Amnesty Int'l pushes for consistent education to tackle mob justice

File photo[/caption] Country Director of Amnesty International Robert Akoto Amoafo says it will take consistent education and reminders to effect behavioral change amongst members of the society to refrain from meting out mob justice. He made this comment in an interview on 3FM‘s Sunrise morning show in commemoration of the second year anniversary of the death of Major Maxwell Adams Mahama, who was lynched by a mob in Denkyira Obuasi while on official duty. Immediately following his death, there was massive public discourse on curbing the issue of mob justice. Two years down the line, the issue of mob action or justice still persists. Speaking about this menace, Mr. Amoafo said the problem still persists because there is not enough public education on the matter. “If you want to change a culture, it is difficult to only depend on the limited resources of government and civil society organization. “It also behoves on traditional leaders, religious leaders in those communities, in every community for that matter, to use it as part of their sermon, as part of their education to preach justice that is through a well reserved system that has been set down.” According to him, people were frustrated with the fact that they don’t get the justice they need through the legal process. “They don’t have the patience to go through the justice system that we have. Another one is just sheer pain from past experiences; people saying they have been robbed before or have experienced a relative or someone who had experienced some armed robbery or died in the process. “So they think that is the only way they can have justice back to themselves,” he explained. He was, however, supportive of the legal process taken against the perpetrators of the gruesome murder of Major Mahama. “I think it was a very good step in the processes of sending the people to court and for advertising it, making us aware of what could happen to anybody when the person does that but I think that we can do more. ‘We can do more in the sense that we need further education, we need people to understand that they can’t take the law into their own hands.”

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Legal perspective A former police personnel and private legal practitioner, Francis Baah, who was also on the show, noted that there was nothing like “instant Justice”, and that is the reason why it seems justice grinds slow. According to him, the society needs orientation to understand that when it comes to court justice system, things run slowly. “So when they become impatient, they think that the police, maybe, are compromised, they are not assisting, they are not helping. The police, we are limited. Once it goes to court you don’t have control again,” he explained. “I will also not say that maybe the police we are 100% perfect, we are not. So the complainant will feel frustrated, he is not happy; so next time something like that happens, then he wants to seek revenge and be satisfied,” he said. He noted that making all offense bailable was affecting the justice system and fueling the distrust in the justice delivery system. Granting a suspect of a crime bail on the first visit to court, according to him, was unbearable for some victims. By Paul Selorm Agbo| |Ghana  ]]>