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Lack of public trust in judiciary hinders investment and economic stability

-Ghana’s Chief Justice tells Judges Conference 

Liberia hosts International Judges Conference with to maintain public trust in the Judiciary to attract investments and stability.

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Monrovia, Liberia, May 7, 2024—The Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana, Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, says a lack of public confidence in the justice system has a propensity to send a loud message to hinder investors and economic stability in any country.

Chief Justice Torkornoo tells lawyers and judges in Liberia that any constitutional democracy should never countenance the erosion of public confidence in the Judiciary and the Bar.

The Ghanaian Chief Justice spoke at the International Association of Judges (IAJ) Africa Regional Group meeting and international conference here, held at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town under the auspices of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia on Monday, May 6, 2024.

Speaking on the theme “Relations between judges and lawyers—an avenue for improving the dispensation of justice,” Chief Justice Torkornoo called for cooperation and better relationships between lawyers, judges, and the public to boost public confidence.

“Without that confidence (Public), there is a loud message sent to investors that there is an absence of social cohesion, protection of investments, and stability of the economy. Without prosperity, democracy will have no justification. People don’t queue to vote for unstable lives. They queue to vote for increased prosperity”, she emphasizes. 

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The National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia is currently hosting the African Regional Group Conference and the International Association of Judges (IAJ) conference. 

The conference, expected to close this Thursday, May 10, 2024, is being hosted under the theme: “The Judiciary in contemporary times, dispensing Justice in the new information age.” 

The program has brought together several personalities, including Liberia’s Vice President Jeremiah K. Koung, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh and Liberian Association Justices, the President and Members of the Liberian National Bar Association, Liberia Female Lawyers, and members of the diplomatic community. 

Vice President Koung, on behalf of President Joseph Nyema Boakai, Sr., and the Government and People of Liberia, welcomes the leadership and members of the African Regional Group of the International Association of Judges to Liberia.

“When I was asked to deliver the Special Remarks at this Official Opening Program, I was delighted by the theme: “The Judiciary in Contemporary Times: Dispensing Justice in the New Information Age.” Today, across the African Continent, our society is being shaped by the advent of the new information age,” VP Koung notes.

He says that the digital revolution has reached some of the most remote villages, and information emanating from various capital cities has become accessible to people faster than ever before. 

The Vice President continues that the Judiciary, which is responsible for dispensing justice, remains consequential to a government’s accountability to its people.

He adds that the new information age has also generated exposure and connections to the rest of the world. This new dispensation places a greater onus on our judicial systems across Africa as we strive to build institutions that promote equity and equal opportunity and uplift our nearly 1.5 billion people on the African Continent out of poverty. It is important to note that in order to maintain a government that works in the interests of its people, that government must be accountable to said people,” Mr. Koung added. 

The Liberian Vice President notes that Judges, who are tasked with the responsibility of dispensing justice, must strive to ensure that justice is administered fairly and uphold the rule of law. 

“Execution of the principles which underpin the rule of law must ensure access to an independent judiciary that guarantees the protection of the rights of all under the law. Where the rule of law is not upheld, it breeds discontent, which may lead to disruption and instability. It follows that your role, as Judges, remains critical to the functioning of a society, particularly in this new information age.”  

VP Koung discloses that, under President Boakai’s leadership, Liberia has declared the implementation of the Rule of law one of its pillars of governance, as enshrined in its ARREST Agenda. 

“Our government will continue to support the Liberian Judiciary to safeguard the adherence to the rule of law and the equitable dispensation of justice. As I close my remarks, we anticipate stimulating and robust deliberations at this 2024 Annual African Regional Group of the International Association of Judges, which will share experiences and recommend best practices in dispensing justice in this new information age”, the Vice President says. 

Liberia is hosting the conference of International Association of Judges (IAJ) and Africa Regional Group meeting at the time the country is taking steps to establish a Special War Crimes Court to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, an important move to building public confidence in the rule of law. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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