The executive director of Alliance for Women Advancement (ALWA) has underscored the importance of an accused having access to justice before serving a jail sentence.
Madam Henrietta F. Martor said strengthening justice actors’ capacities remain cardinal to improving investigation and documentation for Liberia’s justice system.
Madam Martor made the remarks on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 during the start of a two-day capacity building workshop for justice actors, which brought together 30 participants. The training is aimed at enhancing beneficiaries’ capacities to reinforce the prosecution of cases, including sexual and gender based-violence (SGBV).
“We want to see that Liberia’s justice system is improved, because if you have people in the justice system and their capacities are not built, it becomes a difficult problem for the society to improve. The people will not be able to handle problems properly, especially the right to justice,” Madam Martor said.
She charged participants to properly investigate and properly prosecute an accused person.
“We also want justice actors to speedily prosecute cases, because most of the time, there is problem with overcrowding in prisons around the country,” Madam Martor said.
She observed that people are in jail without being given a fair trial or indicted without any hope of getting access to justice.
She said reviewing pretrial detainees’ files is cardinal to reduce the overcrowding in prison centers.
Those who benefited from the training included people from the Liberia National Police (LNP), Bureau of Corrections, magistrates and prosecutors from Margibi and Montserrado counties.
Edmond Baryor, a participant who also represents the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police (WCPS-LNP), said the training will serve as a boost to his work, because it is a reminder of his responsibilities.
“Sometimes we forget about responsibilities or tasks given to us. The refresher training is actually necessary for the police, because it will help to remind us of what we should be doing. Since departing from the LNP’s academy, many of us have not had the opportunity to attend any other training,” officer Baryor said.
He stressed the need to extend the training to other officers, including traffic officers, patrol officers and not just officers of the women and children section.
“It is challenging for us to handle women and children issues due to lack of equipment. Sometimes cases are reported and it is hard to facilitate the complainants to even bring the person at the station,” officer Baryor said.
The program was funded by United Nations Development Program (UNDP).