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JAMAICA | Justices of the Peace to Play Key Role in ZOSOS

Featured Director/Principal, Justice Training Institute in the Ministry of Justice, Karen Campbell-Bascoe. Director/Principal, Justice Training Institute in the Ministry of Justice, Karen Campbell-Bascoe.
KINGSTON, September 13, 2017 - Director and Principal of the Justice Training Institute (JTI), Karen Campbell-Bascoe, says justices of the peace (JPs) play a critical role in ensuring that the rights of citizens are protected in areas that are identified as zones of special operations (ZOSO).

“The lawmakers were sure to enact legislation that allows for the protection of the human rights of citizens, should and if a zone is called,” she said.

Ms. Campbell-Bascoe was speaking recently on the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) television programme ‘Issues and Answers’.

She informed that JPs are trained in human rights matters and the rights of the Jamaican citizen through the qualifying and specialised training programme offered by the JTI.

“We are going to be having more specialised training, treating further with the ZOSO to give them first-hand sensitisation on what the law requires generally and what will be expected of them specifically within a zone,” she told JIS News.

Once a person has been detained, the police will have to convince the JP that the person is suspected of having committed a crime.

If the JP disagrees, then the person must be released. If the JP agrees, then that person must be taken before a parish judge within 24 hours. The JPs should also be present when the security forces are conducting searches.

Meanwhile, Ms. Campbell-Bascoe said that there will be a sufficient number of JPs to serve in areas that are identified as zones of special operations.

She noted, however, that JPs do not have to be from the area that has been identified as a zone to serve.

“We have JPs that have volunteered to serve. Initially, they may not have been comfortable, but those fears have been allayed largely, and more persons have come on board and offered themselves to be rostered to serve within a zone,” she said.

The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act was passed earlier this year in the Houses of Parliament.

It seeks to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social-intervention initiatives.

The law gives the Prime Minister power to declare an area a zone of special operations in order to tackle increased crime and volatility in a community. This is in consultation with the National Security Council.

The zone can only be established after the police commissioner and the chief of defence staff make a request for such a declaration in writing to the Prime Minister.

  • Countries: Jamaica