At long last, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has appointed a new Minister of Justice, Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh.
Sannoh replaces Cllr. Christiana Tah who parted company with the Unity Party led government early August, citing what she termed as "complete collapse of the rule of law” in the country.
According to sources at the Executive Mansion, the Chief Executive transmitted Sannoh's appointment communication to the Liberian Senate yesterday after long consultations, involving other legal minds, both within and out of her office. Sannoh's nomination is subject to confirmation by the Liberian Senate.
Sannoh is the fourth Attorney General appointed in the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration since 2006, following Cllr. Christiana Tah, who recently resigned; Cllr. Philip A.Z Banks, now an Associate Justice at the Supreme Court of Liberia; and Cllr. Frances Johnson Morris, now a senatorial aspirant for Bomi County. He has held several but important legal and human rights positions at both home and abroad.
He is a counselor-at-law at the Supreme Court of Liberia and participated in several peace conferences and negotiations on the Liberian conflict including Akosombo, Accra and Riverview, as a representative of the Liberian Bar Association, culminating into the 1997 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
From 2012 up to his nomination by President Johnson Sirleaf, Cllr. Sannoh has served as Deputy Minister of Justice for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Justice, as well as legal Advisor to the Liberian government in the negotiations of Concession Agreements.
He was a managing partner at the Liberia Law Services of Washington, DC, United States from August 2010 – 2011 with focus on corporate and commercial Law as well as International business transactions and maritime Law.
From September 2009-December 2010, he served as director of Transitional Justice & Human Rights at the United Nations Mission in Sudan, leading to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Sudan and the SPLA of South Sudan.
Counselor Sannoh served as Chief, Rule of Law & Transitional Justice at the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone from September 2003—September 2009, where he led UN efforts on issues of transitional justice and coordinated the substantive legal and human rights support to the Special Court of Sierra Leone. He was also Assistant Professor of Law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at University of Liberia, (March 1988 -Feb 2002).
The new Attorney General holds a Master of Law degree (LL.M) in 1987, from the Columbia University Law School of New York, New York, USA and a Bachelor of Law degree (LL.B) in 1986 from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia.
He also holds a certificate in Peacemaking and Preventive Diplomacy from United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in Geneva, Switzerland; and in Rule of Law and Peacekeeping from the Kofi Annan Institute for Training, Accra, Ghana.
Cllr. Sannoh was born on December 2, 1952, in Bomie, Grand Cape Mount County and a member of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and a member of the Vestry 1999-2001.
Among many of his contributions includes assisting the Government of Liberia in drafting several pieces of legislation, including the Independent Human Rights Commission Act; the Financial Institutions Act, and the Act creating the Central Bank of Liberia. He implemented a legal aid program, and served as lead defense counsel in the treason trial of Bai Gbala and 13 others under the Taylor Government.