Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Default Text Size
 
OOPS. Your Flash player is missing or outdated.Click here to update your player so you can see this content.
Featured Links:
Banner
ExpoNet
EXpoNet Services!
Banner
Subscribe Now
Subscribe Now.
THE RIGHT TO ACCESS TO JUSTICE IS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS PDF Print E-mail
Written by BANKOLE CLIFFORD EKUNDAYO MORGAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE.   
Friday, 10 March 2017 10:55

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

The right to access to justice is one of the fundamental human rights which must be enjoyed by all without any discrimination. It is an established fact that access to justice is a germane component of the rule of law. Access to justice as a fundamental human right can be rendered meaningless if it is not promoted, protected, respected, supported and enforced by government.

I totally and entirely subscribed to the point advanced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights that access to justice can be conceived as both a means and an end to justice. It is a means as it concerns the efficient method of enabling users of justice system to benefit from the end product of justice. Likewise, it can be conceived as an end, in the protection of an individual’s right to justice through ease of access when the need arises.

The lack of access to justice and or the unfair dispensation of justice in any state will ultimately undermine the tenets of good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights.

WHEN A STATE REFUSES TO PERFORM ITS OBLIGATION…

In line with international human rights principle, member states to human rights treaties have the obligation to‘respect, protect, and fulfil’ provisions of that human rights treaties/instruments they have signed. When a state refuses to perform its obligation to ‘respect, protect and fulfil’ human rights, it may condescend in violating the rights of its citizen. Essentially, by law and practice the application of these minimum core obligations is incumbent upon every state party.

 

 

PRE-TRIAL AND TRIAL STAGES IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Normally,in the criminal justice system pre-trial stage is where investigation is conducted in other to gather credible evidence that will link the suspect (if it is a police investigation) and accused (if it is a preliminary investigation at the Magistrate court), with the alleged crime committed. In other words, the investigation is a way of establishing a fact that a crime has been committed, and the direction of the investigation should be “identifying party/parties to the crime/offence committed”. trial stage is where available evidence is presented to the courts. If the evidence is not sufficient enough to convict the accused, he/she will be acquitted and discharged. But if the evidence before the court is quite sufficient enough to link the accused with the alleged crime committed, the accused will be convicted. Essentially, during court proceedings, if an accused is guilty of committing an offence, he would be convicted and/or fine, but if he is not, by law he would be acquitted and discharged.

POST-CONVICTION STAGE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Post-conviction stage in the criminal justice system is very essential, and it involves sentencing. In sentencing generally, the defendant is brought before the court for the imposition of a penalty. When an accused and or defendant are convicted in a criminal prosecution, the event that follows the verdict is called sentencing. Sentence can be seen as the penalty ordered against the convicted criminal by the court. Normally, the primary goals of sentencing convicted criminals are punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Generally, the object of criminal law is punishment, and all of the serious crimes or offences committed by offenders or criminals have the penalty of serving prison sentences. Also, most of the offences or crimes committed by offenders or criminals with the exception of the most serious have the option of fines.In criminal proceedings, sentences are an essential aspect of the criminal law. It is implied, if the offender cannot meet the financial demand of the outcome of the criminal proceedings, that is to pay fine, the result is incarceration. One major challenge I have observed with regards the laws of Sierra Leone is that most criminal laws are seriously out-dated. Most of these out-dated laws are based on British colonial laws that have long been repealed in Britain. For instance, Sierra Leone still applies laws like: the Offence against the Persons Act, 1861, the Public Order Act, 1965 and host of others. The need for these laws to be repealed and replace with laws that can match-up with global trend and human rights based approach cannot be over emphasised.

“ARREST, DETENTION, CHARGE, PROMPTLY, WITHOUT UNDUE DELAY…”

Another challenge I had personally noticedin the criminal justice system is the use of terminologies which have not been clearly defined by my estimation and whose applications have been very much problematic. Words such as ‘ arrest’ ‘detention’, ‘charge’, ‘promptly’, ‘without undue delay’, or ‘adequate time and facilities’, these words are inevitably broadly framed, and this means that there is scope for legitimate disagreement as to precisely what they mean. Due to the fact that there is no statutory definition of those words, any of them can be interpreted differently by the court based on the context of the case. However, there are widely recognized international human rights documents, which proffer standard as to how persons held in custody should be treated. The ineffective application of these human rights documents to which Sierra Leone is a signatory to, has brought to day light the problems faced by suspect at the pre-trial stage of criminal proceedings in Sierra Leone.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

Read more...

