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Justice Ministry seeks amendment in criminal law

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Justice Minister Frank M. Dean said amending the Criminal Procedure Law of Liberia will further strengthen the criminal justice system of the country.

The Attorney-General said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) engaged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2018 to support amendment of Chapter 16, sub-section 16.4, Chapter 3, Section 3.8 and Chapter 10 Section 10.2, 10.4 and 10.6, respectively of the Criminal Procedure Law. He made the disclosure Friday at a one-day consultative meeting which brought together participants from the UNDP and other UN agencies, officials of government and representatives of civil society held at a local hotel in Sinkor.

He indicated that the Ministry of Justice, knowing the significance of improving the Criminal Justice System decided to include the amendment of Chapter 12 Section 12.1 and 12.2 and Section 3.6 of the New Judiciary Law.

He pointed out that these chapters to be amended will provide for plea bargaining, amending the quarterly Circuit Courts’ term to a bi-annual term, provision of authority and arrest, appointment of additional Relieving judges for Circuit Courts and provision for a standard on preliminary examination in cases above the trial jurisdiction of magistrates and justices of the peace.

Minister Dean stressed that the Ministry of Justice considers the amendment of these chapters of the Criminal Procedure Law as a milestone, adding that amending these chapters in the Criminal Procedure Law will address challenges of prolonged pre-trial detection and dockets over crowdedness.

He expressed appreciation to the Rule of Law joint program supported by UNDP and OHCHR and the Government of Sweden through its embassy here in achieving this process.

“We can assure you of our commitments to engage the Legislature to amend these chapters of the Criminal Procedure Law after your inputs”, Minister Dean added. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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