"Furthermore, fundamental institutional and legislative inadequacies in the juvenile justice system of Sierra Leone provide a grey area for the systematic violation of the rights of children in conflict with the law to a fair hearing. For instance, one of the requirements of a fair hearing is that children should be tried in separate magistrate courts (usually referred to as juvenile courts) that sit in a different building form those used by the ordinary courts. This requirement is based on the notion that children in conflict with the law should receive special treatment that is separate and disticnt from that which is given to adults, so as to promote their sense of dignity and worth as well as their reintegration into society. Additionally, it also ensures that the child's identity during trial is protected from the public in order to avoid stigmatisation. However, the fact that there is only one make-shift juvenile court in Freetown, which lacks well-trained magistrates and court officials and which, in addition to dealing with other cases, also handles children's matters, means that juvenile proceedings are never held in camera as required by law, thereby violating the right of child offenders to a fair hearing. ... Chapter one gives a brief outline of the research topic. It also contains the objectives and rationale of the study. Chapter two gives a historical perspective of juvenile justice. It traces the development of child welfare principles and protectionism from Anglo-Saxon America and evaluates its impact both on the international sphere and on the criminal justice system of Sierra Leone. It also analyses various international and regional instruments as well as domestic legislations on the administration of juvenile justice and the right to a fair hearing. Chapter three looks at the substantive and procedural issues that underlie the operation of juvenile justice in Sierra Leone at all stages of criminal proceedings and evaluates their workability within the framework of the right to a fair hearing. Chapter four assesses the current operation of juvenile justice in Sierra Leone. It does so in the light of some major principles of a fair hearing and attempts to discover whether there are any disparities between what the law stipulates and what actually happens in practice. Chapter five concludes with observations and recommendations." -- Introduction.
Prepared under the supervision of Dr. Atangcho Nji Akonumbo at the Faculte de Sciences Sociales et de Gestion, Universite Catholique d'Afrique Centrale, Yaounde
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2006.
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