Gbarnga, Bong County – Judges from the various courts around the country attending the first judicial retreat in Gbarnga, Bong County have been told not to succumb to external pressure in the discharge of their duties.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian – [email protected]
Thomas Doe-Nah Program Lead of the Carter Center Access to Information Program made the comment when he spoke during the just-ended retreat held in Gbarnga, Bong County from Thursday, May 18 to Saturday May 20, 2017.
Mr. Doe-Nah stated that at times there are external pressures being exerted on the judges to influence their judgment by people who feel their above the judges.
“Sometimes there are external pressure been exerted on the judges by people who feel as head of the judges, but judges you need not to succumb to any of those pressures” said Doe, who also indicated that there is a need for accessibility of information between the courts and the citizens.
He said if this is done there will be better cohesion between the citizens and the court.
The Carter Center program head in an interview with reporters stated that this was the time now for the court to change its dynamic and become proactive in meeting present day reality.
On the issue of pre-trial detention which was one of the topics discussed at the Gbarnga Judicial retreat, Doe told reporters that pre-trial detention was a major challenge posed to the Judiciary and steps should be taken to address the plight of the pre-trial detainees.
His statement comes prior to assertion by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Political and the Rule Of Law Waldemar Very, when he stated that pre-trial detainees was at 69% and if no strategy is put in place the country’s peace and security will be at risk.
He stated that 100 of the 163 prisoners in the recent jailbreak in Gbarnga were pretrial detainees.
“The Carter Center has partnered with FIND in Gbarnga as part of its access to information program and when I visited the Gbarnga prison I gathered that out of the 163 prisoners in there 100 were pre-trial detainees” said Doe. Who also stated that the time he visited the prison, the authorities there complained of food shortages.
Mr. Doe-Nah indicated that there was plan by the Carter Center Access to Information Program to visit not only the Gbarnga prison but other prison facilities in the country to know what are happening at these facilities.
He stated that after his visit to the Gbarnga Prison he was able to inform the Justice Minister Federick Cherue about the problems faced by the prisoners at the Gbarnga Prison and the judge was able to visit the prison facility and confirm his report to be true.