The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNOSIL), has provided a platform for discussion on the Electoral Courts, as well as agree on the proposed reformation of the courts as part of the system to safeguard the democratic structures.
During a workshop which was conducted with members of the Judiciary at the headquarters of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) participants included the Honorable Acting Chief Justice, Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh, the Master of the Court, Elwin Bailor, members of the Supreme Court bench, the High Court bench and magistrates.
Also in attendance was the UN Acting Executive Representative of the Secretary General (ERSG), Michael von der Schulenburg.
The workshops will also be held elsewhere in Freetown and in Bo, Makeni and Kenema. Political party representatives will attend the workshops to inform stakeholders of the role of the courts and how applications can be submitted.
The Electoral Courts were first formed in June 2007 to address issues arising from the parliamentary elections, and will now address issues arising from the Local Government Elections.
As part of this process an extensive programme of engagement with national stakeholders has been initiated. The Electoral Courts will hear criminal and civil cases, examining both electoral offences and challenges to the results of the election as they arise. The courts will adhere to criminal law procedures adapted to address the necessity for speed of resolution. All cases must be finalised during the lifetime of the courts. The creation of the Electoral Courts resulted from extensive discussion and collaboration between the Office of the Chief Justice and UNDP, in order to develop a structure in harmony with the existing judicial system.