7 February 2018

Liberia: Gongloe Warns Against Fraternal Organizations

Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has warned judges to refrain from becoming members of fraternal organizations in order to become neutral and impartial so as to treat all parties before them equally.

Gongloe further indicated that judges should avoid being in fraternal groups like United Brothers Fellowship (UBF), Free Mason. According to him, they could be influenced by the rules and sanctions of such fraternities if they should maintain and sustain the peace in Liberia.

He said "Judges should avoid being chairman or members of boards of any organization because they could make decisions favorable to those organizations. Judges should not be a pastor or imams, because they could favor members of their congregations and that they should not also be a member of a civil society or organizations."

Cllr. Gongloe made the statement recently when he served as guest speaker at an event making the 7th annual convention of the Trial Judges Association

According to him, when judges conduct themselves in this way, they will have integrity something that will eventually make their decisions to be respected by party-litigants and the entire Liberian populace.

"The more party-litigants develop respect for judges, the more they will rely on the courts to resolve all disputes, rather than taking the law into their hands. When most Liberian develop the belief that judges only rely on the law and evidence to decide who is right or wrong in a case that come before them, they will develop more respect for judges and the courts will become trusted tribunals for the peaceful resolution of disputes," he stated.

Accordingly, Cllr. Gongloe warned magistrates and judges against taking bribes if they must maintain their integrity.

The counselor maintained that bribery is the most effective means by which public confidence in the integrity of any public servant is eroded and as well reduces a public servant such as judges or magistrates to a mere commodity that can be purchased by highest bidder.

Cllr. Gongloe reminded judges that bribery is a second degree felony, irrespective of the amount received or the value of things received. He asserted that this kind of conduct of judges erodes public confidence in the justice system and the way to avoid that is to improve on calendaring on the basis of first come first serve without request of a lawyer or client, cases can be automatically assigned by clerks of courts, in order to reduce the frequency of contact with a judge.

"When dispute are taken to the court of our country, the parties who appear in court expect to get nothing less than transparent justice, based on evidence and law," he added.

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