The John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital Tuesday, 10 April receives a deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA machine from the United Nations Mission in Liberia.
DNA is an acid in the chromosomes in the centre of the cells of living things that determines the particular structure and functions of every cell and is responsible for characteristics being passed on from parents to their children. In short, it is the carrier of genetic information.
Turning the machine over to the new JFK administration in Monrovia, the Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
to Liberia, Uchenna Emelony, notes that as defined under Security Council Resolution 2239 (2015) Sexual Gender Based Violence is part of UNMIL’s operative to strengthening government’s efforts in combating impunity for perpetrators of such crime.
Country Rep. Emelony says UNMIL provides the DNA testing machine to the Government of Liberia to ensure more expedited and cost effective investigations and efficient prosecution of SGBV and related crimes.
The Representative of UNMIL Human Rights Protection Service, Melvin Nyanway, says as a result of a nationwide survey, rape is being recognized as a global crime, and that access to justice on rape cases at court is seriously hampering many of the cases.
“Prior to receiving this DNA machine, specimens of rape cases are to be sent out of the country thus, impeding the speedy trial of cases”, he notes. He continues that the procurement of the DNA machine will increasingly provide speedy trial of rape cases across the country.
According to him, there have been cases of SGBV that went unprosecuted because of the way the Judiciary has cried of no evidence, adding that the machine will help to advance the Justice System in Liberia.
Mr. Nyanway calls on lawyers in Liberia to respect results that come from the machine in a very collective way, instate of discrediting it. He stresses that he expects judges across the country to give more weight to evidence adduced in court.
Also speaking, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Willamette Saydee Tarr, describes the donation as one of the best things that have even happened for them, particularly for the level work they are mandated to do at the Ministry.
According to the Minister, there have been issues with the SGBV that they have been seeking thru the court system but one key problem has always been lack of proof, so now that such machine is available, rape cases would be easily and scientifically proven before court, hoping that those that would be trained to do the job will have Liberia at heart and see perpetrators face justice.
Receiving the DNA machine, the Chief Medical Officer of JFK, Doctor Jerry F. Brown, thanks UNMIL for the donation and expresses delight, but notes that machine would pose a challenge to the integrity of the Medical Center, noting that the care and safeguard for it will further test our integrity.
“Though we have started the renovation of the Laboratory, but we will fast track the process in order to provide adequate safety to the DNA machine”, Doctor Brown assures.
He calls on the Ministry of Gender to count on the JFK, as Management would ensure credible results. Doctor Brown, who was named Times Magazine Personality for 2015, for his excellent fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease encourages the public and the media to always visit the Medical Center for factual information about the institution.
At the same time, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Doctor Peter Coleman, who represented the committee on gender, says the donation of the equipment would provide scientific evidence to rape cases, which will help to adjudicate rape cases. He thanks UNMIL for “such a wonderful donation.”
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne