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Justice for Children in Ghana: a Comparative Analysis of Modern and Tribal Mechanisms

Student: Christopher Lartey

Supervisor: Ksenia Gerasimova

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Political Analysis and Public Policy (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

In the justice-for-children delivery system in Ghana, there are two complementing systems that operate side by side to ensure that, children who are in contact with the law, either as offenders, witnesses, victims or beneficiaries are treated with dignity and respect. These two systems are the modern justice for children system and the tribal/ informal/ traditional justice for children system. Within these systems are institutions and actors who work to achieve ideal justice-for-children outcomes. The main aim of the study is to find out if the actors in the justice for children delivery system has influence on the outcome of access to justice for children. In order to better understand the behaviour of actors within their institutions, the study adopted a neo-institutionalism theory and an actor-centered institutionalism theory. The thesis highlighted the institutional settings of justice institutions in both modern and tribal/ informal/ traditional justice systems and also identified the orientations and capabilities of actors in influencing justice-for-children outcomes. Actor constellations, and modes of interaction were also put under scrutiny for both modern and tribal/ informal justice systems to know how actors operate. The study has also drawn functional and collaborative linkages between the modern/ modern and tribal/ informal/ traditional justice-for-children systems to find out if there are points of convergence. The thesis concludes that, in applying the Domain of Interaction-Oriented Policy Framework, actors actually have influence on the justice-for-children outcomes in Ghana.

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