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Liberia

Citzen Monitoring of Justice System (LR0016)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Liberia, Second National Action Plan, 2015-17

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: MOJ, Judiciary, JPC

Support Institution(s): PUL, CENTAL CEMESP, LMC, UNMIL

Policy Areas

IRM Review

IRM Report: Liberia End-of-Term Report 2015-2017, Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Publish quarterly analysis of court returns Performance Indicators: Number and frequency of publication of quarterly analysis of court returns

IRM Midterm Status Summary

For Commitment details, see Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Cluster: Implementation of the new Jury Law

2.1 Implementation of the new Jury Law

(MICAT, LACC, GC, Judiciary, MIA, MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING, with support of UNMIL, PBF, 15 July 2015 – 30 June 2016).

Milestones:

· 2.1.1 Approve budget for the jury management office

· 2.1.2 Set up, recruit and train staff of the jury management central office

· 2.1.3 Awareness raising around the role of juries

2.2 Enhance Citizen monitoring of the justice system

(MOJ, Judiciary, JPC, with support of PUL, CENTAL, CEMESP, LMC, UNMIL, 10 October 2015 – 30 June 2017).

Milestones:

· 2.2.1 Publish quarterly analysis of court returns

Commitment Aim:

The Jury Laws were amended in 2013 to modify the process of jury selection. Under these commitments, a newly established Jury Management Office will oversee implementation of the updated law. Prior to the commitment period, implementation of the amended jury laws had stalled. Juries were often randomly selected and comprised citizens with no knowledge of the case being tried. These commitments primarily aim to implement and enforce the amended laws, and to ensure citizens selected to serve on juries are well informed about the case so that trials are conducted fairly.

Commitment 2.1 focuses on the administrative steps needed to implement the amended law. Activities include approving the budget to establish a central Jury Management Office, setting up the central office in Monrovia and regional offices in the counties, and recruiting and training administrative staff. The Jury Management Office will be responsible for jury selection, organizing the central jury pool, and ordering the number of jurors necessary for the functioning of Circuit Courts. It will also educate prospective/selected jurors on the law and legal processes and help them understand their civic duties in the administration of justice as citizens of the Republic of Liberia.

Commitment 2.2 seeks to increase the role of citizens in monitoring the justice system by publishing court returns dates each quarter. Citizen monitoring could make court officials more accountable to the public. As written, though, the commitment lacks specific, measurable plans to improve citizens’ involvement and oversight of the justice system; therefore, the expected impact is minor.

Status

Midterm:

Commitment 2.1: Completed

The budget for creating and staffing the central Jury Management Office has been approved and the office established in Monrovia at the Temple of Justice. In addition, beyond the scope of the commitment, regional jury management offices have been established in eight counties. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.

Commitment 2.2: Limited

This commitment had limited progress in the first year of implementation. Data and information on court returns have been collected but judiciary quarterly reports have not been forthcoming. The government’s OGP point of contact states that reports are to be published on the Liberia Open Data Portal, but as the portal is not yet online, the commitment is delayed. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.

End-of-Term:

Commitment 2.1: Completed

The Jury Management Office has been fully operational and engaged in a) jury selection; b) organizing the central jury pool and ordering the number of jurors necessary for the functioning of Circuit Courts and; c) providing education to prospective/selected jurors on the law and legal processes to help them understand their civic duties in the administration of justice.[Note37: Office of the Jury Management, Profile, http://judiciary.gov.lr/jury-management/%5D

The Jury Management sub-offices have been established in eight of the 16 judicial circuits to date; namely: Montserrado County (first Judicial Circuit), Brand Bassa County (second Judicial Circuit), Grand Gedeh County (seventh Judicial Circuit), Nimba County (eighth Judicial Circuit), Bong County (ninth Judicial Circuit), Lofa County (tenth Judicial Circuit), Bomi county (eleventh Judicial Circuit), and Margibi County (thirteenth Judicial Circuit).

Commitment 2.2: Limited

The self-assessment report indicates this commitment has been completed, however, there is no sufficient evidence to confirm it. The judiciary website (http://judiciary.gov.lr) only provides basic information about judiciary processes and units in the judiciary branch. There is no feature or link that allows the public to access court records and analysis of court returns.

