By: Zazay Kolubah
The German Embassy near Monrovia has renewed its commitment to working closely with the Ministry of Justice to address critical issues affecting the corrections system of Liberia.
The embassy revealed that serious attention will be paid to tackling pretrial detention and improving services for inmates.
The Embassy has committed to support, promote the campaign for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program of the Ministry of Justice.
German Ambassador Hurbert Jager said the move aims to promote peaceful coexistence amongst the local populace and improve programs of the Bureau of Corrections which will add more value to Liberia’s Justice and Security Sectors.
Ambassador Jager made the commitment recently in an exchange at the Justice Ministry when he paid a courtesy call to Justice Minister Fredrick Cherue as the new German Ambassador to Liberia.
Minister Cherue in response expressed confidence in a cordial working relationship with the German Embassy; the Minister welcomed and congratulated the new German envoy to Liberia.
The Justice Minister recalled the long standing relationship between Liberia and Germany which he said has boosted trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries and promoted peacebuilding in Liberia.
The German based GTZ was highly commended by the Minister for reaching out to people in remote parts of the country responding to service needs and creating job opportunities.
On Justice and Security, the Liberian Attorney General said the fight against corruption and improving programs of the Bureau of Corrections remains top priorities of the government.
He said, the Liberian Government has not lost focus on improving and making the system work, but the challenges matched with the responsibilities make it a herculean task and sometimes delay deliverables.
The Minister said the renewed partnership will accelerate the government’s ongoing plan for a smooth security transition that is currently being led by the Ministry of Justice.
According to the Minister Cherue, the Liberian Government, under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is still committed to fighting corruption head-on and that is why it continues to clean-up its own system by instituting and amending policies, prosecuting, and reprimanding top and middle level officials in all sectors of government to discourage misconduct.
“ As part of this measure, we have and will continue to train and employ professional personnel with integrity in the Justice and Security Sector like the Police, Immigration, Defense, the Bureau of Corrections and the Drug Enforcement Agency to timely respond to unrest in the public space”, Cherue said.
According to the Liberia Attorney General, these personnel have always pledged to take on the mantle of security responsibilities passed on by UNMIL.
At the level of the community, Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) are taking root and the people are peacefully setting their differences.
This method dispute resolutions of prevents people from going to court and subsequently reduces inmates population in prison.
The influx of inmates leads to over crowdedness of prison.
The County Security Council still works to monitor threats against the peace and report to the appropriate authorities in the counties for action.
Present at the dialogue were Deputy Justice Ministry for Administration and Public Safety, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon-Barnes; Deputy Justice Minister for Economic Affairs, Cllr. Harriette Blamo; the Justice and Security Joint Program Manager, Joyce Frankfort; and the Director of Prison, Edwin F. Mcgill.
The Justice Ministry official pledged their commitment to support the renewed partnership with the German Embassy, stressing that the country is at a crossroad standing with arms opened to welcome well-meaning partners like the German Government to realize a full transition to lasting peace.
The newly appointed German Ambassador recounted his long years of service in the peacebuilding and diplomatic realm while working for his government in Rwanda, South Africa, Afghanistan and other parts of Asia and the Americas.
Ambassador Jager has been in Liberia four weeks and is praising Liberia as a beautiful country with receptive people.
He said his visit to the ministry was part of similar visits to strategic government offices to get firsthand knowledge of the governance and democratic system of Liberia and to formularize himself with people he will directly work with.
Paramount in his quest was to encourage peaceful and fair elections that will usher in the new government in 2017.
He urged Liberians to hold the core of unity and peace regardless of their differences.