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Support to the Liberian Justice Sector

Ending in February 2023, the five-year Support to the Liberian Justice Sector program aimed to address historic challenges facing the Liberian Judiciary, including a lack of independence, insufficiently qualified personnel and weak administration, poor infrastructure, and prolonged pretrial detention leading to deficient access to justice and due process. To address these needs, the program enhanced oversight and accountability and improved administration of justice. Specifically, ABA ROLI identified ten areas in which activities building the rule of law in Liberia should be focused on -- including, establishing a robust case filing system, decentralizing the judicial system, improving public awareness, and introducing alternative sanctions.

In 2023, ABA ROLI concluded activities by implementing a final Court Clerks’ training and producing and distributing a pamphlet for individuals to understand their rights. The training session was focused on strengthening their capacities in recording and file management procedures. During the session, participants were introduced to topics such as the Standard Operating Procedure for Clerks of Court; the New Standardized Recordkeeping System; Case Transfers between Magisterial, Circuit, and Supreme Courts; the structure of the Liberian Judiciary; and general administration and office management skills. For many clerks, this training session was their first official training in the court clerk career.

Support to the Magistrate Sitting Program and other interventions designed to relieve individuals who had been held long past legal maximums resulted in the release, bail, or faster handling of hundreds of people, reducing their time in detention overall. ABA ROLI’s activities improved resources and legal processes, particularly regarding the legal form of plea bargaining. Many of the resources like Standard Operating Processes and Procedures, anti-corruption signs, radio jingles, radio shows, pamphlets, and the Liberian law compilation volumes. Each of these efforts help justice sector actors perform their duties and increase the public’s access to legal process far beyond the project’s lifecycle.