6 December 2012

Liberia: Two Lawmakers Discuss Judicial Reform Process of Post Conflict Liberia

The first edition of legislative spotlight for the Month of December has seen Senator Abel Massaley of Grand Cape Mount County and Representative Worlea Sayway Dunah of District # 7 in Nimba County who discussed the judicial reform process of post conflict Liberia.

Beginning with his thoughts on the Judicial reform process of Liberia, Senator Abel Mansally of Grand cape Mount County also an attorney at law outlined the lack of logistical support, manpower development, and low salaries and inadequate incentives for judges and their staff as problems facing the judiciary.

Senator Mansally argued that political interests also play a role and thinks the budgetary increment for the judiciary with focus on infrastructural development and logistics will help in the reform process. He suggested the use of firearms by the Liberia national Police who are tasked with combating arm robbery. This way he says the police will be more robust in fighting the wave criminal activities especially armed robbery in Liberia.

The Grand Cape Mount County lawmaker vowed to summon the Justice Minister come next January when the legislature returns to show cause why the police have not been carrying firearms. He thinks that it is time for Liberians to trust their own state security agencies like the police and army as they have gone through the restructuring process in accordance with the Accra Comprehensive Peace agreement (CPA). Senator Massaley attributed the lack of access to justice by rural dwellers to inadequately support from budgetary allocation.

For Nimba County District #7 Representative Worlea Sayway Dunah he believes that the third branch of Government (the Judiciary) was well on course with regards to reform process. Naming the setting of a law school degree as criterion for practicing law in Liberia as a welcomed development.

Representative Dunah challenged the judiciary to do more with jury selection and calls on the Justice Ministry to right proposals continuously to address some of the judicial problems. In closing Representative Dunah made three recommendations to help the reform process: 1, National decision makers economic and political respect the autonomy of the judiciary, making sure that it receives the required support. 2, That the justice ministry pays serious attention to the police since they are what he calls attorneys in the streets and 3, That the political will of all stakeholders be galvanized to enable the reform Liberia's justice system. Senator Massaley call on the judiciary to be more independent and the jury system must be worked on. The two lawmakers received more than ten calls with their audience in interactive discussions.

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