New Democrat (Monrovia)

31 December 2012

Liberia: We're Vulnerable - Judges

Crying vulnerability, Liberian judges have called on the government to provide "special protection" for them in their "delicate job of ensuring the enhancement of rule of law in the country."

"Yes, we are vulnerable. Generally, judges are not accorded the kind of protection they need in the execution of their job in the country. The level of protection given to judges in other countries are not being given to us here," Judge Yusif D. Kaba, resident Judge of the Civil Law Court cried here.

"Judges need protection. Judges stand in need of the minimum amount of security to ensure that they are safe," he told journalists Friday at the Temple of Justice.

He said, though he has not personally received threats from any one for the execution of his duties as a judge, he strongly believes the nature of their job 'dictates' that they need to be protected.

"That I have not received threats does not necessarily mean the potential for threat would not exist," he noted.

Judge Kaba explained that as judges, they preside and execute judgment in crucial cases ranging from armed robbery, assault, drug related cases and other high profile matters that are 'very delicate' and as such, the government should consider their protection as a 'priority.'

"The nature of the job we do dictates that we need protection. We engage criminals and even ordinary citizens who have interest in properties, and by our judgments, it could be that someone may not be satisfied; so it is always essential that we be given security to protect us," he suggested.

Despite their vulnerability in terms of security, he said they have enjoyed

high level of "independence" in the execution of their duties with "no interference from any one including the president" since the inception of this government.

"This regime has not been the one that has interfered with the judiciary. I am not aware of any situation where any one has interfered with us," he stressed.

He cited improvement in the jury system and the fast tracking of cases as some of the many achievements recorded in the judiciary, promising that with the support of the government, they would further strive for the sustainability of the rule of law in Liberia.

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