President of the Man Court of First Instance;
Prosecutor of the Republic of the Man Court of First Instance;
Ladies and gentlemen;
It is a pleasure to be in Man to inaugurate two new annex buildings at the Man Court of First Instance.
As a first-time visitor here, I am impressed with the region’s natural beauty and abundance of natural resources. “The City of 18 Mountains” is truly a remarkable place. You have reason for great pride in your home. I know it has attracted businesses and tourists over the years. I am also pleased to see the dynamic entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm evident throughout this community.
I see the same positive energy and efforts to build a better future underway across Côte d’Ivoire. Ivoirians are eagerly moving beyond the decade of political and economic crises that seized the country and slowed or reversed its development. While a remarkable recovery has taken hold over the past three years, more work lies ahead. Among its many competing priorities, the Government of Côte d’Ivoire is working to build up its capacity govern efficiently and transparently, provide security and essential services, and create the conditions for economic growth. As an element of good governance, it is essential to provide equitable and reliable justice for all. After a decade of political crisis, this is one of Côte d’Ivoire’s most important challenges. It is important to support and defend credible, transparent legal processes. Alleged atrocities must be investigated and perpetrators held to account, regardless of which side they supported. This is a difficult task but the Government of Côte d’Ivoire has committed to doing it.
In partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the U.S. Government has supported multiple efforts to strengthen the Ivoirian justice system. Through USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, we provided office equipment to the Ministry of Justice and 20 courthouses in late 2011 and early 2012. Our objective has been to improve access to justice in areas that experienced some of the most intense post-electoral violence. In addition, we provided technical and logistical assistance to courthouses across the country. We want to help local judicial officials engage with the public and provide better court services. We also arranged panel discussions on common legal issues and offered free consultations.
The construction of two annex buildings at the Man Court of First Instance ties together all these activities. We undertook similar projects at five courthouses in Bouaké, Dimbokro, Sinfra, Dabou, and Bouna. Our support at these sites and for expanding and equipping the Man Court of First Instance was designed to strengthen judicial infrastructure, improve the working conditions at sites identified by the Ministry of Justice, and make justice more accessible to the public.
These concrete improvements to the judicial sector laid the foundation for our ProJustice program. The five-year program is assisting the justice sector to build capacity, improve case management, and increase transparency and accountability at the local level. It also seeks to promote leadership development and enhance national level institutions. Through legal awareness campaigns and legal aid activities at the grassroots level, the project will professionalize the Ivoirian justice sector. The objective is to make it fairer and more accessible.
Members of the Man Court of First Instance,
As Man, like Côte d’Ivoire in general, once again secures its place as regional leader, as an economic and tourist center amid the verdant mountains, it is important that it continues to strengthen the rule of law and the ability of its local institutions to project authority and good governance across the Tonkpi region. We are pleased to be a strong partner with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the Ministry of Justice in these efforts to establish the foundation for a more effective justice sector in Côte d’Ivoire.