Ghana is second-best performer in sub-Sahara Africa on the World Justice Project’s (WJP) 2011 Rule of Law Index released in June, 2011 in Washington DC.
Ghana followed South Africa who topped the region among the nine countries the report covered.
Ghana beat Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Liberia from the 3rd to 8th respectively.
According to the Washington-based group, the region exhibited a range of performance levels, with South Africa and Ghana as the regional leaders, and the rest of the countries positioned at the bottom of the global ranking.
The Index, which covered 66 countries globally, also saw Ghana emerging as the best performer among the low-income countries. The eight low-income countries were Ghana, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Uganda.
Based on three ranking – Global, Regional and Income Group rankings, the WJP used nine factors in determining Ghana’s position in the region. They are Limited Government Powers; Absence of Corruption; Order and Security; Fundamental Rights; Open Government; Effective Regulatory Enforcement; Access to Civil Justice; Effective Criminal Justice and the Informal Justice.
On the Limited Government Powers factor which measures the extent to which those who govern are subject to law, Ghana had an overall score of 0.70 ranking 19 out of 66 countries globally, 1 out of 9 and 1 out of 8 in the low-income group ranking.
Scoring 0.49 points Ghana placed 41 of 66 globally, 3 of 9 regionally and 1 out of 8 on the Absence of Corruption factor which, according to index considers three forms of corruption – bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources.
The Order and Security factor measures how well the society assures the security of persons and property. Ghana scored 0.65 points and ranked globally 47 of 66, regionally 3 of 9 and in low-income grouping 4 of 8.
Ghana topped both the region and the low-income group but placed 22 globally with a score of 0.72 points on the Fundamental Rights factor. The factor measures protection of fundamental human rights. It also recognizes that the rule of law must be more than merely a system of rules—that indeed, a system of positive law that fails to respect core human rights guaranteed and established under international law is at best “rule by law”, and does not deserve to be called a rule of law system.
Ghana, with a score of 0.49 points, placed 31/66 (global), 2/9 (regional) and 1/8 (low-income) on the Open Government Factor – measuring the opportunity to know what the law is and what conduct is permitted and prohibited.
On Effective Regulatory Enforcement which concerns the fair and effective enforcement of administrative regulations, the country scored 0.50 points ranking 44/66, 3/9 and 1/8 globally, regionally and low-income grouping respectively.
Access to Civil Justice requires that the system be affordable, effective, impartial, and culturally competent. Ghana with a score of 0.59 points globally, regionally and low-income grouping placed 26/66, 2/9, 1/8 respectively.
Effective Criminal Justice systems are capable of investigating and adjudicating criminal offences impartially and effectively, while ensuring that the rights of suspects and victims are protected. Ghana placed 31/66, 2/9 and 1/8 globally, regionally and low-income group.
“The country enjoys a good system of checks and balances. Public administration bodies are relatively effective and corruption levels are lower than in most other countries in the region,” the index said.
It adds that Ghana’s the civil justice system is relatively independent, but still inaccessible to most people.
It said the country needs to pay attention to the security, vigilante justice, criminal investigation and adjudication systems which are lagging behind.
The WJP Rule of Law Index 2011 is the result of four years of intensive development, testing, and vetting—including interviewing 66,000 members of the general public and more than 2,000 experts in 66 countries and jurisdictions.
The Index indicated that it interviewed persons in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale.
By Ekow Quandzie