Renovated Courthouses Strengthen Ivorian Judicial System

Revealing plaque on a new court house
U.S. Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Terence McCulley, left, and Minister of Justice Gnénéma Coulibaly reveal the plaque on a new courthouse.
Dao Daouda
After decade-long conflict, the judiciary rebuilds its work space
“With this donation, your working conditions will significantly improve. Gone are the days when we had two, even three magistrates in one office, no more heat or outdated equipment.”

April 2014—The war that ravaged Côte d’Ivoire from 2002 to 2011 took a devastating toll on the country’s infrastructure. The judicial system was no exception. The decade of conflict left the judicial system in ruins, resulting in woefully inadequate courthouse space for magistrates and judicial staff.

Since the end of the post-electoral crisis, USAID, through its Office of Transition Initiatives, has supported the Ministry of Justice to establish better rule of law in Côte d’Ivoire. The endeavor requires deep reforms in the administration of justice and the training of judicial officials, as well as the rehabilitation, expansion and re-equipment of damaged and looted buildings.

In collaboration with Ivorian authorities, USAID has supported efforts to improve working conditions in the courts, thereby increasing citizen access, especially in areas like Bouaké. The expansion of the Bouaké Court of First Instance is one of six similar projects across the country. It includes two new fully equipped annex buildings offering 650 square meters of additional space comprised of 31 offices, two interview rooms, and six specialized office spaces.

As a result of the expansion, all judiciary staff at the Bouaké court will have adequate office space. Previously, the building had only 27 offices for 76 staff.

On March 28, 2014, U.S. Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire Terence McCulley and Minister of Justice Gnénéma Coulibaly inaugurated the new annexes among other authorities and community members. At the ceremony, Coulibaly told the judicial staff, “With this donation, your working conditions will significantly improve. Gone are the days when we had two, even three magistrates in one office, no more heat or outdated equipment …. Welcome to quality work.” He added, “This donation is to be understood as a call for an extra effort to make our justice system more credible and favor the reconciliation between the justice system and the population.”

After their speeches, McCulley and Coulibaly proceeded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of the plaque marking the official opening. The two officials and their delegations toured the new buildings and closed the ceremony with a joint press conference.

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Last updated: April 24, 2014

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