A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Jones Dotse, has called for the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in conflict prevention and resolution.
According to him, litigation rather deepened conflicts instead of resolving them “because some people start the dispute from the District Court, appeal to the High Court, the Court of Appeal, then finally the Supreme Court.
When that happens, there is bitterness in the concerned parties and they resort to other forms of settlement on their own,” he explained.
Speaking on the topic “Support for skills for out of court settlement: the Hope for Ghana and Africa” at the fourth graduation ceremony of the Centre For Peace And Reconciliation in Accra, Justice Dotse stressed the need for traditional systems of adjudication where traditional leaders steered conflict resolution.
“When you complain to your chief or headman, he invites all parties involved and informal discussions are held.
They take their time and the resolution comes with the input of all the parties involved.
They ask you whether you agree or not and once judgement is pronounced, it is accepted and there is always peace,” he indicated.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Enumerating reasons why ADR should be prioritised in conflict resolution, Justice Dotse said it ensured disputes were prevented in a cheaper, safer, easily accessible, friendlier and a more constructive manner.
“It also has advantages such as privacy controlled by the parties themselves, speed and affordability.
It provides any legally mandated body with appropriate expression and power to resolve any unresolved disputes after exhausting earlier opportunities.
“The best dispute resolution mechanism is primarily that which has the ability to function to perfection in a particular geographical location,” he explained.
Speaking on the topic “Consumed Approach, the future of integrated alternative dispute and conflict resolution” the Founder of the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Dr Emmanuel Hopeson, said the reason mediation sometimes failed in conflict resolution was because disputants were charged with emotions.
According to him, disputants in conflict situations had emotional needs such as perceived threats of loss, validation of self-worth, respect for personality and identity which if not resolved made conflict resolution difficult.
To solve that problem, Dr Hopeson suggested the use of CounsMed Methodology, which he explained as a hybrid of counselling and mediation aimed at dealing with the emotions of disputants.
“CounsMed Methodology has the professional skills and the tools to deal with emotions, including losses, wounded pride and anger.
It helps disputants to unlearn wrong behavioural reflexes and replace them with positive conciliatory behaviour that can facilitate sustainable resolution.
It also brings added value to the practice of ADR,” he explained.
One hundred and twenty-nine individuals were presented with Foundational and Advanced Certificates in Alternative Dispute Conflict Resolution, CounsMed Approach.
The immediate past Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Professor Kwadwo Opoku Onyinah, and the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lt Gen. Obed Akwa, were among the dignitaries who graced the graduation ceremony.
Source : graphic.com.gh