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LNBA seeks full involvement

--In Liberia October 10 election

By Lincoln G. Peters
The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) says it has developed a concept note seeking full involvement and participation in the electoral process of Liberia in the pending October 10 presidential and legislative elections.

LNBA president Cllr. Sylvester Rennie disclosed the plan Thursday, 27 April 2023 at the National Association of Public Defenders of Liberia.

Rennie said the Bar has developed a concept note which is currently before several diplomatic partners seeking the full involvement of the LNBA in the pending elections.

According to Cllr. Rennie, Liberia is at a critical road and the LNBA must be involved in the electoral process to address some of the election violence and promote legal education for citizens and residents.

He said the Bar has shared the concept note and held meetings with the European Union, the World Bank, USAID, and UNDP to see how they can have the LNBA’s involved in the electoral process.

“…Because this country is at a critical road and the Bar must be involved,” Rennie said.

The National Association of Public Defenders of Liberia on Thursday, 27 April 2023, kicked off its fifth annual convention.

The program was held at the ballroom of the Temple of Justice under the theme: ” Presumption of innocence until proven guilty, protecting the rights of an accused person under our laws.”

The program was graced by several lawyers and many others.

Speaking further at the program, Cllr. Rennie explained that in the concept paper, they have a portion on elections’ early warning signs which have to do with educating the public on violence.

Rennie pointed out that if the LNBA concept note is approved by the international partners, they will use lawyers to help implement the project in educating the public about election matters and violence.

“We are hoping that if the package is approved, we will be coming to you to help us implement it,” said Rennie.

“Because some of you have to be stationed in the various counties either as observers or lecturing magistrates and conducting civic education and educating our people on election violence in the various communities,” he added.

He mentioned that the legal aid program has its own project, but because of resources, they can’t extend the program to other counties.

Speaking to the Association of Public Defenders, Cllr. Rennie said there are challenges within the rule of law program.

“Like one of the speakers said, people are condemned before they are even allowed to serve justice,” he said.

“But, again, we have to all work together to ensure that public education becomes paramount as it relates to the rule of law,” he stated.
 
The LNBA president thanked the Public Defenders Association for its numerous sacrifices irrespective of the incentive.

“The job that you do is very difficult. Some of you are assigned up interior and some of you hardly get to your working place, you have to commute by means of motorcycle which is very risky,” Cllr. Rennie concluded.

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