Integrity Dissipating In Judiciary
-Judges Reduced To Mere Commodities
-Cllr. Gongloe Makes Observation
It is becoming alarming that integrity amongst members of the Liberian Judiciary is speedily dissipating; many citizens, particularly ordinary people, have lost while others are losing confidence in the justice system of the country.
Perhaps annoyed by the situation, a veteran Human Rights advocate, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, has observed that bribery reduces a public servant, such as a judge or magistrate, to “a mere commodity that can be purchased by the highest bidder.”According to the H/Rights Lawyer, “When a judge takes a bribe; whatever little respect the bribe-giver has for him or her, immediately vanishes,” Cllr. Gongloe observed.
“There is no small bribe. A bribe of one million dollars and a bribe of one dollar have the same grade under the penal law of the Republic of Liberia,” the Rights Lawyer added.
He made the observation recently while speaking at the 7thNational Trial Judges Conference under the theme: “The role of judges in the sustenance of peace in Liberia.”
The long time practicing H/Rights advocate described bribery as “the most deadly and an effective means by which public confidence in the integrity of any public servant is eroded,” adding that bribery is a second degree felony which cannot sustain the peace of any nation.
In a rather revolutionary mood, Cllr. Gongloe challenged judges and magistrates to “immediately hold in criminal contempt any lawyer or party litigant who bribes or attempts to bribe” because according to him, such action has the ability to undermine theintegrity of the judiciary.
He also called on the Executive and Legislature to look with favor on the request of the judiciary for budgetary support so as to have the logistics to function.
The veteran lawyer said, although the Judiciary Branch lacks control over the national budget, it relies on the Executive Branch for security and the execution of judgments and orders.
“Unlike members of the Executive and the Legislature, judges cannot go to the press to explain their actions,” Cllr. Gongloe said, noting that most often, the press does not report on what happens in the courts.
“The decisions that magistrates and judges make have life changing effects on the parties that appear before them. The duty that magistrates and judges perform in society is the most sacred, of all the duties performed by the functionaries of government in our system of government,” he observed.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia sitting at its 7th National Conference has amended several portions of its constitution with the most important amendments being those that provide for the welfare of members and their immediate family members.
The National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia convening at the 7th National Trial Judges conference held at the Temple of Justice, has elected new cops of officers with a challenge to be faithful in their service.
Earlier, Cllr. T. Negbalee Werner, Dean of the Law School at the University of Liberia, inducted into office the newly-elected officers, including Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie, president; Judge Nancy F. Sammy, vice president and Magistrate TwehWesseh, General Secretary.
Cllr. Werner urged the officers to remain faithful to the principles, aims and objective of the association and to seek the interest of the body at all times.
The conference assembled magistrates and judges from across the country and lasted from February 2-3, 2018.