Liberia Publications

A sort criterion
US Department of State Human Rights Report: Equatorial Guinea 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Apr 01, 2013

"Lengthy pretrial detention remained a problem, and many of those incarcerated were pretrial detainees; the exact number was unavailable. Although prison authorities were required to provide monthly lists of prisoners and detainees to the Ministry of Justice, this did not occur. Inefficient judicial procedures, corruption, lack of monitoring, and inadequate staffing contributed to the problem."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Morocco 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 28, 2013

"Although the government claimed that accused persons were generally brought to trial within two months, prosecutors may request as many as five additional two-month extensions of pretrial detention. Consequently, pretrial detentions may last as long as one year. There were reports that authorities routinely held detainees beyond the one-year limit. Government officials attributed these delays to inefficiency and lack of resources in the court system. According to the government, as of October 1, pretrial detainees made up approximately 41 percent of the 69,054 inmates in prison. The parliamentary committee that investigated the conditions at Oukacha Prison (see section 1.c.) reported that 80 percent of Oukacha inmates were in pretrial detention. In some cases detainees received a sentence shorter than the time they spent in pretrial detention. NGOs continued to report that more than half of incarcerated minors were in pretrial detention. In some cases minors were detained for as long as eight months prior to trial."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Republic of Congo 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 27, 2013

"Lengthy pretrial detention due to judicial backlogs was a problem. Pretrial detainees continued to constitute three-fourths of the prison population. On average detainees waited one to three months in noncriminal cases and at least 12 months in criminal cases, according to prison authorities, or 12 to 36 months, according to human rights activists, before going to trial."

Budget Vote Submission
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 27, 2013

The submission is made in response to the 2013/14 Budget Vote as accompanied by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) Strategic Plan 2013/14 - 2016/17 and Performance Plan 2013/14 - 2016/17. The submission deals with three broad issues: (1) alignment between the Strategic Plan and the budget, (2) creating safer prisons, and (3) rehabilitation and reintegration. The latter two focal areas are in response to a general request from the Portfolio Committee for submissions on these two issues.

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Libya 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 26, 2013

"The Constitutional Declaration provides for an independent judiciary and stipulates that every person has a right to resort to the courts. The judicial system under Qadhafi was not independent. While the part of the system processing day-to-day, nonpolitically tinged cases functioned reasonably well, the judicial system, despite tentative efforts to reform it, remained largely ineffective in dealing with the complex issues arising from the end of the Qadhafi era. Thousands of persons in detention were held without access to a lawyer and without being informed of the charges against them. Moreover, few trials were held, and only a few investigations were initiated into alleged abuses by either pro- or anti-Qadhafi groups. Qadhafi’s parallel court system for political cases no longer existed, and the Ministry of Justice no longer directed the day-to-day operations of the court system. However, the courts still struggled to deal with sensitive and complex political cases. In addition, judges cited concerns about the overall lack of security in and around the courts as one of the reasons that they had not yet returned to work, further hindering the judiciary’s reestablishment. Detainees were also subjected to threats that they would be killed if released."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Gabon 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 25, 2013

"The constitution provides for the right to a public trial and to legal counsel, and the government generally respected these rights. Trial dates were often delayed. A judge may deliver an immediate verdict of guilty at the initial hearing in a state security trial if the government presents sufficient evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent and have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of charges when booked at a police station. Defendants are tried by a panel of three judges. Defendants enjoy the right to communicate with an attorney of choice and to adequate time and facilities to prepare their defense. Indigent defendants in both civil and criminal cases have the right to an attorney provided at state expense; however, this right was seldom respected in practice. Defendants have the right to confront witnesses against them; present witnesses or evidence on their behalf; access through their lawyer government-held evidence against them; and appeal. Defendants may not be compelled to testify or confess guilt. The government generally respected these rights, which were extended to all citizens."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Sierra Leone 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 25, 2013

"Lengthy pretrial detention was a problem. Prison Watch reported that due to a severe shortage of legal professionals, 60 percent of prisoners were waiting to be charged or tried, or their trials were not completed. Pretrial and remand detainees spent an average of three to five years in pretrial detention before courts examined their cases or filed formal charges. In extreme cases, the wait could be as long as 10 years. According to the NGO Open Society Initiative for West Africa, remand prisoners frequently changed their pleas from “not guilty” to “guilty” to be removed from the remand section to the less substandard areas of a prison. The joint UNIPSIL-OHCHR prison conditions report noted that limited access to bail, the absence of magistrates, and the irregularity of court sittings resulted in prisoners on remand often waiting more than a year to appear before a court and reported that the majority of prisoners were not serving a sentence."

