A human rights organization, Her Voice Liberia has urged the government to strengthen the justice system with a specific in order to address the growing wave of rape cases across the country than subjecting perpetrators to capital punishment.
According to Attorney Margaret M. Nigba, Gender Rights Advocate and Executive Director of the organization, the fight against rape and other sexual and gender-based violence can only be successful if the prosecutorial arm of the government is strengthened: beginning with the empowering of the Liberian National Police to speedily and properly investigate cases of rape cases for court action.
“The government needs to assign more judges and prosecutors at Criminal Court E and establish such specialized court in all the counties to ensure that as many rape cases as possible are heard and decided simultaneously,” Atty. Nigba said in a press release. “Her Voice also wants the rape law amended to have strict lifetime imprisonment sentence for adult perpetrators who rape children that are less than eleven years old. Rape, in general, is cruel, the impact of rape on minors is so grave; therefore, the sentence for adults who rape minors should be hasher.”
Atty. Nigba, in addition, noted that empowering the police and ensuring that courts speedily handle rape and sexual-related offenses will lead to more gain in the fight against rape because “a well-structured, strong and strengthened system can more effectively fight rape and other sexual related offenses than capital punishment.”
“There should be a One-Stop Center in all the counties for nurses and other medical personnel to examine and provide medical reports on rape cases as quickly as possible,” she said.
She further frowned on Capital punishment, saying “it is prohibited by several international protocols and conventions to which Liberia is a signatory, and execution of death penalties could send bad signals of the country to the international community.”