A UNDP/UNMIL joint program “Strengthening the Rule of Law in Liberia: Justice and Security for the Liberian People (2016–2019)”[Note38: “Strengthening the Rule of Law in Liberia: Justice and Security for the Liberian People (2016-2019)”, http://www.lr.undp.org/content/dam/liberia/docs/docs/Procurement%20Notices/Guidance%20Note%20-%20Civil%20Society%20Roster%20(June%202017).pdf] has been developed in close consultation with the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and other principal institutional counterparts. The program aims, inter alia, to enhance the capacities of, and public confidence in, the different justice and security institutions, strengthening access to justice, security and protection services, especially for women and girls. Interventions are designed with a view to ensuring sustainability and linking activities to 'system-level' policy development. One of the outcomes of this project is building the capacity of key actors and stakeholders to monitor progress and results in the rule of law developments.

Did It Open Government?

Commitment 2.1

Access to Information: Marginal

Civic Participation: Marginal

The commitment has advanced on the administrative steps needed to implement the recently amended law. The establishment of the Jury Management Office, as well as regional offices, is a huge first step to train and select jurors. However, according to the existing evidence, this commitment had only a marginal effect on opening government practices, as these changes are only the first administrative steps in the implementation of the jury law.

Commitment 2.2

Access to Information: Did Not Change

The judiciary website offers little information about the workings of the justice system or any access to court records. Therefore, there is not sufficient evidence of any change in government practice.

Carried forward?

This commitment was carried forward into the next action plan with the following deliverables set as milestones:

· Jury offices established in all 15 counties;

· Training of 300 magistrates across all 15 counties;

· Awareness raising around the roles of juries;

· Track cases in courts to prevent delays in judication;

· Open Justice initiative through which citizens monitor local courts, track cases and follow-up on the return of bond fees


Liberia's Commitments

  1. Legislative Monitoring Database

    LR0027, 2017, E-Government

  2. Publication of Budget Documents

    LR0028, 2017, Audits and Controls

  3. Freedom of Information (FoI) Act

    LR0029, 2017, Capacity Building

  4. Citizen Monitoring for the Justice System

    LR0030, 2017, Capacity Building

  5. Feedback Mechanism to Build Accountability of the LNP

    LR0031, 2017, E-Government

  6. Capacity Building for Integrity in Government

    LR0032, 2017, Capacity Building

  7. Transparency in the Land Authority

    LR0033, 2017, E-Government

  8. Accountability and Value for Money through Open Contracting

    LR0034, 2017, E-Government

  9. Beneficial Ownership Registry

    LR0035, 2017, Beneficial Ownership

  10. Open Data/citizen Navigation Portal

    LR0036, 2017, Audits and Controls

  11. Starred commitment Commercial Land Use Rights Information

    LR0011, 2015, Capacity Building

  12. Open Aid Portal and Publication of Aid Data

    LR0012, 2015, Aid

  13. Link Financial Management System to Aid Management Platform

    LR0013, 2015, Aid

  14. Facilitate tracking of EVD funds

    LR0014, 2015, Aid

  15. Starred commitment Implementation of the new jury law

    LR0015, 2015,

  16. Citzen Monitoring of Justice System

    LR0016, 2015,

  17. Civic education and citizen engagement around offline tools

    LR0017, 2015,

  18. Know Your Rights' Initiative

    LR0018, 2015,

  19. Passage of Whistleblower Protection Act

    LR0019, 2015,

  20. Transparency hubs

    LR0020, 2015, Public Participation

  21. Public service integrity

    LR0021, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  22. Citizen feedback platform.

    LR0022, 2015, E-Government

  23. e-Government

    LR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  24. Public expenditure management systems

    LR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  25. Public safety/ Law enforecement reform

    LR0025, 2015, E-Government

  26. Open data portal

    LR0026, 2015, Open Data

  27. Appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs)

    LR0007, 2015, Capacity Building

  28. Popularize Freedom of Information (FoI) Law

    LR0008, 2015, Capacity Building

  29. Expand Open Budget Initiative

    LR0009, 2015, Capacity Building

  30. Public Information on Land and Natural Resource Reform

    LR0010, 2015, Extractive Industries

  31. Increase Access to Public Information

    LR0001, 2013, Capacity Building

  32. Open Budget Initiative

    LR0002, 2013, E-Government

  33. Extractive Industries Transparency

    LR0003, 2013, Audits and Controls

  34. Citizens’ Participation and Dialogue

    LR0004, 2013, Public Participation

  35. Starred commitment Accountability and Integrity

    LR0005, 2013, Conflicts of Interest

  36. Technology and Innovation

    LR0006, 2013, E-Government