The Governance Commission over the weekend, held its 13th Policy Dialogue on “Reforming Prosecution to Meet Post-Conflict Challenges”, featuring the Minister of Justice, Counsellor Christiana H. Tah as presenter.
The event brought together key personalities from the Liberian Legislature, the Judiciary, the Land Reform Commission, the Liberian Bar Associationand representatives from the international community, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), among others.
In her presentation, Minister Tah stressed that establishing the rule of law has been top priority for the current government since its inception in 2006. She said that some of the strides the Government has made in establishing the rule of law include a Magistrate Sitting Programme, Joint Police Training Programme, adjudication of sex crimes, Pre-trial Detention Task Force, increase in the justice and security hub and in the number of prosecutors, as well as an improvement in jury law. Despite the major inroads made in improving the rule of law, Counselor Tah highlighted some vexing challenges, among which were a poor case management system, systemic corruption, overcrowded court dockets and prisons, illicit drug trade, gun smuggling, mercenarism, human trafficking, cyber crimes, transnational crimes and an increase in bank fraud.
The comments and questions that followed Minister Tah’s presentation covered such diverse issues as the need to enhance the law school curriculum to cover cyber crime, a reform of the appellate system, accessibility to legal redress for ordinary Liberians, and treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome for Liberians as a result of the 14-year Liberian Civil War, and the practice of arresting in order to conduct police investigation..
On the importance and role of the Governance Commission’s Policy Dialogues, Commissioner Ruth Jappah, who heads the Commission’s National Integrity Mandate Area said: “Policy-related discourse benefits from the involvement of a broader range of stakeholders. Today’s policies are the foundations for tomorrow.”