Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice, Counselor Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, will this Friday, July 9 receive a Legume Master (LL.M) Degree in Transitional Crimes and Criminal Justice from the United Nations International Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) based in Turin, Italy.
Cllr Wesseh is the first Liberian to enroll and graduate from the university since its establishment in 1968.
The LL.M in Transitional Crimes and Justice is also offered offered at the University for Peace (UPEACE) based in Costa Rica. UNICRI was established in 1968 pursuant to Economic and Social Council Resolution 1086 of 1965 at the UN General Assembly, which urged an expansion of the United Nations activities in crime preventions and criminal justice. The institution is an autonomous of the UN and is governed by its Board of Trustees.
In an interview with the Daily Observer on July 7, Cllr Wesseh said, the LL.M in Transitional Crimes and Justice was offered in two phases; phase one being a distance learning that ran from November to January of 2020/2021.
The other phase, Wesseh noted, is the Residential Phase that is held on the United Nations Campus in Turin, Italy, which also runs from January to June 2021.
Minister Wesseh further noted that because of the surge in the COVID 19 in Europe to include Italy, "nearly all of the universities in Europe and Italy conducted their studies by zoom, including the Residential Phase where I am about to become the first Liberian to have graduated from.”
With this policy by the Italian Government, Wesseh said, the UNICRI residential phase for academic 2020/2021 was conducted remotely on zoom or webinar running three to four hours every weekday from January 28 up to and including June 26, 2021.
"The graduation ceremony will be held in Turin, after a significant declined in COVID 19 infestation in Europe," Wesseh disclosed, though he will not attend the occasion due to traveling restriction for COVID-19.
Wesseh also used the opportunity to appreciate Justice Minister and Attorney General, Counselor Frank Musa Dean, and Solicitor General Counselor Sayma Cephus for assisting him with his workload while attending his daily classes.
According to Wesseh, the study was very tedious, particularly wherever he took up assignment outside of Monrovia where internet service was difficult to access.
"But thank God that I was able to continue with my study even when I almost became a dropout from the initial stages because of the intensity of the zoom studies, while at the same time attending functions regularly," Minister Wesseh explained.
UNICRI is one of the world foremost centers for Criminal Justice and law Enforcement and its LL.M is designed for lawyers, judges, young professionals and university graduates wishing to specialize in the fields of Competitive Criminal laws, International Law, International humanitarian law, international criminal law, Public International law and procedure, international human rights law, international law dimensions of peace and conflicts, transnational crimes and an in-depth knowledge on the theoretical and practical aspects related to the investigation, and the adjudication of international atrocities crimes and human rights violations.
It provides overall comprehension of the functioning of international criminal Court(Rome Statute), special and hybrid courts and their legacy to national courts; familiarity with the principle of rule of law and thorough understanding of the interdisciplinary processes and mechanisms related to transitional justice and justice reform in post-conflict situations and countries in transitions; unique insights into the policies and tools of the United Nations, other international organizations as well as national bodies for the prevention, investigation, control and punishment of transnational organized crime and transnational crimes such as corruption, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, environmental crime, terrorism, and cybercrime.