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GeneralLiberia news

Chief Justice Yuoh accused

-As Trial Judges lament unruly and unethically behavior

Trial Judges complain Chief Justice Her Honor, Sie- A-Nyene G. Yuoh, to the International Association of Judges convening here.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, Liberia, May 8, 2024 – The President of the National Trial Judges of Liberia (NTJL), Judge Nancy Finda Sammy, accuses Chief Justice, Her Honor,  Sie- A-Nyene G. Yuoh, of unruly and unethically addressing magistrates across the country in an undignified manner, each time they fall short despite knowing that there are laws that hinder them from attending law school.

 Judge Sammy, however, appeals to the International Association of Judges, which is attending a conference here, to intervene, saying, “We are kindly appealing to the International Association of Judges (IAJ) to help us.”

Speaking Tuesday, May 6, 2024, at the second sitting of the African Regional Group Conference and the IAJ, the trial judges’ leader noted that most magistrates in Liberia didn’t attend Law School. Still, the Chief Justice continues to give them the courage to formulate laws to permit them.

She underscores that education is a constitutional right and should not be controlled by anybody, adding that 30% of magistrates who are members of the Trial Judges Association are being condemned for their right to go to school.

According to her, the Liberian Court System is built so that courts are opened on a rotational basis every three months, described as a term of court. This system also doesn’t permit magistrates to attend the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia.

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Judge Sammy explains that whenever magistrates, judges, or members of the Association make a small mistake and are taken before the Grievance and Ethics Committee (GEC), they are lashed at loudly, punished, sanctioned, and suspended, while their meager salary and benefits are taken away.

Chief Justice Yuoh, who is attending the conference, did not immediately respond to the allegation.

“Personally, as President of the NTJL, I was condemned and criticized by Chief Justice Yuoh.  During the February 2023 term of court opening, the former president of NTJL, Roosevelt Willie, the judge presiding over the session, delivered a charge about positive and negative promotion. That charge was centered on instead of the Supreme Court chastising us as usual and rewarding us negatively; it was best to also reward us positively when we do good”, she laments.

The National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia hosts the African Regional Group Conference and Conference of the International Association of Judges (IAJ).

Hosted under the theme: “The Judiciary in Contemporary Times, dispensing Justice in the New Information Age,” the conference is expected to end here on Thursday, 10 May 2024. 

Several legal personalities and officials attended the opening program, including Liberia’s Vice President Jeremiah K. Koung, Chief Justice Her Honor Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh; members of the Supreme Court Bench, Ghana’s Chief Justice Her Honor Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, the president and members of the Liberian National Bar Association, Liberian Female Lawyers, and members of the Diplomatic Community. 

Judge Sammy explains that based on that, they have decided to publicly bring this to the attention of the IAJ so that they can kindly look into the matter and help.

She says that judges and magistrates are prohibited seriously from engaging in activities for financial gain; therefore, if a magistrate or judge is punished and his or her salary frozen, how does the Supreme Court expect that judge and his or her family to survive?

According to her, she has many times informed Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia that access to education is a fundamental and constitutional right of magistrates and judges across the country.

“We thought it wise to bring it to the attention of the IAJ because we know this is the reason why this Association was formed. This is the big issue we have, facing the category of membership. Moreover, my people have been asking what the benefit of being part of IAJ is; therefore, since you are here, we hope that you explain to them,” she urges delegates attending the conference.

She notes that several trial judges were suspended without salary and benefits during her time as Vice President to Judge Roosevelt Willie. Still, in his wisdom, the president decided to extend welfare to them.

The female lawyer continues that when they visited homes of magistrates that were affected to identify with them, some of the things she saw in their homes were very heartbreaking, as a mother, especially in a home where the entire family survives on one salary with the woman doing nothing in the home. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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4 Comments

  1. It isn’t reported that Nigerian Judges and Lawyers are attending this Conference.
    This is a different ballgame – peculiar to Liberia.
    Liberia should sort it out!

  2. The Justice system, needs to do more to improve the lives of magistrates, and judges, in this country.

  3. If that’s the only way she can get change so be it . That’s the problem in Liberia. We want change but we not really speak up until the situation gets worse

  4. Judge Sammy is in error. Raising such issue at that forum was totally unnecessary. We don’t wash our dirty linens in the public.

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