Liberia: Judges Warn of Political Interference

12 November 2019

Judges here have been warned to be mindful of political or any other personal interferences that will influence their judicial decisions.Though, Judge Sammy did not give a specific example of incidences where political or personal interventions have influenced a judge's decision. But in most cases the implementation of rulings by judges are difficult to execute particularly land dispute cases.

However, giving a charge on Monday November 11, 2019 during the opening of the Circuit Courts "A," "B," "C," and "D" at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Judge Nancy Finda Sammy cautioned local judges not to yield to pressure, coercion or allow the courts to be used as a platform by politicians to promote themselves.

She said for democracy to flourish in the country, there has to be a strong judiciary, saying to have a strong judiciary, judicial actors must act in conformity with the constitutional and statutory laws of the country.

Judge Sammy further requested that judges take judicial notice of the fact that some politicians might try to use the courts as platforms to promote themselves by interfering in judicial decisions.

"Please do not allow any politician or any other person to interfere in judicial decisions you will make," she says.Meanwhile, the judge also had some strong words for lawyers who she says allegedly takes bribe from judges on behalf of clients. She told the unnamed lawyers to stop soliciting bribes from clients for judges to influence their decisions in said client's favor.

"My people, because party litigants who are involved in giving money to their lawyers allegedly intended for judges, cannot directly interact with the judges to ascertain whether the assertions made by the lawyers are true; most (judges) often tend to believe the false representations made to them by their lawyers," Judge Sammy notes.

According to Judge Sammy, there are constant negative public perceptions and allegations of corruption levied against judges and the judiciary which have driven her to independently conduct surveys to determine how judges and the Judiciary are corrupt.

Judge Sammy said results from her survey revealed that the public or party litigants claimed "lawyers usually request money from their clients, intimating to those clients that they need money to give to judges as a prerequisite for judges to assign a case, hear it, and make ruling in their favor."She said this conduct by some lawyers is casting negative aspersion on the courts, judges and the entire judiciary in its entirety

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