Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has described as “groundbreaking” the launch of the Case Tracking System on Tuesday.
Speaking at a ceremony to launch the system under the theme ‘Electronic Case-Tracking Project; a Collaborative Effort’ Dr. Bawumia said “the prospects for justice delivery with a successful implementation of this project will be invaluable. Actually, this is a very big deal for Ghana.”
According to him, timely dispensation of justice is a challenge in many parts of the world which Ghana is no exception, giving credence to the perception that the criminal justice system in Ghana has for a long time suffered from the “weak” inter-institutional coordination and communication among the key stakeholders including the Police, the Attorney General’s Office, the Judiciary and the Prisons.
Another major issue affecting the criminal justice system, he disclosed is the old ways and means of delivering justice which the Case Tracking System aims to cure.
“The Judiciary reportedly has been slow to accepting automation techniques for Information Technology to speed up the wheels of justice delivery,” stated Dr. Bawumia in his address as the guest of honour.
He continued, “There is nothing routine about dispensing justice, and there is nothing to be taken for granted. Your every day decisions and administrative processes are consequential for the lives of the many citizens and body corporates who appear before you every day.”
According to him, the challenge of how to deal with the existence of the huge backlog of cases in the justice sector has been a concern for citizens and government and in addition to other factors “many will submit have affected the various steps involved in the justice delivery equation from the arrest of suspects or receipt of the complaint through investigation, charging, prosecution, trial and punishment.”
He said “along this justice chain, the capacity to track the location and status of cases has been a major problem” creating fertile grounds for corruption by individuals in each of the key steps in the justice chain, resulting in undue delays, loss of files and clogging of the criminal justice system with excessive court case loads and backlogs.
These challenges, Dr. Bawumia bemoaned sadly have led to many remand prisoners suffering from long periods behind bars before they can have their days in court, exacerbating prison overcrowding.
“It is therefore heartwarming” he said “to note that this Case Tracking system that we are launching today with the help of our partners from the USAIDs will to address the bottlenecks and help reduce delays, loss of files and various debilitating factors in the justice delivery processes to the barest minimum.”
The project, he said is line with other interventions in the justice delivery sector with the overall objective harnessing Information Communication Technology to address delays and boost the robustness of Ghana’s judicial processes.