The Liberian Judiciary with support from UNDP/UN Joint Rule of Law Programme has trained and certificated Clerks of Courts & Magistrates on the use of the Case Management Information System (CMIS).
The CMIS is a digital tool used to record, store, track & manage cases for speedy adjudication and to ensure efficiency. Effective use of this system will reduce backlog of cases, detention periods, and will allow easy generation of reports for stakeholders at different levels of the criminal justice system in Liberia.
Speaking at a certification ceremony May 27, 2022, following a two-week intensive training, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor committed the Judiciary to ensuring that the system is sustained and emphasized that the use of the CMIS will strengthen access to justice.
Chief Justice Korkpor urged Clerks of Courts and Magistrates to make maximum use of the training to improve their work environment and avoid going back to the old ways of doing things.
He stressed the need for more capacity development initiatives targeting lower courts as the courts of first instance in the country. “It is imperative that we take a bottom to top approach for such interventions to implement reforms that achieve meaningful results,” Liberia’s Chief Justice noted.
Since its Independence in 1847, the Criminal Justice System in Liberia continues to face challenges in the proper management and reporting of cases. For example, in the Magisterial Courts, case records are kept in paper files that are susceptible to tampering, misplacement, or lost during case trials which hinders the pace of cases and quality of judgements.
“The current Case Management Information System will increase efficiency in case disposal, reduction of case backlog and addressing of pre-trial detention. Therefore, the system will serve to ensure that the Judiciary fosters Liberia’s human rights obligations such as the right to personal liberty and the right to a trial within reasonable time,” said UNDP Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques.
In his remarks at the certification program, Mr. Rodriques reiterated that the efficiency of the criminal justice system can only be enhanced if the relevant institutions can keep track and measure the progress of case disposal.
He noted that digital space is increasingly becoming an everyday public tool for doing business and supporting public service delivery, adding that Liberia needs to embrace this as a current reality which has become inevitable.
Rodriques stated that, “Going digital enables the judiciary to infinitely store, copy, and distribute data without depletion, and at very low costs”.
He applauded the fact that the CMIS is home grown, in that it was developed by a Liberian and all of the trainers were Liberians. “This demonstrates that Liberia has the human resource and technical capacity required to embrace digital transformation,” said UNDP Liberia Resident Representative.
As part of its support to improve the criminal justice system in Liberia, the UN’s Joint Rule of Law Programme, has supported the conception, design, development, and roll-out of the online Case Management Information System (CMIS) for the Judiciary, the Prosecution Department of the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police.
The system also uses mobile apps which works both online and offline to ensure use in remote areas where internet connectivity is problematic. It includes security features and GPS functionality to capture locations where offences occur enabling their digital mapping.
As part of the support package, UNDP procured over twenty galaxy tablets and supported the development and printing of training manuals for use by judicial staff.