Judiciary of Sierra Leone Communications, CJ Chambers, Main Law Courts Building, Freetown, 6th May 2021. The newly appointed United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, has on his first courtesy visit on the Honourable Chief Justice, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, assured to strengthen cooperation with the judiciary.
Speaking today in the Chambers of the Hon. Chief Justice, the US Ambassador said that his visit is part of his familiarization tour to key decision makers in Sierra Leone to foster goodwill and solidarity.
He said, “we have a good history of cooperation between the two countries through the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US/INL) program,” noting that he had received reports of remarkable progress made in the justice sector.
“Before I came here, I spoke with representatives from INL in Washington and they were pleased with the program and the progress that’s being made and certainly, we would want to continue, if not that particular program, but another program.” He disclosed that his government is open to helping the judiciary address its priority needs.
The US/INL program is a US funded project, implemented by other partners such as the UNDP to primarily supporting the “From Prisons to Correctional Project,” improving the institutional capacity of Correctional Facilities in accordance with International Human Rights standards; strengthening the capabilities of Correctional Staff to improve inmates and staff welfare and to ensure rehabilitation mechanisms for suitable reintegration of inmates in society among others.
Receiving the US Ambassador, the Honorable Chief Justice stated that the Judiciary’s top areas of priority ranged from improving access to justice and enhancing expeditious trials.
He said the Judiciary has established the first Sexual Offences Model Court with huge success stories, noting that plans are under way to replicate same in other parts of the country. He said even though funds are being provided by the current government, their hands are widely opened to receive support to establish the Sexual Offences Model Court across the country.
“The President has waged war on rape and other sexual offences and we should be improving our investigators as well as the Medical Doctors because they provide the evidence that come to court for the successful prosecution of cases,” the Hon. Chief Justice said. He continued that they are in dire need of support to establish the Courts across the country.
While commending the US government for their support to the justice sector in reforming the Criminal Procedure Act, providing training for judicial as well as Law Officers and the INL program, the Hon. Chief Justice said they will welcome any support from the US government.
The visit was concluded with the handing over of the Judiciary’s maiden magazine to the US Ambassador and the inspection of the Sexual offences model Court and other facilities at the main Law Courts building.
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