Monrovia – The Judiciary branch of government is responsible to interpret the laws of the country but has been gutted with a series of criticisms from the general public over the adjudication of cases for many years.
Some of the reports about the Judiciary says that the court system in the country was slow and corrupt, leaving many defendants to languish behind bars without speedy trial while justice is rendered in favor of people who are rich over the poor.
Some reports from local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with the country’s justice system have accused court officers of receiving bribes from litigants seeking justice from the various courts across the country to render judgment.
In the wake of these criticisms against the judiciary, not only by Liberians but foreign nationals as well in an out of the country, a three-day retreat has been organized by the judiciary in the central provincial city of Gbarnga, Bong County from Thursday, May 18 to Saturday May 20, 2017 aimed at assessing the system. The theme of the retreat is “Strengthening the rule of law in Liberia through enhanced judicial performance.”
The Gbarnga retreat which is the first ever for judges, will bring together the supreme court bench, all circuit and specialized court judges as well as stipendiary magistrates from across the country.
Judicial authority say that the retreat is in execution of the strategic plan developed by the judiciary which is geared towards enhancing its core values of competency, integrity, transparency, diligence and tolerance.
In a statement issued by the judiciary prior to the retreat, the retreat is necessary for the judiciary to build up a credible system of accountability, to reflect and discuss issues on the way forward for the Liberian judiciary, objectively assess the judicial systems effectiveness progress and impact made on the general public by the predictability of outcome of cases and relay on the development of various principles of law and current case laws.
The judiciary further stated that the three-day reteat is meant to create an environment in which judges can sincerely retrospect on their respective roles and responsibilities in enhancing the work of the judiciary, discuss their shortcomings and how to improve thereon, commit themselves to the ideal of dispensing justice fairly, regardless of affiliation, creed and ethnicity and moreover work collectively to dispel the negative notions and perceptions of the judiciary. They hope to achieve these outcomes by working towards enhancing judicial performance through the just dispensation of the rule of law.
“This is the first time ever in the Republic of Liberia that Justices of the Supreme Court, Judges of the Circuit and Specialized Courts as well as Magistrates from across the country to evaluate and critique their own performances with the aim of enhancing effectiveness and efficiency within the Judiciary, which will inevitably gain the judiciary the respect trust and confidence of the Liberian people and our international partners alike”, said the Judiciary statement.