Category: Crime Created on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:47 Published Date Written by GNA Hits: 331
Fiapre (B/A), Aug 7, GNA – The Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) mediated 16,080 conflict cases in the country from 2007 to 2011.
Out of these cases, 8,802 of them were settled under the court-connected resolution mechanism with 2,025 representing 46.1 percent settled in 2011 alone.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, Chief Justice at the opening ceremony of a training workshop on conflict resolution at the Marian Conflict Resolution Center (MCRC), located at the Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG) at Fiapre, near Sunyani.
Participants attending the five-day intensive training in mediation were drawn from the Judiciary, Legal Aid, Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), House of Chiefs, Ghana Bar Association, Political Parties and Corporate Bodies.
Most of the resource persons are Professors in law from the Fordham University and the St. John’s University in the United States of America.
Mrs. Wood emphasized that the use of ADR for conflict resolution at the District and Commercial courts had been very successful for the past years and it was envisaged that ADR could be spread to all the other courts by 2015 as a prelude to the final means of resolving disputes, she added.
“The fact that our courts are now inundated with cases resulting in long delays in resolving them is no news, the ADR is a tool for promoting and improving access to justice, as a fundamental human rights”, the Chief Justice stressed and advised Ghanaians to embrace the concept.
Mrs. Wood thanked the facilitators and the CUCG for the center and expressed the optimism that participants would apply all diligence to the workshop and learn much for conflict mediation.
Earlier in a welcoming address, Professor James Hawkins Ephraim, Vice Chancellor of the CUCG said similar workshop was organised a year ago, which led to the creation and inauguration of the center.
He said this year’s workshop was in response to the numerous requests that were received and the recognition of the fact that “the harvest is plenty but the hands are few” which meant an increase in ADR resource persons because too many cases were taking too long to be resolved through the judicial processes.
Prof. Ephraim disclosed that the High and Magistrate courts in the Brong-Ahafo region had referred 34 cases to the MCRC for settlement. These cases, he said, ranged from land disputes, breach of contract, loan default, defamation, destruction of property, tenancy conflict, labour and family disputes.
The Vice Chancellor said 27 of these cases had been settled while seven of them had also been returned to the courts with 15 pending.
Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Regional Minister in a speech read for him, observed that the training programme had come at an opportune time, when the government was trying to create awareness and consolidate the ADR platform for the settlement of disputes.
He said the ADR was one option which was fast catching up with the Ghanaian community in the settlement of disputes and conflicts, indicating that the court system practiced over the years had not helped much in resolving conflicts among the people.
He specifically expressed worry about the slow nature of the court system which sometimes led to a backlog of cases as well as the cumbersome nature of the judiciary which directly affected conflict mediation.
The Regional Minister said chieftaincy and land disputes constituted the majority of all conflicts and disputes in the region and cited the Techiman-Tuobodom conflict, where there were rival chiefs owning allegiance to the Techiman stool and the other to the Asante stool, a situation which almost led to a bloodshed some years back, he added.
Most Reverend Philip Naameh, Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, a participant who presided, said despite the 57 ethnic groupings with diverse culture, Ghana continued to live in a peaceful atmosphere.
Archbishop Naameh who is also Chair of the Governing Council of CUCG expressed the hope that through the use of ADR the few conflicts and disputes related cases which still existed would be resolved.
Justice Irene Danquah, an appeal court judge in-charge of ADR, who represented the Chief Justice, later inducted a 10 member Board of Directors of the MCRC into office whilst Professor Michael Owusu, a resource person and also Kumasi-based legal practitioner gave an overview of the ADR and Conflict Resolution Programme/Background of ADR in Ghana.
The Board is made up of representatives from the CUCG, National House of Chiefs, GCBC, the Judiciary, MCRC, Ghana Bar Association and the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani.
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