Liberian Leader Dedicates Criminal Court ‘E’

Wednesday, 3rd December 2008
President Sirleaf and Chief Justice Lewis inspecting newly renovated criminal court
President Sirleaf and Chief Justice Lewis inspecting newly renovated criminal court "E"
Photo Credit: Executive Mansion/James Garressen
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed the establishment of a court in the country to handle sexual violence cases. Speaking Wednesday at the dedication ceremony of Criminal Court ‘E’ at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, the President observed that governance and the rule of law continue to pose challenges in Government’s overall efforts to meet its development priorities.  The President noted that unless practical measures are put in place to entrench the rule of law, setbacks are inevitable in the nation's development.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader praised the government of Denmark for providing funds for the renovation of the court.  The President expressed hope that the establishment of the court will help confront the increasing wave of sexual violence in the country.  She said the fight against gender violence must claim the attention of all, assuring victims of sexual violence that Government will continue to institute measures to confront the problem.

Chief Justice, His Honor Johnnie Lewis, lauded the Danish government for its support in rehabilitating the facilities. Chief Justice Lewis noted that Denmark’s continuous support, which focuses on protecting and safeguarding the rights of women, has been critical in Government’s efforts to strengthen the country’s justice system.  Denmark provided more than USD $200,000 for the rehabilitation of the court.

Danish ambassador accredited near Monrovia, His Excellency Stig Barlyng  said his country’s contribution in rehabilitating the court is intended to send a strong message that rape and other cases of gender-based violence have no place in Liberia.

The first of its kind in Liberia, the newly renovated court is equipped with closed-socket television sets which provide protection for rape victims. Areas renovated include the chambers for judges and sheriffs, office of the clerk, filing storage and toilet facilities.

Established in 1972, Criminal Court ‘E’ has exclusive original jurisdiction of the crimes of rape, gang rape, aggravated involuntary sodomy, voluntary sodomy, corruption of minors, and sexual assault.

Wednesday’s dedication ceremony was witnessed by officials and members of the Bar Association, Justice Minister Philip Banks, as well as members of the diplomatic corps.