US State Department Comoros 2012 Human Rights Report
Author: Jean
Published: Mar 25, 2013

"Pretrial detention was a problem. By law pretrial detainees can be held for only four months, but this period can be extended. Detainees routinely await trial for extended periods due to a variety of reasons, including administrative delays, case backlogs, and time-consuming collection of evidence. Some extensions lasted several months."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Somalia 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 23, 2013

"Other major human rights abuses included harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary and politically motivated arrest and detention; denial of a fair trial; corruption; trafficking in persons; abuse of and discrimination against minority clans; restrictions on workers’ rights; forced labor; and child labor."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Mozambique 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Excessively long pretrial detention continued to be a serious problem, due in part to an inadequate number of judges and prosecutors and poor communication among authorities. Approximately 37 percent of inmates were in pretrial detention. The LDH reported that in many cases the length of pretrial detention far exceeded the maximum allowed by law."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Guinea-Bissau 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, but the judiciary had little independence and was barely operational. Judges were poorly trained, inadequately and irregularly paid, and subject to corruption. Judges went on strike several times during the year to protest their pay and working conditions. Courts and judicial authorities were also frequently biased and nonproductive. The attorney general had little protection from political pressure. A lack of materials and infrastructure often delayed trials and convictions were extremely rare. Authorities respected court orders when they were issued."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Namibia 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Lengthy pretrial detention remained a significant problem. In 2010 approximately 8 percent of the general prison population was awaiting trial. At Windhoek’s main prison, prison officials estimated that figure to be closer to 20 percent during the year. The lack of qualified magistrates and other court officials, high cost to the government of providing legal aid, slow or incomplete police investigations, and continued postponement of cases resulted in a serious backlog of criminal cases and delays of years between arrest and trial. During the year the High Court and Prosecutor-General’s Office continued to implement proposals made in 2010 to improve the pace of administering justice, including granting increased case management powers to judges."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Zambia 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Prolonged pretrial detention was a problem. Approximately 30 percent of prison inmates were in pretrial detention. On average detainees spent an estimated three years in pretrial detention, which often exceeded the length of the prison sentence that corresponded to their alleged crime. For example, on August 18, the High Court freed Mateo Mfula Kapotwe, who had been held for 11 years on charges of murder before the state decided not to prosecute him. Approximately one-third of persons in incarceration had not been convicted of a crime or had not received a trial date. Broad rules of procedure gave wide latitude to prosecutors and defense attorneys to delay trials. Judicial inefficiency, lack of resources, and lack of trained personnel also contributed to prolonged pretrial detention."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Madagascar 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"The law provides for a presumption of innocence; however, this was often overlooked. The constitution and law provide defendants with the right to a full defense at every stage of the proceedings, and trials are public. While the law provides that juries can be used in all cases, they were used only in labor disputes. Defendants have the right to be present at their trials, to be informed of the charges against them, to call and confront witnesses, and to present evidence. The government is required to provide counsel for all detainees held on criminal charges who cannot afford their own attorney; however, many citizens were not aware of this right, nor made aware of it by authorities. Defendants who do not request or cannot afford counsel generally are given very little time to prepare their case. Attorneys have access to government-held evidence, but this right does not extend to defendants without attorneys. Legislation outlining defendants’ rights does not specifically refer to the right not to be compelled to testify but includes the right to be assisted by another person during the investigation/trial. Defendants have the right to appeal convictions. Although the law extends them to all citizens without exception, these rights were routinely denied as the de facto government prolonged incarceration of suspects for weeks without charge and continually postponed hearings while denying bail."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Mauritius 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, and trials are public. The law provides for the right to a fair trial and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. Defendants have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges against them with free interpretation, as necessary. Juries are used only in murder trials. Defendants have the right to be present at their trials and to consult an attorney in a timely manner. An attorney is provided at public expense when indigent defendants face felony charges. Defendants can confront or question witnesses against them and present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf. Defendants and attorneys have access to government-held evidence relevant to their cases, and defendants have the right of appeal. The courts respected these rights, although an extensive case backlog delayed the process, particularly for obtaining government-held evidence. The law extends these rights to all citizens. Defendants have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare defense. The law does not provide for the right to remain silent."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: São Tomé and Príncipe 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Lengthy pretrial detention greatly hindered investigations in criminal cases since delays often made it hard to uncover the facts and evidence of a case. Inadequate court facilities and a shortage of trained judges and lawyers contributed to lengthy pretrial detention. According to the director of the Sao Tome Prison, 25 percent of the country’s prisoners were awaiting trial during the year. Authorities held approximately 15 pretrial detainees for more than a year."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Senegal 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"At the end of 2011, 3,352 persons (44 percent of the total prison population) were in pretrial detention. The average time between the filing of charges and trial was two years. Trial delays were caused by judicial backlogs and absenteeism of judges. The law states that an accused person may not be held in pretrial detention for more than six months for minor crimes; however, authorities routinely held persons in custody until a court demanded their release. In cases involving allegations of murder, threats to state security, and embezzlement of public funds, there are no limits on the length of pretrial detention. In most cases, the length of pretrial detention was less than the length of sentence received. Criminals sentenced to prison terms received credit for time served in pretrial detention."

US Department of State Human Rights Report: Seychelles 2012
Author: Suraj
Published: Mar 22, 2013

"Defendants have the right to a fair public trial, are considered innocent until proven guilty, and have the right to be present at their trials and to appeal. Defendants have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges against them. Only cases involving murder or treason used juries. The constitution makes provision for defendants to present evidence and witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses in court. Defendants have the right to access government-held evidence; however, in practice, such requests were often delayed. The law provides the right of defendants to consult with an attorney of choice or to have one provided at public expense in a timely manner and to be provided adequate time and facilities to do so. These rights were enjoyed equally by all citizens."