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General News of Thursday, 19 October 2017

Source: Class FM

Speedy trials for forest degraders - Chief Justice

Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, has said she will ensure speedy trials for culprits who engage in acts of deforestation to serve as a deterrent for would-be law breakers.

According to her, preserving the forest and the environment would not only save the earth, but is also a gift to unborn generations who will suffer the brunt of how bad the earth is treated today.

Speaking at a deforestation event organised by the National REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation Conservation of Forests, Sustainable Forest Management and Enhancement of Carbon Stocks) initiative, at the International Conference Center in Accra on Thursday, 19 October 2017 on the theme, “Strengthening law enforcement for effective REDD implementation”, Ms Akuffo called for close collaboration between stakeholders to prosecute persons who degrade the forest and other natural resources.

She said: “We cannot afford to fail the future generation, thus, the fight must be waged with all seriousness and none should be the weak link. We must all remember that for the time we spend on this earth, we are only custodians of the earth’s resources and duty bound to preserve them for posterity, for our children and we cannot afford to fail in this duty because to do so is to confine future generations unborn to a life of future disasters, drought and extreme temperature events.

“Therefore, in the chain link for the enforcement and the application of the entire legal regime for the preservation of our environment, every part from the forestry workers, to the inspectors to the monitors to the security services, each has a part to play as well as the prosecutors and the courts and therefore, this chain must never be broken. It must be effective all the way along the line.

“…I make a special call to the men and women of the security forces, the Forestry Commission and all relevant agencies not to rest on their oars, but rather, we will all work together to ensure that all those who choose to deforest and degrade the environment will be arrested, duly prosecuted for the relevant punitive measures to be ordered against them.

“On the part of the judiciary, I’ll ensure that all perpetrators are speedily tried, those found culpable given deserving punishments to serve as an effective deterrent to would-be law breakers. We have only one earth and let’s keep it safe.”

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