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Stakeholders discuss electoral dispute resolution

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Participants at a meeting on electoral disputes on Tuesday debated whether the Supreme Court should be made an election court, and thus broaden the electoral dispute resolution processes in Ghana or vice versa.

The participants, who were of diverse views, included civil society actors, journalists, legal practitioners and officials from the judiciary.

They discussed the theme: “Strengthening the Judiciary to deal with Human Rights Abuses during Election 2012.”

Mr Rowland Atta-Kesson, Associate Consultant at Law and Development Association, a legal firm, made the main presentation.

He said that the Supreme Court should be made an electoral court to enable people, who took such cases to court to get maximum satisfaction.

Mr Atta-Kesson explained that the 1992 Constitution stated that electoral cases should end at the Appeal Court but said such cases should go to the Supreme Court.

He said the system must ensure that voters’ decision prevailed and that legal elections depended on legal correction of any mistake, therefore, judicial resolution had become fundamental.

Mr Atta-Kesson said the High Court must take care of all aspects of electoral disputes including those involving the creation of electoral constituencies.

Mr John Bosco Nabarese, First Deputy Judicial Secretary, announced that review of an Election Manual was in the process and added that the Judicial Service would train judges and lawyers to enable them to facilitate adjudication of electoral disputes.

He mentioned the speed at which electoral disputes were settled, and said that if the cases kept too long in court the public might lose interest in the court system.

Mr Nabarese said that the issue of the Supreme Court being made an election court should be subjected to further debate to ensure that the right thing was done.

Other participants agreed that the duration of cases was important and some suggested that special rules for settling electoral processes in court be put in place to speed the process to ensure shorter duration of electoral dispute cases.

Ms Daphne Lariba Nabila, Executive Director of Legal Resource Centre, organisers of the meeting, explained that the centre was seeking views on election disputes, to enhance the process and ensure that people understood and involved in the legal process of settling electoral disputes.

Source: GNA

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