By: Regina Agana Akanteba
Members of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, CHRI Africa, are calling for an increased public education on the benefits of using Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, to resolve certain minor offences.
The Members also called for more training and orientation for judges and lawyers on ADR and the need to opt for its use, where applicable, in order to ease the backlog of cases in court.
Speaking on GBC’s Radio Magazine Programme, ‘Ghana Today’, the Director in Charge of Human Rights at the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, CHRAJ, Mrs Mary Adjeley Nartey, said about 2,958 cases has been resolved through ADR within the month, which is a clear indication that much more minor cases would be resolved within a year.
She said ADR is more affordable, fast and most effective as compared to the court.
“In most court cases, there is incarceration and bitterness but with ADR there is restorative justice which makes integration much easier.”
The Chief Justice said just this ADR week celebration about 2,958 cases have been resolved through ADR. So, imagine the number of cases that will be exhausted? Mrs Mary Nartey quizzed.
Mrs Mary Nartey emphasized that individuals who employ ADR are mostly satisfied with the outcome of settlement without holding malice against each other.
Also speaking on the Programme, the Board of CHRI Africa who is also the Executive Director of Okudzeto Associates, Sam Okudzeto called on the media to create the needed awareness on the existence of ADR and the benefits of using ADR rather than always opting for the court which is cost effective and time consuming.
He noted that ADR has been in existence for over ten years now but it is rather unfortunate that only a few Ghanaians are aware of ADR and are making use of it.”
“I am part of the Council of State and I have a tall list of cases to grant Amnesty. Now the court itself is calling for Amnesty not the people anymore, this shows there is pressure on the court. See, I am one of the champions of ADR and I encourage more lawyers to use ADR by raising motion in Court to employ ADR especially the minor cases. So, ADR is less costly and speedily as compared to the court system. Look even going to court back and forth with all the expenses on yourself and lawyers is not easy” Mr. Sam explained.
He stressed the need for conscious efforts to be made to create more awareness especially in rural communities. “People not being aware of ADR to me is an inditement on the media. The media please the entertainment is enough! Educate the people about ADR especially those in the hinterlands” the Board Chair of CHRI Africa emphasized.
Mr Okudzeto is optimistic that when more people become aware of ADR and its benefits, there will be a peaceful co-existence among individuals in the country.
Meanwhile, the second quarter of this year’s ADR Week celebration commenced on Monday July 25, 2022 with a launch which took place in Kumasi where the Chief Justice of the country, Justice Anim Yeboah was the Special Guest of Honour for the celebration.
The discussion on ‘Ghana Today’ was facilitated by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative under the USAID Justice sector support activity.
Writer’s Email: [email protected]: Regina Aganah.