General News of Sunday, 21 October 2018
Source: Kofi Owusu Akoto
President Akufo Addo says his administration is determined to promote the rights of all Ghanaian citizens in the spirit of the constitution and to work tirelessly to address the legislature and policy loopholes in the justice delivery system of the country.
Addressing attendees of the Awards Dinner in celebration of 10 years of the Justice For All Programme (JFAP), held under the theme, JFAP – A Unique Model for Fair Trial and Prisons Decongestion; Achievements, Challenges and Prospects, President Akufo Addo, quoting the 35th President of the United States of America, J.F. Kennedy who once said, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened,” added that Ghana cannot be a nation where some are under the shed of freedom and justice while others are without its protective shade. To this end, the President said it is the desire of government to ensure that every Ghanaian gets equal access to the institutions of justice in the country.
“If we are to achieve our aims of economic advancement and social progress, then we must all have equal access to the institutions of justice and the benefit of speedy, efficient and fair resolution of disputes by judicial processes,” the President said.
The President commended former Attorney General and current Minister for Railways, Joe Ghartey, for establishing the Justice For All Programme in 2007 when he was the serving Attorney General under President John Kufour’s administration. He expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to former Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, for sustaining the programme and placing it directly under the Office of the Chief Justice during her tenure. To the sitting Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, the President registered his appreciation to her for intensifying the operations of the programme and guiding the introduction of the first draft of the Non-Custodial Sentencing Policy Bill. By way of thanks, the President finally appreciated Court Of Appeal judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, for his coordination of the programme.
The Judicial Service of Ghana, in collaboration with POS Foundation and DANIDA, organized the awards dinner to recognize lawyers, judges, state and private institutions, journalists and Judicial Service staff who have in various ways contributed to the success and sustenance of the programme throughout the ten (10) years of its existence.
THE JFA PROGRAMME
The Justice for all Programme (JFAP) was established in 2007 by then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joe Gartey. The JFAP has as its main objective to decongest the country’s prisons and promote prisoner rights, especially those of remand prisoners. The programme involves the setting up of special courts at the prisons where prisoners whose cases meet the criteria of the programme are reviewed. The JFAP has been beneficial to the vulnerable and poor who find themselves in detention for one reason or another and are unable to afford the legal fees and so self-represent or remain unrepresented.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as POS Foundation, Churchill, HelpLaw and the Gimpa Law Faculty and some public-spirited individual lawyers are the wind beneath the wings of the programme. Funding for the programme is received from international bodies such as the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Star Ghana, the Department for International Development (DFID), the British High Commission, the European Union, among others.