Monrovia – The Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) conducted its 2023 annual convention in Ganta City, Nimba County, with lawyers calling for the maintenance of peace post-election through adherence to the rule of law. The convention, held from December 7-10, 2023, brought together legal scholars, justice actors, government officials, civil society actors, and members of the diplomatic corps.
By: Victoria G. Wesseh
H. E. Mr. Beng’yela A. Gang, Ambassador of Cameroon and Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, delivered his Keynote address on the topic: “Maintaining the Peace Post-Election Through Adherence to the Rule of Law.” He said the constant pursuit of other virtues and human needs such as mutual tolerance, civic education, patriotism, inclusive development, health, and employment must accompany the Rule of Law in any credible endeavor to achieve genuine national peace.
Ambassador Gang commended Liberia for the manifestation of wisdom and tolerance showcased to the world during the excellently organized and happily concluded 2023 Liberian General Elections. He noted that the credibility of Liberian political management and social harmony has climbed quite a few notches up the ladder of contemporary, comparative analysis due to the elections on October 10 and November 14, 2023.
“In this unprecedented success, it is clear that the willing ‘Adherence to the Rule of Law’ by diverse stakeholders – both government and the governed – was vital to the recent, acclaimed electoral success,” the Ambassador stated. He praised Liberia’s Supreme Court for the bold and steadfast assurances to all stakeholders of the 2023 General Elections.
He said, “that was a veritable pacifier even though the NEC, organizers of the vote, achieved such a unique feat in terms of general transparency that the Supreme Court seems to have been spared an overwhelming load of socially disruptive litigations.”
“It is to this same calming reassurances from the Justices of the Court of last resort as well as from the lower jurisdictions that Liberians shall, in this post-election era, turn for prompt dispensation of fair and equitable institutional justice: a promptitude and fairness that, alongside transitional palaver arrangements, ensure true peace,” he added.
The Ambassador said he trusts that the present convention helps the LNBA to remain a pro bono watchdog of the democratic and legal evolution of the nation.
Associate Justice Yarmie Quiqui Gbeisay, in a brief remark on behalf of the Supreme Court of Liberia, wished all lawyers a successful deliberation and discussion in the interest of the legal community and the nation at large. Justice Gbeisay admonished lawyers to focus on the discussion and achieve the purpose for which they have assembled in Nimba County, bearing in mind that the peace of the country rests in the hands of the legal community.
Also Speaking, the President of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), Madam Philomena Williams, said AFELL is following up on judicial activities of the Supreme Court and is extremely pleased with the Yuoh Bench, particularly in the opinions rendered and rebranding of the Judiciary. Madam Williams said consistent with the Theme: “Maintaining the Peace Post-Election Through Adherence to the Rule of Law,” AFELL shall continue her advocacy to eradicate all forms of violence and speak up against issues that affect women and children without fear or favor and to maintain the peace.
The President of AFELL expressed optimism by God’s grace that Liberia will remain peaceful. “We hail herewith applaud the people of Liberia for peaceful elections,” she added.
Dr. Jallah A. Barbu, Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia, expressed excitement at being recognized (Law School) to participate in the LNBA’s activities, while urging the Bar to make itself visible at the Law School. Outlining achievements under his administration as Dean of the Law School, he stated that the Law School continues to excel in strengthening its admission process, improving academic programs, and infrastructure developments.
According to him, they remain steadfast in doing what is right at the Law School, adding that anyone who is admitted to the school is based on merit, and that nobody will enter without passing the examination.
Cllr. Sylvester Rennie, President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), in remarks, said the bar assembly was a constitutional responsibility consistent with Article 4 Section 11 of the constitution and bylaws of the LNBA, which states that: “the supreme authority of the Liberia National Bar Association shall be vested in the national convention of the association which shall be once a year.”
Cllr. Rennie reported to the assembly that between 2022/2023, the Bar and Carter Center entered into an MOU for a Rule of Law program to provide pro bono legal support to citizens in Bong, Nimba, and Lofa counties. The Liberia National Bar Association president said through the pro bono legal program, a total of twenty-five (25) pre-trial detainees were released from prison.
He reported that the financial balance of the Liberia National Bar Association at the end of this year is over two hundred thousand United States dollars (US$200,000).