Monrovia –The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DRSG), for Rule of law and political, Waldemar Vrey says the percentage of pretrial detainees across the country is a concern despite all of the efforts that have been applied.
Speaking recently at a one day National Stakeholders Conference on the Plight of Prolonged Pre-trial Detainees in Liberia, Vrey disclosed that the percentage of pretrial detainees nationally is 68%, saying this is very high.
Vrey said although efforts have been applied to reduce it to 64%, but said more needs to be done.
“You will agree with me that 64% in any language is still not an acceptable figure. We have more to be done because 64% is the number we reached during the Ebola crisis. We need to beat the figure,” he said.
The deputy UNMIL boss reminded the participants that most often participants are good at decision during gathering, but not good at implementing the decision after the gathering.
He further informed them that one of the major challenges facing the judicial system is prolonged detention.
“There is a growing concern across Liberia because detention centers are now overcrowded.”
“Many of those Centers are now housing more than the normal population constructed for,” Vrey added.
According to him, there have been many collective efforts towards detention centers, saying some have been working, while some have not.
“Various initiatives have been launched including the establishment of magistrate training program, fast tracking programs, measures to implement existing laws in Liberia.”
“We are working to address this problem, “he indicated.
For her part, the Assistant Court Administrator of the Judicial Branch of Government, Ernestine Morgan Awor revealed that they are fully aware of the prison centers having 64% pretrial detainees.
“We should ensure that those in pretrial detentions have adequate representation.”
“We will ensure that all judicial actors will do the necessary thing to the rights of those who come in conflict with the laws are protected. Judges will work in compliance while detention and juvenile facilities must be enhanced, “she said.