“There is no greater threat to a free and democratic country than a government that fails to protect its citizens’ freedom and liberty as aggressively as it pursues justice” -President Akufo-Addo.
When Mr. Joe Ghartey, then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, initiated the human-faced programme of ‘Justice for All’ in 2007, little did he know that he had introduced an innovation in justice delivery, which is very dear to all those who cherish human rights.
It was, therefore, not surprising that the former Chief Justice, Her Lordship Georgina Theodora Wood, also sustained the programme during her administration.
Another justice delivery personality answering to the name of Sophia A. B. Akuffo, who is the current Chief Justice, also found the ‘Justice for All’ programme very useful and intensified its activities to the extent of introducing the first draft of non-custodial sentence.
The mission of the programme is simply to review cases involving prisoners, so that those who find themselves victims of palpable injustice are made to go through fair retrials.
Others who have been in custody without trial for many years also receive justice under the programme, which may recommend their release.
In our part of the world, justice is a very costly commodity which the poor and less privileged are unable to purchase.
It is always the rich and those who find themselves in influential positions who subject the poor and less privileged sons and daughters of this transitory life to bouts of injustices.
Thus, there are situations in which a white-collar thief, who steals government funds in millions and even billions in cash, is set free by our courts, while those common thieves who steal a bunch of plantain may be jailed.
Yes, that is the result of the phenomenon of ‘where power lies,’ used by those who think the world must necessarily show obeisance to them, just because they have wealth, no matter whether it is wealth acquired through corruption of all types.
The Chronicle finds the practice of keeping alleged law-breakers in custody for many years without trial unacceptable, because it is a sure case of human rights abuses against the victims.
Does this mean there are no nailing evidences against them? If so, why should they be allowed to languish within the unfriendly walls of prisons?
Against this sordid background, The Chronicle highly commends Mr. Joe Ghartey, who initiated the programme ‘Justice for All’, and urges the government to solidly back it with relevant inputs to save some people from languishing in prisons for injustices done them.