Liberia: ‘Rape Law Not Amended’ – Pro-Tempore
Monrovia – Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie has refuted claims in the public that the Legislature has amended the rape law, but admitted that there are discussions on the Senate floor to do that. He said Plenary has requested the Judiciary Committee of the Senate to work on the wordings of a report on the law submitted to them.
Report by Henry Karmo, henry[email protected]
According to the head of the Senate, the Constitution of Liberia is clear on the issue of the rights of an accused in the legal Jurisprudence of Liberia and that people should not be punished unless he/she is found guilty of a crime by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The Pro-Tempore said, “The lapses in both the construction of the current rape law and its implementation brings into question the violation of this fundamental principle enshrined in our organic law; thus the need to revisit both its contents and operation to ensure the rights of all our citizens and residents are protected and the good intention of the law is not abused.”
Speaking at program marking the induction of new corps of officers of the Women Legislative Caucus, Pro-Tempore Chie said he condemns any form of domestic violence, whether against women, children or men.
In 2017 the Domestic Violence Bill was introduced on the Senate floor and was discussed in detail. The bill embraced two main issues: the ordinary form of domestic violence seen from time-to-time and the controversial issue of female circumcision now commonly referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM).
It is many Senators’ view that female circumcision is not a form of domestic violence as this would have a broad range of implications.
The passage of the bill thus suffered a setback as it was majority’s opinion that the issue of female circumcision is removed from the domestic violence bill and be treated separately.
Speaking on the issue of the Gender Parity Bill, he admitted to claims that women are underrepresented in the legislature in Liberia and said if their representation increases in government, it will be a means of empowering them and creating a necessary opportunity for them to achieve gender parity.
“As much as we see this apparent need and will want our women’s presence in politics at a larger scale, we should not do this by approving the proposal for a thirty percent (30%) representation and related proposal.”
He believes women have all the required abilities to tackle politics and that they are even better at it than men. “We can only continue to encourage you to canvas as much and as vigorously as you can to win the hearts of your people so that they will entrust greater percentage of their votes to females,” he said.