By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has launched a new program gear toward the justice and security system of Liberia.
The program which is being implemented by IREDD with funding from its partner, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was launched Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at its head office in Sinkor.
Speaking during the launch and the validation session of the program, IREDD Executive Director, Harold Aidoo said the program seeks to promote accountability within the justice and security sector of the country.
Aidoo stated that as part of efforts leading to the inception of the project’s activities, IREDD has conducted the review of several laws within the criminal justice system of Liberia.
“As part of efforts leading to the inception of the project’s activities, we have conducted the review of several laws within the criminal justice system of Liberia and have developed indicators to monitor the justice and security system processes and administration of unbiased justice,” Aidoo noted.
The IREDD Executive Director asserted that the validation process of the project aimed at getting stakeholders’ input and refining the monitoring indicators, the project has identified three key players or institutions in the administration of unbiased justice with the justice and security sector of Liberia.
Aidoo named the Magisterial Courts, the Circuit Courts and the Liberia National Police (LNP) as those areas, adding that their respective roles and functions within the justice system of Liberia are being are been earmarked to be keenly monitored.
He indicated that the mandate of this project is to propose an intervention that seeks to monitor the performance of the justice and security institutions as well as monitoring and identifying police cells to find out issues regarding pretrial detention, adherence to the law with regard to arrest, charging and detention and to use the finding to produce quarterly score cards for the justice and security sector of the country.
“We will also use the findings to raise awareness among relevant policy actors within the judiciary, security sector, legislature, facilitate platform for engagement around monitoring, findings and advocate for reform as well as raising awareness of the citizenry on their fundamental and constitutional rights and other pressing legal issues which would eventually enhance their knowledge to demand access and affordability of justice using the justice system,” Aidoo stressed.
IREDD boss indicated that the project targets three counties as a startup and those counties are Montserrado, Grand Gedeh and Lofa Counties, thus, the project targets six magisterial courts, five circuit courts and eight police stations within those three counties.
He clarified that the selection of the courts are based on what he calls geographic locations, diversity of issues and access to justice, noting that the Monrovia city court, the Careysburg magisterial court, New Kru magisterial court, Zwedru magisterial court and Voinjama magisterial court are some of the courts to be monitored during the project within those three counties.
He also named the police stations as zone 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in Montserrado County and the Voinjama and Zwedru police stations in Lofa and Grand Gedeh Counties respectively.
Aidoo revealed that in getting the project executed, IREDD seeks to work with clerks of various courts, circuit judges, senior officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP), city solicitors and public defenders in order to obtain the necessary information.
Aidoo further said IREDD would work with correction officers to know the duration of the inmates whether they are serving their require time and the crimes and charges on which they were convicted into prison as part of its approaches in the execution of the project.