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General News of Friday, 28 February 2020

Source: Daily Guide Network

Ghana’s justice system favors rich people – Report

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A latest Afrobarometer report has revealed that the justice system in Ghana favors the rich and not the poor.

The report released on Friday, February 28, in Accra, says high cost, bias, and long delays prevent Ghanaians from using formal justice system.

According to the report made available to DGN Online by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD),
Ghanaians say high costs, a bias in favour of the rich and powerful, and long delays are the three most important barriers that prevent citizens from using the formal justice system.

It says too expensive system favours the rich and powerful.

The report indicated that proceedings take a long time and are generally too complex and technical.

“Officials will demand money or favour.

Absence of legal aid services.

Sectors are located far from where they are needed most. Service providers are not available in most parts of the country,” it revealed.

While most Ghanaians endorse the legitimacy of the courts, it says they also see court officials as corrupt and untrustworthy, and believe people are treated unequally under the law.

“The findings show that among those who had contact with the justice system during the previous year, many rate the system as high on corruption and low on fairness and transparency,” according to the report.

Ghana is a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Maputo Protocol, both of which oblige the state to ensure that citizens have access to the delivery of justice.

But conditions necessary to ensure efficient and equal access to judicial systems, such as affordability, proximity, comprehensibility, and responsiveness, are not in place for a number of Ghanaians.

Key findings

More than three-fourths of Ghanaians say the president – and ordinary citizens – must obey the courts and laws, according to the report.

It says more than eight in 10 Ghanaians (85%) say at least “some” judges and magistrates are corrupt, including 40% who say this about “most” or “all” of these court officials.

A fewer than half of respondents say they trust courts “a lot” (16%) or “somewhat” (32%), the report points out.

It says only one in 20 Ghanaians (5%) say they had contact with the formal judicial system during the previous year.

The most important reasons why Ghanaians think people do not use the formal judicial system are that it is too expensive (cited by 54% of respondents), that the system favours the rich and powerful (31%), and that legal proceedings take a long time before judgment is given (31%), it explained.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, nonpartisan survey research network that provides reliable data on Africans’ experiences and evaluations of quality of life, governance, and democracy.

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