21 February 2013

Liberia: Lack of Evidence Hinders Fight Against Rape

The Judge of Criminal Court "E" Sianneh Clinton Johnson says lack of evidence has dropped about 280 rape cases thus blaming prosecution for taking those cases to court without evidence. Speaking at a consultative meeting on "Child Rape" in Liberia organized by the Independent National Commission on Human Right (INCHR) at the Gender Ministry, Judge Clinton said since the establishment of the court in February 9, 2009 with a special mandate to try rape cases, Criminal Court "E" has tried about 34 rape cases with 18 defendants found guilty and 15 not guilty with a hung verdict that did not meet the unanimous decision of the jurors.

"But 280 of these cases currently pending before the court have been dropped due to lack of sufficient evidence," Judge Clinton Johnson said.

Judge Sianneh Clinton Johnson said it was embarrassing for the court and the accused to be dragged to court without evidence linking them to the crime.

Judge Clinton Johnson is the first Resident Judge of Criminal Court E since its establishment by an Act of the National Legislature in 2009.

She told hundreds of women at the consultative meeting that the crime of rape has taken the apex center of the country's law reform efforts so much so that the law has more power and serious punishment provisions that will deter perpetrators from such gruesome acts in the Liberian society.

Judge Clinton Johnson disclosed that information before the court suggests something to the contrary as the number of persons in jail for rape, as compared to the number of cases on the court's docket is very high.

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