Chapter Seven, Article 65 of the Constitution of Liberia puts Judicial power before e the Supreme Court of Liberia and all subordinate courts in Liberia as the Legislature may from time to time establish. According to this Constitutional provision, the courts shall apply both statutory and customary laws in accordance with the standards enacted by the Legislature.
No doubt, the foregoing provision of our Constitution is recommending to all Liberians that the best and most suitable place to secure justice, in a situation wherein rights are violated, is THE COURT. And should there be any dissatisfaction, disagreement or other forms of contentions in the process of administering such justice, the Supreme Court of Liberia is the final arbiter of justice.
But the process actually starts from the lower courts and this is where most of the problems engulfing the Judicial System find themselves. Many of the negative criticisms confronting our court system are right within the subordinate courts-this is very visible on a daily basis in lower courts throughout the country.
While we and many others may be aware that a very few cases are adjudicated on the basis of fair-play and justice, we are also cognizant of the fact most of the cases are either judged or delayed based on bribes, relationships and other personal interests, coordinated between and among judges and lawyers who represent defendants and complainants.
You may or may not believe that most of the reports released by international organizations and institutions to include the American State Department, negating our justice system (court process and police operations) are gathered through independent monitoring and evaluation, something which those who conduct our justice system completely under-estimate only because they don’t just care.
For example, at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill where most of our lower courts are situated, some judges are just ‘law and gospel’ onto themselves-far from the acquiescence of the Supreme Court of Liberia. When a judge schedules a case for a particular time, he appears several hours after the scheduled time.
A very clear situation was ours on Wednesday, February 22, 2011 following a lawsuit, wherein we, The New Dawn-Liberia had been issued a writ of summon to appear before the Monrovia City Court at 10:00am for an editorial published in the Thursday, February 10, 2011 edition titled: An Exception To Deception and Political Mischief. It was a complaint filed against us by an executive of the Kennedy Sandy for President Technical Committee.
Being very time-conscious as we’ve always been, we were just in time with our legal counsel, but could not see the judge until 3:36pm when he arrived to let us out on the basis of a bond filed by our lawyer. The happenings in the Monrovia City Court within the period of our presence were a confirmation of all that we’ve heard about our justice system in Liberia.
Such unfortunate situations led us to wonder as to the impact of the Judicial Reform process executed by the Government of Liberia, through the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia, with support from the United Nations Mission In Liberia, United States Government as well as other international organizations and institutions. We are of the fervent belief that the Honorable Chief Justice and the Supreme Court of Liberia are doing excellently well in revamping the court system through the country, and we must commend them.
But what is left now is the process of monitoring and evaluating those who dispense justice within our court system and instituting measures to curtail most of the bad behaviors characterizing the negative image of the entire Judicial System. This is our appeal to the Honorable Chief Justice and Supreme Court of Liberia. We beg that you listen to this national plea for the love of Liberia.