The communication director of the Judicial Branch of Government on Friday, September 27, said the increasing political interference with judges is diminishing the independence of the judiciary and, equally so, public confidence in the judiciary.
Attorney Darryl Ambrose Nmah said because of the interference, there are lot of negative conceptions about the judiciary that makes it very difficult for people to respect the court system.
He admitted that there are problems within the judiciary particularly at the magisterial court level, but much needs to be done to provide education to the public about the inner working of the court system.
“Political intimidation is one problem that is making the court system weak as judges are afraid to exercise their responsibility,” Nmah told participants at the one-day Wilfred E. Clark Forum on Social Justice and the Rule of Law.
The forum, organized by the Liberia National Law Enforcement Association (LINEA), was intended to have justice actors share their challenges. It was held at the YMCA conference room, in Monrovia.
It had as it theme; “Issues and Challenges in Successfully Investigating, Apprehending and Prosecuting Suspects within the Liberian Criminal Justice System.”
Atty Nmah said there are challenges among judges, particularly at the magisterial court, but the court does not bring criminal charges against jsut anyone as perceived by the public, because the court’s role is to ensure that laws are adhered to or followed strictly.
“The court does not charge anyone with criminal offense, its only role is to ensure that the law is fully followed,” Nmah noted.
Another speaker, Charles B. Blake, commissioner of Police for CSD, CID and Interpol affairs, Liberia National Police
said the criminal justice system has three components court, police and correction.
Blake said, if logistical support is given the police, especially to crime investigators, there will be smooth operations within the system.
To make the system vibrant, Blake recommended more training for investigators to improve on the criminal justice system.
Wesseh A Wesseh, assistant minister for litigation at the Ministry of Justice, mentioned training and logistical support as some of the challenges that need to be addressed if the criminal justice system will improve.
“There is a need for routine training for prosecutors to ensure a robust criminal justice system,” Wesseh noted
Also, Cecil B. Griffiths, president Liberia National Law Enforcement Association (LINEA), called on the government to provide the needed support to justice actors, particularly the police.
Griffiths said the criminal justice system is very important to any society and Liberia is no exception and so government needs to support and address those lapses in the security sector, which are very dangerous to the safety of the people.
Gabah A. Anderson, the head of the American Bar Association, Liberian office, reaffirmed his entity’s commitment to building human resources particularly those in the criminal justice sectors.
“We are going to support anything concerning law enforcement and we are going to work with them to improve on it,” Anderson said.