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Chief Justice calls on African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to open up

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Chief Justice Georgina Wood

The Chief Justice (CJ), Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, on Monday urged the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) to keep lines of communication open with African national or constitutional courts.

“These courts play important roles in raising and maintaining the quality of governance in Africa and people should be aware of one another’s challenges and significant judicial decisions,” she said.

Mrs Wood made the call when she was addressing the opening session of the 23rd Session of AfCHPR in Accra.

She noted that the AfCHPR complemented the increasing trend towards internationalising the delivery of some aspects of justice.

The CJ said international and municipal justice delivery systems were parallel tracks headed in the same direction of the promotion of good governance.

Mrs Wood said for the past 20 years, the tide had flowed towards the establishment of regional and international judicial institutions for the delivery of human rights and humanitarian justice.

She advocated more member countries to ratify the protocol on the establishment of courts since only 26 countries out of the 54 member countries of the African Union had established courts and encouraged other member countries to fulfil their obligations relative to the court.

Mrs Wood called for the promotion of international good governance and said the Supreme Court of Ghana had in the last two decades demonstrated its commitment to good governance and upholding of the democratic values and ideals embodied in the 1992 Constitution.

She said merging the African Court on Human and People’s Rights with the Court of Justices of the African Union into a single court of African Court of Justice and Human Rights would lead to the strengthening of the resultant single court.

Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said the establishment of African Court was a demonstration of the determination of Africans to promote the rule of law, fundamental human rights and good governance for sustainable development on the continent.

He said the establishment of AfCHPR demonstrated the determination of  distinguished justices and the staff of the courts to work assiduously to get the court well established, functioning and owned by Africans.

Mr Amidu assured AfCHPR of the Ghana Government’s unwavering support and commitment to its success.

He said the Government had recognised the important role the judiciary played in the administration of justice and the positive impact of its role on social, cultural, economic and political development.

Mr Justice Gerard Nyungeko, President of AfCHPR, said though the court had been able to make remarkable strides, there were challenges facing it.

She mentioned ignorance of Africans about the existence of the AFCHPR,  low rate of ratification of the protocol establishing the AfCHPR  and low rate of deposits of special declaration.

Mr Justice Nyungeko explained that less than half of the 53 member states of the African Union even though had ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the court was mandated to interpret and ensure its application.

He said the court would continue to look up to Ghana for support, to use her influence and leadership role to convince other African countries to ratify the protocol and make the declaration operational.

Source: GNA

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