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Sierra Leone

Access to Justice (SL0020)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Sierra Leone Police

Support Institution(s): Office of the Master and Registrar and Sierra Leone Police; Campaign for Good Governance, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Society for Democratic Initiative

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Public Service Delivery, Records Management, Security

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sierra Leone End-of-Term Report 2016−2018, Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
The citizens do not have access to information on court cases and there are certain cases which require mediation and can be settled out of court.
Main objective
Increase transparency in case management and establish structures at the local level to improve access to justice
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
Local structures will be established to address justice issues and government will publish on a quarterly basis updates on all cases starting July 2016

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 9. Access to Justice

Commitment Text: Local structures will be established to address justice issues and government will publish on a quarterly basis updates on all cases starting July 2016.

Milestones:

  1. Activate child mediation panels with stakeholders in all nineteen councils
  2. Have pictures and finger prints evidence for offenders
  3. Quarterly publication of all cases that go through the justice system
  4. Setting mediation panels in all Police stations

Responsible institution: Sierra Leone Police.

Supporting institution(s): Office of the Master and Registrar, Campaign for Good Governance, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law, Society for Democratic Initiative.

Start date: July 2016                                                                                  End date: June 2018

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to improve access to justice by increasing transparency in case management and establishing arbitration structures at local levels. The efficacy of the judiciary in Sierra Leone is hampered by many factors, including corruption, lack of resources, unprofessionalism of the police, overcrowding in prisons, challenges in juvenile services, and citizens’ lack of information on judicial matters. The commitment aimed to address some of these issues with specific focus on publishing case management information, and handling juvenile cases through local-level structures at police stations and local councils.

Status

Midterm: Limited

Completion of the commitment was limited by the midterm. The milestone concerned with offenders’ pictures and fingerprint evidence (Milestone 2) was completed before the action plan was developed. No other milestones were started. For more information, please see the 2016−2018 midterm report. [63]

End of term: Limited

Milestone 1: The government did not initiate child mediation panels with stakeholders in any of the nineteen councils, as confirmed by CSOs involved with justice issues. [64]

Milestone 2: This requirement to have police investigators take pictures and fingerprint evidence of offenders is a routine procedure in the investigation of sexual offences. [65] It means therefore that the milestone was completed before the action plan came into effect.

Milestone 3: There was no public quarterly publication of cases that went through the courts. [66]

Milestone 4: As confirmed by CSOs, case mediation panels were not established in police stations.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

Highlighted among the challenges in the judiciary was the lack of transparency in case management, obstructing people’s ability to know which judges were assigned to their cases and the dates for hearings following adjournments. CSOs highlighted a specific need for increased public access to information on court dates, assigned magistrates, and adjournments. [67] As there has been no progress on the milestones, with the exception of those completed before the action plan, the commitment did not change government practice.

Carried forward?

The government had not released the third action plan at the time of this report. The commitment should be carried forward into the next action plan focusing only on providing information on court dates, case adjournment information, and magistrates assigned to cases.

[63] Charlie Hughes, Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (OGP, 9 Jul. 2018), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/sierra-leone-mid-term-report-2016-2018-year-1/.

[64] Bernadette French (Program Manager, Campaign for Good Governance) and Hassan Fouad Kanu (Executive Director, Youth and Child Advocacy Network), interview with IRM researcher, 9 Aug. 2018; Prince Bull-Luseni (Program Officer, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law), interview with IRM researcher, 28 Aug. 2018.

[65] Id.

[66] Id.

[67] Bernadette French (Program Manager, Campaign for Good Governance) and Prince Bull-Luseni (Program Officer, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law), interview with IRM researcher, 28 Aug. 2018.


Sierra Leone's Commitments

  1. Gender

    SL0012, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  3. Waste Management

    SL0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Fiscal Transparency and Open Budget

    SL0015, 2016, E-Government

  5. Audit Report

    SL0016, 2016, Audits and Controls

  6. Climate Change

    SL0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Elections

    SL0018, 2016, E-Government

  8. Record Archive Management

    SL0019, 2016, E-Government

  9. Access to Justice

    SL0020, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Open Public Procurement Contracting

    SL0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  11. Publish and Revise 70% of Mining and Agricultural Lease Agreements and Contracts

    SL0009, 2014, E-Government

  12. Starred commitment Right to Access Information Law

    SL0010, 2014, Capacity Building

  13. Open Data Portal for Transparency in Fiscal and Extractive Transactions

    SL0011, 2014, E-Government

  14. Public Integrity Pact with 5 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies

    SL0001, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  15. Archives and Records Management Act

    SL0002, 2014, E-Government

  16. Scale up Performance Management and Service Delivery Directorate

    SL0003, 2014, Public Participation

  17. Compliance with Audit Measures

    SL0004, 2014, Audits and Controls

  18. Starred commitment Single Treasure Account

    SL0005, 2014, Extractive Industries

  19. Extractive Industry Revenue Act

    SL0006, 2014, Extractive Industries

  20. Scaling up Extractive Industry Transparency Initiatives

    SL0007, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Local Content Policy (LCP) Linkages with MDAs

    SL0008, 2014, Capacity Building