UNDP on Friday March 25, handed over a newly constructed and furnished Magisterial Court to the Judiciary, in the presence of local officials and residents of Yarpah Town, Rivercess County.
The court will increase the number of magisterial courts in the county to two, reducing the need to travel far to seek justice, thereby increasing access to justice for the residents of Yarpah.
“Before the construction of the Magisterial Court, residents of the Central Rivercess Statutory District had to travel several miles on extremely bad roads, at a high cost, to access the only other court in Cestos,” said Stephen Rodriques, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Liberia.
“Sadly, the residents were in many cases compelled to forego their rights to justice, including in cases of rape and other gender-based violence. With this new Magisterial Court, the people of Yarpah Town will now be able to fully pursue justice without the burden of having to travel miles to appear in court,” he added.
Speaking from the 14th Judiciary Circuit Court in Rivercess County, His Honor Onesimus Barwon stated that he was gratified that the magisterial court would not only increase the number of court houses in the county, but also reduce the time and money spent by residents who had to travel to Cestos to access justice.
“Bringing the court closer to the people of Yarpah Town increases access to justice and immensely reduces the stress and hardship previously endured in the quest for justice,” said Hon. Onesimus Barwon.
UNDP, at the request of the Judiciary, constructed and furnished the Magisterial Court in Yarpah Town. The project was implemented through the UN Rule of Law Joint Programme – Phase II (2020-2023), which is geared towards enhancing the capacities of, and public confidence in, rule of law institutions, as well as strengthening access to justice and security, especially for women and girls.
The Joint Rule of Law Programme seeks to address key developmental challenges by creating an enabling environment for the promotion of the rights of women and children, and gender equality. It also works to enhance the physical and legal protection, and psychological wellbeing of people, communities and civil society, and their access to justice.
The Joint UN Rule of Law Programme supports an enabling environment for growth and development by strengthening transparency institutions to increase accountability and combat corruption while introducing policy and structural reforms to ensure the judiciary and relevant law enforcement agencies—in close collaboration with other relevant sectors—provide timely, credible, predictable and acceptable responses to crimes and legal disputes.