Posted by: africanpressorganization | 28 January 2009

Liberia / UN Deputy Envoy urges rule of law actors to take the lead in justice sector reform




Liberia / UN Deputy Envoy urges rule of law actors to take the lead in justice sector reform


MONROVIA, Liberia, January 28, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Deputy Envoy, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu has urged Liberia’s rule of law actors to “claim their place in history by being in the driving seat of strengthening the rule of law and making a difference to the country’s post-war reconstruction efforts.” Ms. Mensa-Bonsu was speaking at the opening of a 5-day Strategic Development Planning Conference on 26 January in Accra, Ghana, organized with the aim of ‘drawing up an overarching roadmap’ for the Ministry of Justice over the next 3 to 5 years. The conference also seeks to refine the Ministry’s priorities and to reinforce the direction, continuity and effective leadership needed for the department.


The Deputy Envoy noted that while much progress had been made since the September 2008 National Rule of Law retreat in addressing structures for policy and implementation, they needed further definition in terms of benchmarks and timelines. She called on the forum to build on the momentum of the renewed dialogue between and amongst the principle actors in the justice sector, who until the September retreat had limited cooperation and collaboration.


“The challenge of tackling a sprawling Ministry with about 14 portfolios under its umbrella is enormous,” acknowledged Ms. Mensa-Bonsu. However, the strategic planning process was necessary as an important step in “determining the direction of development assistance and maximizing the use of donor funding in order to ensure that interventions and projects are essential, sustainable and in line with the priorities of the Liberian justice sector.”


In his opening statement, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General noted that the Ministry’s responsibilities transcend many institutions, and as such, it cannot operate in isolation of others in the justice sector. Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks, III urged the participants to focus on two critical elements – prosecution and security. “The goals and standards in the strategic plan would go a long way towards foreseeing difficulties such as those encountered recently during prison riots,” he said, and added that it would also serve as a basis for the Ministry to review its performance at every stage.


Ms. Mensa-Bonsu expressed her appreciation to the UK Security Sector Reform (SSR) Trust Fund, managed by UNDP for sponsoring the Conference and gave the assurance that under the rubric of the ‘One UN’ concept, “the entire UN family in Liberia remains deeply committed and ready to support and assist the Ministry to meet its daunting challenges and achieve its objectives.”


The sixty participants drawn from various segments of the Ministry of Justice will address a range of issues, including training, institutional structures, coordination between Ministry of Justice agencies, restructuring of the security sector organization, civilian oversight of security institutions and human rights.



SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia


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