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Citizens’ Bureau

We work in Liberia training local citizens to mediate into civil disputes. These mediators resolve conflict before it reaches the point of violence or have to be taken to the police or the court.

Presence in: Liberia
Focus: Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Peace-building & Transitional Justice

The Citizens’ Bureau is a Community Base Organization (CBO) in Liberia. The bureau, is involved with building the rule of law, promoting civil police relations and mediation in Liberia. The organization was founded on May 8, 2009 with initial activities in sanitation and cleaning up campaigns targeting school campuses whilst advocating to authorities for the promotion of good governance.

In 2013, the Citizens’ Bureau begin its Community Justice Initiative realizing that issue with justice was alarming as most people could not access the formal justice system for the redress of grievances given financial constraints and bribery associated with the system. The lack of affordability, accessibility and timeliness of the formal justice system was seen as a recipe for potential conflict in low income and densely populated urban slum communities. Denying citizens justice living below a dollar daily because they do not have finances  to pay official of the formal justice system is totally unacceptable and this led to the need to engage citizens in low income communities as they embraced the idea to have a Team of informal justice actors hear into misunderstandings occurring in their neighborhood and this constituted the bulk of our work.

In 2014 with support from our partner the Accountability Lab, we established a team in Logan Town in addition to West Point. Whilst in 2018 with financial support from the UNDP the Accountability Lab in conjunction with the Citizens’ Bureau have replicated the  community justice teams in Bassa Community and Kokoyah Road in Margibi and Bong Counties respectively. These Community Justice Teams in 10 months cumulatively resolved 429 disputes of which 65 were tracked or referred by the formal justice system to the CJT for resolution because they were not criminal in nature. Read and watch a video here 

People Associated With This Organization

John Kamma

Citizens’ Bureau
Joined August 2015
Interests: Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Peace-building & Transitional Justice
I am a professional law enforcement officer with the "Distinguished Leadership Award, Liberia National Police (LN P) and begin Senior recruitment officer in 2005. To enhance professionalism and efficiency in the service, I then formulated the Liberia National Police University Students Association and begin its chairman.

In 2009 I voluntarily embarked upon forming the Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity (CIBDAP) and got it registered with the government as a non-governmental organization.

As of 2010, I obtained a bachelor degree in Public Administration from the University of Liberia.

During 2011 I was consulted within the Liberia National Police to form part of an early warning early response network, I seized the opportunity and begin my new journey as executive director CIBDAP/LNP, a policing style dedicated to the promotion of a stronger, safer and trustful community, that see police and the community working together, to help police do their jobs more safely, to prevent crime and to reduce the inappropriate uses of force. To this end, I am leading an initiative with support from the Accountability Lab gear to establishing Community Justice Teams in low-income and densely populated urban neighborhoods through the Citizens Bureau and instituting this project form the bulk of current activities.

The goal is to empower local residents so as to informally resolve conflicts emanating from neighborhood blocks in a fair, transparent manner satisfactory to the parties, as most people can not afford to settle disputes through the formal justice system. Our locally trained mediators also collaborate with the Courts and the Police to bring parties together for the amicable resolutions of disputes outside of court proceedings.
John Kamma is the network champion (main point of contact) for Citizens’ Bureau.

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