Liberia: Supreme Court to Throw Out Elections Cases If…
-- “It is an undeniable fact that our elections calendar is the most tumultuous and tedious time in the history of the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh said.
The Supreme Court of Liberia has said that it will not hesitate to throw out election related cases that do not have sufficient evidence to warrant its attention.
Speaking at the opening of the March Term of Court in Monrovia, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh said that mere allegations or speculations by any candidate or political party will not be condoned in the chambers of the highest Court.
Yuoh noted that those who may have complaints during or after the elections must possess and deliver credible and well proven pieces of evidence if they want their cases to be looked at.
“The law makes no distinction between men when before it; the high and low here are both on equal level,” Yuoh said. “The law, while just, has no sympathy; it neither makes men rich nor poor; thereby, the claim to be rich can have no influence on it, and to plead poverty can awaken no sympathy.”
“The dispensing of justice evenly, and without fear or favor, remains a cardinal commitment of her leadership,” the Chief Justice said.
Youh however said that the Court was ably fortified and judicially poised to hear and dispose of all election disputes, regardless of the magnitude or the underlying impact each case might contain.
She added that her administration will strive not to bow down to any other powers that be, noting further that she owes her allegiance to God and the written law in upholding constitutional principles of due process.
In her two-hour speech, Yuoh pointed out that the court’s term is important to the judiciary as it marks the peculiar silence and equanimity (composition) that come before the storm of the electioneering period.
“It is an undeniable fact that our election calendar is the most tumultuous and tedious time in the history of the Supreme Court,” she said.
The Chief Justice meanwhile, cautioned all party litigants, political parties, and independent candidates to safeguard themselves against actions that may derail or hinder the operations of the highest court in the land.
“All political parties, independent political candidates, and all others who have interest in election cases, more upon their acquisition of pieces of evidence, should find for themselves lawyers who know how to represent their cases in line with the laws that govern the ethics of the Judiciary,” she said.
Yuoh's remarks come against the backdrop that in each election year or period, there are always disputes, either between political parties or individual candidates or, to some extent possible, between the NEC and contenders in the ensuing elections.
The National Elections Commission is sometimes accused of irregularities in its conduct of elections, and notably, as the law guarantees, those who have issues with the same electoral body are subjected to participating in quasi litigations conducted by the same body.
The Chief Justice emphasized that the Supreme Court will only be moved when there is evidence instead of ideology and political stronghold.
She averred that the Supreme Court has consistently held that the idea of a candidate claiming stronghold over a particular geographic area for an election has no basis in judicial proceedings.
“The concept of political parties claiming what they term as stronghold has no legal basis, as it is completely doubtful, uncertain, and speculative,” she said, adding, “It is completely doubtful, uncertain, and speculative, in that the electorates via their valid votes determine whether or not a candidate is widely influential within a particular locale.”