The Deputy UN envoy in Liberia for Rule of Law, Louis Aucoin has called on all actors of the criminal justice chain in Liberia to redouble their efforts to revamp the country’s justice system. Speaking at a ceremony in the Liberian central city of Gbarnga at which 120 members of the Nigerian Formed Police Unit (FPU) were awarded with UN Peacekeeping Medals, Mr. Aucoin said despite the tremendous improvements the justice sector had witnessed since 2003, much more remained to be done.
“It is important to remember that Liberia still faces important challenges in re-establishing the rule of law,” he pointed out, saying, “There is the need to address the challenges identified within the criminal justice system that hinder the required progress in this sector.”
The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) for Rule of Law said with the successful completion of the elections in Liberia, UNMIL was on the path of embarking on the Mission’s transition with the gradual hand over of greater security responsibilities to Liberian authorities, noting that, “This is a systematic process that requires time and preparation.”
Commenting on the expected arrival in Monrovia on Sunday of a Technical Assessment Team from New York to assess the security situation in Liberia, Mr. Aucoin said the team would focus on the progress made so far with respect to the Mission’s strategic objectives to ensure a sustained state of security in Liberia.
DSRSG Aucoin said the assessment of the status of a mission is a customary event every UN peace mission goes through after traversing a specific phase, and that this is not the first time such a Technical Assessment Team is coming to Liberia to evaluate the status of UNMIL.
Turning to the Nigerian FPU, the DSRSG applauded their contribution to the restoration of peace and security in Liberia. “Your support, in the past six months, to the Liberia National Police and UN Police in curbing criminal activities and violent disorder is a vital step towards re-establishing rule of law in Liberia,” he told the Nigerian peacekeepers.
Among the dignitaries present medal-awarding ceremony were UNPOL Commissioner Gautam Sawang; Charge d’Affaires of Nigerian Embassy in Liberia, Mike Omotosho; Representative of Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Saidu Daya; Sector B Commander, Brigadier-General Emadul Haque; Nigeria FPU Commander Yahaya Ibrahim Danjuma; and Bong County Superintendent Lucia Herbert.
Later, DSRSG Aucoin in the company of envoys from Sweden, German, the US and the UK, and Liberian security officials visited the US$3.7 million Justice and Peace Hub being constructed in Gbarnga through the UN Peace Building Fund to house courts and offices, barracks and training centres of security agencies in Central Liberia. They were conducted round the project by Lakis Papastavrou, UNOPS Chief Technical Adviser in Liberia.