‘Justice System May Undermine Liberia’s Peace’

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Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, president, LNBA

-Cllr. Gongloe tells citizens at LNBA’s pro-bono legal Aid Program in Bomi County

The President of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, on Thursday, Feb. 14 told a gathering of stakeholders in Bomi County that if the necessary steps are not taken to address many human rights violations in the justice system, they could likely jeopardize the hard-earned peace in the country.

Cllr. Gongloe said there are too many people for years who have been in jail at different prison facilities throughout the country, who do not know the reason they are being kept there.

“The justice system is gradually turning into a jungle justice where there is no control because people are in jail without being acquainted with their rights as provided for by the law. This could lead us back to the past where we allowed our justice system to completely break down that caused the civil war,” Cllr. Gongloe said.

“Go to the prison compound and you would see people there who have not been charged or been able to see a judge, but our justice system allowed them to be there,” Cllr. Gongloe said.

He was speaking at the LNBA’s Pro-bono Campaign about the Legal Aid Clinic in the county.

The LNBA’s clinic is being funded by the USAID Legal Professional Development and Anti-Corruption (LPAC).

“We have to stop immediately and the clinic is here to help the judiciary to deal with some of the human rights violations,” Gongloe stressed.

Cllr. Gongloe said the clinic is to provide free legal services to people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer to defend their interests whenever they are accused of committing a crime.

“Look, our justice system is killing the peace we are enjoying and the clinic is here to make you know about the law and your rights,” Gongloe said. ”But, you have to take advantage and go there, because lawyers are there to help address your concerns.”

In support of Cllr. Gongloe’s statement, Mr. Jerome M. Doe, prison superintendent in Bomi County described the justice system as a “dumping site.”

Doe said because it was one of the major challenges that need to be addressed seriously to reduce over-crowdiness at prison’s facilities.

“Can you imagine that some people have been in jail for years only because of the police charge sheet, and they have not even been indicted, but, they are still in jail because our justice system says they must be there,” Doe confessed.

“To be in jail because of a charge sheet is wrong and that needs to stop to reduce the over-crowdiness at our prison facilities,” the Prison superintendent noted. He was quick to point out that with the help of the LNBA Pro-Bono program, “seven inmates have been released.”

Dr. Gerald E. Meyerman, LPAC’s Country Director, lauded the LNBA for the efforts made toward the access to justice in the county. He, however, reminded the gathering that nobody was above the law and “it does not distinguish between the poor and the rich.”

Meyerman also used the occasion to admonish the gathering to take advantage of the clinic. “Since the justice system is now the problem, you do not have to go there for minor offenses. You can go to the clinic to solve some of those problems without you paying any money,” Meyerman said.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Cllr. Gongloe likes to talk a lot but he doesn’t do much in terms of addressing the issues of illegal detention with habeas corpus fillings. As a career civil rights lawyer, he should have brought other lawyers together long ago like Koffe Woods and others to deal with this issue of illegal detention.

  2. Tiawen Saye Gongloe is one of those selfish hypocrites who mask their political ambitions behind human rights advocacy. Benedict Sannoh and Kofi Woods are also on public records for that.

    When Sannoh was jobless he ranted profusely about human rights. When he was appointed justice minister, Liberia experienced the worst of human rights abuses and injustices including the brutal killings of whistleblowers and prisoners. A pregnant girl and her unborn child mysteriously died in prison. The Daily Observer even surmised that the imprisoned girl and her unborn child may have been used for rituals by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government.

    As for Kofi Woods, while at the Labor Ministry, and later at the lucrative Public Works Ministry, he kept his mouth shut while human rights abuses by government were rampant. Upon the instructions of his boss EJS, he went to the UN in New York and lied that Liberia had no problems with pipeborne water while the people were crying for water all over the country. His position on the ongoing impeachment case is that his friendship with Janeh supercedes justice and truth.

    As for Google, HIS HYPOCRISY and his insensitivity towards the old widow whose land Janeh stole are convincing indications that Gongloe is not a human rights lawyer but a political rascal.

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