By Rancy S. Teewia
The Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean has vowed that the government of Liberia will execute drastic action against perpetrators of rape and other sexual gender based violence crimes.
Speaking at the Ministerial Complex Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at the end of a two-day Anti-Rape/SGBV National Conference organized by President George M. Weah, Justice Minister Dean said the government of Liberia is determined to end rape, vowing that anyone who goes against government’s anti-rape mandate will face the full weight of the law.
“We want a situation in this country where if any man sees a girl under 18 years, if he doesn’t run, he will walk on the other side of the street, especially if he doesn’t have good intention,” Minister Dean cautioned.
Meanwhile, Minister Dean has disclosed that 640 persons have been detained around the country and 208 of them have been convicted, while 432 are pretrial detainees.
“I know the figure of the pretrial detainees sound huge, but this is our justice system; meticulously the courts are going through every case. About a week ago we convicted four persons and they are now sentenced. We are trying a case at the moment in Kakata where a five-year old was raped by a 45 years old man. We also arrested a 47 years old physically challenged man who raped a four-year old. All of these cases are being tried,” Cllr. Dean said.
Justice Minister Dean further disclosed that government will establish more specialized courts to try rape cases faster. “We wish under this program to increase the amount of specialized courts that we have. We already have three specialized courts in Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties, and we hope to have additional courts in some of those populated counties like Margibi, Nimba and Lofa counties.”
He also called on survivors, parents and relatives not to compromise rape cases but report all cases to the authority.
Also speaking at the special press briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, said the health sector will ensure the treatment of all survivors. “But we don’t only want to treat victims, we want rape and other violent crimes against women to be prevented; because when they are prevented, health workers can concentrate on other cases,” she said.