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Priscilla Schwartz meets with Guinean Counterpart

… Discusses justice, security issues 

August 1, 2019

priscilla
Dr. Priscilla Schwartz shaking hands with Minister of Justice of Guinea, Mr. Mamadou Lamine Fofana

Sierra Leone’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz on July 18th met with the Minister of Justice and the Keeper of the Seals of the Republic of Guinea, Mamadou Lamine Fofana, who also doubles as the Minister in Charge of State Institutions to discuss issues bordering on justice, security, and need to strengthen collaboration between the two neighbouring countries.

The meeting was held at the Office of the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

In his submission, the Guinean Justice Minister thanked her Sierra Leonean counterpart for her leadership in supporting access to justice in the Mano River Union (MRU), and in her double capacity as Chair of the g7+ Justice Ministers and co-chairs of the Task Force on Justice.

He also thanked Dr. Schwartz for personally extending an invitation to him to attend the Ministerial-Level meeting on Access to Justice held in June 2019 in The Hague, The Netherlands, although he was unavoidable absent. He called for judiciary cooperation between Guinea and Sierra Leone for more collaborative venue for improved relationship between the two countries.

The Guinean Minister of Justice further stated the need to review the existing Communiqué for the MRU, as in its present form, looks outdated. Minister Fofana emphasised the need for greater collaboration and coordination of efforts on the justice segment on the MRU Communiqué and disclosed that he met with his Liberian counterpart early in July 2019 and conveyed the same message.

On the issue of security, Fofana reported that in recent times, Guinea has been flooded by drug dealers from Guinea Bissau; who are being fought by the United States Government in Bissau, hence the need for Sierra Leone and Guinea to cooperate and tighten security.

He also shared about an imminent anti-drug trafficking legislation he is on the verge to pass before the National Assembly in Conakry, suggesting that he would welcome to extend the collaboration on the same with neighbouring countries, particularly with Sierra Leone.

 

While thanking the Guinean Justice Minister for making time to meet with her, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz welcomed Mr. Fofana’s consideration to look into the existing Communiqué for the MRU and to put justice at it fore, emphasising the need to personalise access to justice to the justice needs of the MRU – a course which she has been championing globally.

 

She further welcomed her colleague Minister’s approach for his bilateral cooperation, stating that Goal 16 of the SDG has a relationship with security, and therefore the need for the two countries to work more closely together. She intimated Minister Fofana that she started discussions with the Justice Minister of Liberia and that she is in touch with the MRU Secretariat on finding ways of working together using technology.

 

On the issue of tightening security on drug dealers infiltrating Guinea, Minister Schwartz assured her Guinean counterpart that they can cooperate to have a standard against drug trafficking, as it is key to security.

She encouraged her colleague to make available the draft legislation on drug trafficking from Guinea for it to be tailored in context and streamlined with common bilateral and multilateral (ECOWAS) standards.

She emphasised the need for both countries to pursue zero trafficking on drugs. Concluding, Dr. Schwartz assured her colleague that H.E. President Bio will be briefed on their meeting, and that she would like to visit him in Guinea and learn from the mediation houses (“maisons de justice”) for access to justice, as Sierra Leone works towards strengthening its informal justice systems.

Guinea has been going through an authentic experiment of de-judicialization of minor offences, preferring their adjudication through a non-legal process, spearheaded by former magistrates and/or elders, in a context seeking social cohesion.

The Guinean concept resonates well with the orientation of Dr. Schwartz who is tirelessly seeking to conciliate the dichotomy and dualism of African justice systems impounded by the prevalence of the modern law, which results in overwhelming the justice system.

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