posted, December 16,2009
The Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Crimes Unit of the Ministry of Justice says since its establishment in February this year, it has recorded at least 170 cases of sexual and gender based violence especially rape over the past 10 months for prosecution.
The Chief Prosecutor of the SGBV Crimes Unit, Cllr. Felicia Coleman said out of the 170 cases, 74 cases were reported through the sgbv hotline established by the Unit and the remaining 96 cases were either reported by parents, relatives or community members, among others.
“Since the establishments of this Unit and the Criminal Court “E”, there were about 17 SGBV cases already on the dockets of other courts that were transferred to this court and we indicted additional 18 persons which came up to 35 cases and of this we’ve prosecuted 4 and one is currently being tried,” the SGBV Chief Prosecutor told reporters recently in Monrovia.
The SGBV Unit was created under the Ministry of Justice to, among other things, initially prosecute and adjudicate cases of SGBV in a special court (Court “E”) and provide rapid investigative and prosecutorial response to complaints of sexual assault, abuse and exploitation in order to justly and fairly hold perpetrators accountable and provide support to victims.
The Unit project is rolled in three phases for 54 months, and the first 18 months will coordinate and prosecute cases exclusively in Montserrado County in the new Criminal Court E.
Cllr. Coleman said the Unit currently has only four prosecutors and needs additional prosecutors in order to carry out its function of speedily prosecuting SGBV cases.
Objective 4 of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) under the Rule of Law and Governance Pillar further challenges the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender and Development to develop and implement measures to ensure protection of vulnerable groups within the justice system, in particular during detention, to address the elderly and those with disability.