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Strengthening the Administration of Justice: Access to Justice in Liberia

The Carter Center is helping to fill key short- and long-term needs of the Ministry of Justice by providing practical support to the ministry's everyday operations.  This includes not only basic support, such as the provision of Internet, but also support in the form of direct legal assistance. The Center has seconded a Liberian attorney to the ministry working to support the minister on a day-to-day basis.

The Carter Center also assists the Ministry of Justice and judiciary by helping to conduct numerous trainings for prosecutors, magistrates, and civic educators. Key among these are regular county attorney trainings to build the capacity of Liberia's prosecutors and trainings for the country's magistrates. 

The Carter Center has also helped develop a Sexual and Gender-Based Violent Crimes Unit (SGBV Crimes Unit) within the Ministry of Justice to help address the pressing problem of sexual violence. The Center led a collaborative effort to design the training manual for prosecutors and is assisting in developing standard operating procedures. On Feb. 26, 2009, the SGBV Crimes Unit was formally opened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who thanked the Center for its contribution.

The Carter Center is also helping to assist the needs of the judiciary through ongoing support to the James A.A. Pierce Judicial Institute (JAAP JI), a newly constituted training facility designed to strengthen the skills of Liberia's magistrates and judges. The Carter Center has provided logistics and trainers for the early work of the JAAP JI and has helped it with fundraising to support its capacity and strengthen the Public Defender's Office.

In 2009, the Carter Center and the Transitional Law Institute of Washington and Lee University School of Law launched a Liberia Law Fellowship Program (PDF) to place recent law school graduates to work as fellows for a variety of government and nongovernmental institutions in Liberia. These unfunded positions provide valuable legal assistance and offer fellows the opportunity to contribute to Liberia's reconstruction, working to support the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Public Works, the James A. A. Pierre Judicial Institute, and The Carter Center.

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Photo of River Gbeh Magisterial Court clerk.

Carter Center Photos (Click to enlarge)

Carter Center-sponsored programs have helped train people throughout rural Liberia's justice sector, including this River Gbeh magistrate.

Photo of a magistrate in Zwedru, Liberia.

(Click to enlarge)

The Carter Center helps provide training to judges, magistrates, prosecutors and public defenders, helping to strengthen the formal legal system.

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