Business News

ACC URGES EDSA BO TO TACKLE BRIBERY AND PETTY CORRUPTION

“Electricity is an essential commodity. Operations of Government offices and private enterprises hinge on the availability of electricity. And in the homes, every single Sierra Leonean will like to enjoy electricity service; therefore, we cannot afford to tolerate petty corruption and bribery in the energy sector,” ACC Southern Regional Manager told staff of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) at a general meeting at EDSA conference room.

Samuel Marah said EDSA staff have to brace up for the job and conduct themselves in line with best practice. He said meters, poles and cables, ladders, pliers, and computers do not involve in malpractices by themselves, but it is the individuals who use them as they interact with the gullible public. The public most times is unable to identify EDSA staff from non EDSA staff.

He said EDSA in Bo must implement measures already designed to tackle petty corruption and bribery happening in the sector. May 2017 PNB complaints report indicated bribes paid for meter replacement, new connection, reconnection, bill reduction and avoiding disconnection. These hotspots continue to feature repeatedly in the report and it is about time actions are taken. Erection of service charter indicating costs for services can be a huge measure to curbing petty corruption.

Read more...

Media News

44 Journalists in Beijing for China Development Studies and Media Exchange

The 4th session of the China Africa Press Center (CAPC) Program hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) was officially launched on Wednesday 1st March 2017 in Beijing, China. This year’s event is running simultaneously with the China South Asia Center 2017 program. Both programs brought together forty-four journalists from Africa and South Asia.

The program you will give journalists the opportunity to cover major domestic and international events in China such as the upcoming Two Sessions, i.e, the 5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 5th Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese

People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (similar to Parliamentary sessions in many countries) in March, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May and the 9th BRICS Summit in Autumn this year.

Read more...

Commentary

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT

A PASSIONATE LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:  44TH EDITION

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT
 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
 
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.
Read more...

View Point

WHY SIERRA LEONEANS HATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.

Read more...

News - Press Release

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Maria E. Brewer as U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone

Maria E. Brewer of Indiana has been nominated to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone.   U.S. Ambassador John Hoover departs Sierra Leone in early July 2017.  Ms. Brewer will take up her new position pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Ms. Brewer, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service and class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1996.  She is currently the Deputy Director of the Career Development and Assignments Division of the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State. 

Ms. Brewer served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria from 2013 to 2016.  Previously she served as Deputy Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs, Management Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Management Officer in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

Read more...

Society -Local News

PORT LOKO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE JOINS THE ANTI-GRAFT CRUSADE

Staff and students of the Port Loko University College, a constituent college of the Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, pledged to support the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in fighting graft in the country. This commitment was made during a special talk delivered by the ACC Regional Manager North, Abu Bakarr Kamara on Wednesday, 21st June, 2017.

Delivering his address to a jam-packed audience in the college's auditorium, Mr. Kamara explained to staff and students the various approaches ACC employs in combating graft in the country. He went on to explain the key features of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as amended, cataloguing the various corruption offences contained therein.

The Regional Manager reminded students that as teachers in training they should imbibe good moral values; among which are high levels of integrity and commitment in their career as teachers, describing them as agents of change in the country's socio-economic development. "Corruption in the education system is one of the most potent form of corruption that leaves an indelible negative imprint on the psyche of the pupils you are going to teach", the Regional Manager noted.

Read more...

Development

ACC PARNERS WITH CSOs IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN BO

Media Foundation for Development Sierra Leone has joined the fight against corruption in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone. It comes following days of heightened Pay No Bribe (PNB) public campaigns organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

ACC Manager South, Samuel Marah, said the Commission looks forward to receiving more civil society organizations with shared interest in addressing corruption which affects the lives of bulk of Sierra Leoneans. He said the task is huge and requires support from CSOs who directly work in the interest of the public.

The 2014-18 National Anti-Corruption Strategy stresses the importance of partnership and collaboration in tackling graft. Since CSOs are central to the governance of the state in initiating and designing development programmes that address poverty and under-development, partnership with them places the Commission at a vantage position in tackling mis-procurement, misappropriation of public funds, and bribery.

Read more...

Politics

Vice President Foh launches One Health Platform

Vice President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh has officially launched the One Health Platform, an innovative, proactive to prevent, detect and respond to future disease outbreak in Sierra Leone past Friday June 23, 2017 at the Miatta Conference Centre, Brookfields in Freetown.

Delivering his keynote address, Vice President Dr. Victor Foh described the ceremony as an history making event of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, recalling the launch of the maternal and child health week in June this year.

He said by the launch of the One Health Platform, Sierra Leone is taking another giant step towards achieving its health care delivery system, pointing out that by this step, they would be able to identify, diagnose and prevent, and cure diseases that are transmitted from animals to human beings.

Read more...
Copyright © 2017 expotimesonline. All rights reserved.