A three-week training programme is being organised by the police, and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), through funds from the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
The training programme began on Monday for 100 personnel of the Legal and Justice Support Department of the Sierra Leone Police.
As an integral aspect of the UN Peacebuilding Fund towards reforming the justice sector of Sierra Leone, the ultimate objective of the training is to build the capacity of the prosecutorial system to speedily prosecute existing backlog of cases and prevent new backlogs from being created, thereby improving justice delivery for the people.
The 100 participants, who include 80 Prosecutors and 20 Investigators in various police divisions across the country, will undergo knowledge and skills training on international and regional human rights systems, particularly in the areas of human rights relating to accused persons, essential duties of prosecutors, as well as the criminal justice system.
The programme will involve the participation of experts from the Police Prosecution Unit, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, UNDP, UNISOL, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and private practitioners.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the SLP Senior Officers Mess in Kingtom, the UNDP Country Director, Bernard Mokam said “this training is an integral part of the work of UNDP as relates to the prisons, judiciary, national human rights institutions and civil society organizations, all of which combined form an important national framework for a regime of rule of law, human rights and social justice.”
He continued by noting that, “the training cannot be viewed in isolation from the broader objective of supporting the justice and security sectors, and the overall governance and development strategies of the Government and UNDP.”
The Inspector General of the Police, Brima Acha Kamara, stated that, “emphasis must be focused on developing the skills of the Sierra Leone Police so that they can become a professional force. The training programmes which have been recently conducted have brought evident improvements in the service delivery of the police. We hope that this training can build on those improvements further.”
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, UNIOSIL Officer-In-Charge, Gebremedhim Hagoss stated that,”No foundation can be laid for sustainable peace, stability and economic development in any country emerging from conflict if it is not grounded on justice and the rule of law.”
He went on to note that the role of the UN system would be that of support and not substitution. “Our assistance to the Government is to identify, support and empower domestic reform constituencies, especially national stakeholders to develop their own reform vision and agenda.
That is why the UN supports this training programme,” he said.