Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe (left) and Justice W.A. Atuguba at the serminar yesterday

GHANAIAN JUDGES and magistrates yesterday met in Accra to discuss effective ways of executing their mandate under the Public Elections Regulations 2012, CI 72 on voting violence, sanctions and other responsibilities towards the general elections.

The one-day seminar, which was designed by the Judicial Training Institute, with funding support from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), was the first in the series to be organized throughout the country.

At the end of the seminar, the judges gained more knowledge on the overview of the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, CI 72, as they discussed the application of the law and various offences created under CI 72.

The participants also became familiar with the appropriate sanctions the judiciary had to apply whilst enforcing the law on electoral malpractices.

Parliament recently passed the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012, and CI 72 as part of efforts to improve the electoral regime.

The law creates various responsibilities for the judiciary as an institution, which requires building the capacity of judges and magistrates.

The seminar was therefore to ensure that the judiciary executed its mandates effectively under the Public Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations 2012.

Justice W.A Atuguba, Justice of the Supreme Court and Ag. Chief Justice, in a keynote address, noted that it was important for the judges in the country to be sensitized on their determination of cases that might arise by virtue of the biometric registration and the up-coming elections.

“With the coming into force of the Public Elections Registration of Voters Regulations 2012, CI 72 which deals with the biometric registration of voters, it means that new responsibilities have been placed on us to deliver justice in the country”, Justice Atuguba pointed out.

He urged the participants to fully participate in the seminar in order to update their knowledge and be effectively equipped to deal with cases that might arise in the implementation, and, or, application of CI 72.

“It is hoped that at the end of the session, our judges would be in a better position to apply the provisions of the new law to the cases that might arise in an efficient and expeditious manner that would enhance the acceptability of the voters.

“Our role in the electoral registration process, unlike that of some of our neighbouring countries, is not to validate the electoral list but to determine disputes and violations that might arise in the course of the registration of voters”, the Acting CJ noted.

He urged the participants to ensure that in the course of discharging their various roles, they would be fair and transparent.

“By so doing we would assure Ghanaians that we are in a position to defend and enforce the constitutional right of qualified voters to be registered”, he added.

According to Justice Atuguba, when judges were able to discharge their various roles effectively, they “would put to naught any suspicions” about the credibility of the voters’ list on which the national elections were to be conducted later in the year.

Justice Vincent Crabbe, a retired Supreme Court Judge who chaired the opening session of the seminar, also urged the participants to be fair and impartial in the discharge of their duties.

By Stella Danso Addai

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