Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has inaugurated a multipurpose courthouse at Nalerigu, capital of the North East Region, to promote expeditious justice delivery and bring justice to the doorstep of the people.
The ultramodern facility, constructed with funding from the District Assemblies Common Fund is designated to be a High Court with additional responsibility of a child friendly Circuit court to handle cases of domestic and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) especially against women and children.
Additionally, a five-bedroom accommodation has been provided for the judge who would be posted there.
The two facilities are also fitted with solar power, generator sets, water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities to ensure provision of green energy and regular water supply.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported the child friendly component of the court through the provision of digital systems including monitors, closed-circuit television among others in the court room and the room for victims of domestic and GBV cases to protect identity and ensure free delivery.
Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah commended the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development and UNICEF for their immense roles in contributing to justice delivery in the country, particularly the construction and equipment of the court.
He said research conducted in 2018 and 2019 revealed that the physical infrastructure of many courts in the country were in deplorable state and fails to meet the test of modern courts.
He said the situation did not provide a decent and conducive working environment for productive results and the dignity of the judiciary system and the state as required.
“A comprehensive report submitted to his Excellency the President who had followed with keen interest the state of court houses nationwide, indicated that there was the need for a total of 207 new purpose court houses and 381 residential accommodations across the country,” he said.
The Chief Justice said the Nalerigu High Court being inaugurated was because of stakeholder consultations which informed the government to promise to build 100 court houses with accommodation across the country.
“It is significant to note that this court has the jurisdiction to serve Nalerigu and its surrounding communities with child friendly cases,” he added.
Mr. Bhanu Pathak, the Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Tamale Office, said the child friendly component which was part of eight courts inaugurated across the country last year would contribute significantly to attaining justice for women and children and help address domestic and gender-based violence in Ghana.
He said although men suffered domestic and gender-based violence, women and children were the most affected with global data pointing that about 35 per cent of women and children experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime.
He therefore called for concerted effort to enable the Judicial Service, dispense justice especially to the vulnerable, to ensure growth and development.
Mr. Zakaria Yidana, the North East Regional Minister, said the inauguration of the court was a relief to the people of the region since hitherto criminal cases were usually tried at Bolgatanga or Tamale which posed financial and security concerns to the people.
“Undoubtedly, gestures such as this bring our country closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive society for sustainable development and also provide access to justice for all,” he said.