Four-Day Prison Court Exercise to Fast-Track Delayed Cases

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By Esther Wright

The Judiciary of Sierra Leone has commenced a four-day Prison Court exercise to fast-track delayed cases in the criminal justice system. This initiative aims to address legal delays for inmates awaiting trial. Judges will review cases at various correctional centers to identify and resolve reasons for delays, ensuring progress in hearings.

They will also assess whether magistrates have exceeded their sentencing powers and examine cases of inmates detained beyond their maximum sentences, those facing prolonged adjournments, and those awaiting trial without indictments. The initiative is expected to address over 800 cases, reducing the criminal justice backlog and ensuring timely justice.

In a workshop on 5th Generation Justice Sector Reform Strategy
Technical staff from various justice sector institutions gathered for a two-day workshop to develop Sierra Leone’s 5th Generation Justice Sector Reform Strategy. Convened by the Attorney General’s Office through the Justice Sector Coordination Office (JSCO), the strategy aims to increase access to justice, improve case management, expedite justice, strengthen human rights, and enhance service delivery. The strategy will follow a people-centered approach, emphasizing human rights, gender sensitivity, and child-friendly justice.

In terms of Consultations on New Mediation Law Underway the Law Reform Commission is conducting nationwide consultations to develop a Mediation Law for Sierra Leone. The proposed Bill will facilitate civil and commercial dispute resolution through mediation, establish mediation centers across the country, and regulate mediation proceedings. This initiative aims to improve access to justice, especially in rural areas, expedite justice delivery, and reduce the court system’s case burden.

In another development, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, along with his team, appeared before the Parliamentary Legislative Committee to discuss and clarify the revised Criminal Process Bill. The updated Criminal Procedure Act is expected to have a significant positive impact on Sierra Leone’s criminal justice system.

It must be noted that the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs held discussions to review the Child Rights Act, reform the juvenile justice system, coordinate responses to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) crimes, and strengthen access to justice for women. These discussions aim to enhance the legal framework protecting children and women in Sierra Leone.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued an advisory opinion affirming that under Article 202 of the Convention, States Parties are obligated to assist developing states, particularly vulnerable ones, in addressing marine pollution from anthropogenic GHG emissions. Sierra Leone, represented by Deputy Minister of Justice Alpha Sesay and a team of international law experts, participated in the proceedings. Attorney General Mohamed Lamin Tarawally praised the Tribunal’s interpretation of international law regarding state obligations for marine environmental damage.


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