector Support Activity,” was implemented in partnership with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Africa Office and Crime Check Foundation.
Mr Jengre, who is also a Rule of Law Specialist, said in 2018 the Government of Ghana launched the electronic CTS which sought to ensure that reported cases at the sector institutions were tracked.
“Once the system has been established and used by the sector institutions, it is expected that CSOs would supplement the work of the institutions working on the CTS to reduce the backlog of cases pending before the courts, the delays in judicial adjudication of cases and also create citizens’ awareness to the relevance of the CTS,” he said.
He said the monitoring started in August 2020 across 40 Districts in seven Regions, including Volta, Greater Accra, Northern, Western, Upper East, Ashanti and Bono Regions, and was expected to end in August 2023.
The Project Officer said in the Upper East Region, the CTS was installed in some sector institutions, including the Ghana Police Service in the Bongo, Talensi, Bolgatanga East, Nabdam Districts and the Bolgatanga Municipality.
He said the training of the CMG would enable members to know what was expected of them in monitoring and to ensure that the sector institutions used the CTS in criminal cases.
“We need to track, and move away from the manual system of judicial adjudication.”
Mr Samuel Fant Kombian, the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Specialist of the LRC, who took participants through the use of the CMG data collection toolkit, said the monitoring toolkit provided useful guidance at each stage of the monitoring cycle to gather a range of technical information.
On the benefits of the CTS, Mr Kombian said the system would create a common platform to track criminal cases, rapid and easy access to statistical data, improve the overall administration of justice, and create a harmonious inter-agency relationship between the justice sector agencies and further offer remand prisoners’ access to courts.
Mr Harris Laminu, a member of the CMG, who shared his experience of training with the GNA, said the group was well-equipped with vital information to help in the monitoring to improve the justice delivery system in the region and country at large.
He said with proper collaboration between members of the CMG and officers at the various sector institutions where the CTS were installed, the system would work effectively to achieve the intended purpose.