ADB PROJECT TO "IMPROVE ACCESS TO FSM LAWS"

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (May 25, 2001 – FSM Information Services)---The Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia is involved in a new project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The ADB project, "Improving Access to FSM Laws," is divided into two major components: Community Education and the development of a Legal Information System.

The first phase has been contracted for development through the Micronesian Seminar and the other phase will be implemented by the FSM Supreme Court through an ADB contracted consultant.

Micronesian Seminar, according to the director, Father Francis X. Hezel, S.J., was contracted to develop community awareness of the Judicial System in the FSM, to "explain the modern Judicial System, how it works and how it compares with the traditional island system of settling disputes."

Since February of this year, the Micronesian Seminar has been conducting its part of the project and expects to produce for the Community Education phase: two videos, several local radio programs for each State, printed materials and articles.

For the second phase, the ADB contracted Dennis K. Yamase to develop a Legal Information System that will gather, organize and maintain the Codes throughout the FSM.

Yamase will also update the Code for the National Government and the States and create Codes for the States that have not established any.

Yamase said the project will make available to the citizens of the FSM updated State and National laws on-line. He expects to develop a website that will "further enhance the availability and accessibility of the Legal System to all sectors of the FSM and the Pacific region as well."

Yamase is a familiar figure in the Micronesian Judicial system. He was a Legislative Counsel for the FSM Congress for over five years and extended his services to the Republic of Palau and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, where he headed a similar Commission.

The implementation phase of the project is contracted for a six-month duration and is expected to completion by late November 2001.

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