MONROVIA – In a recent address at the commencement of a three-day High-Level Conference on Electoral Integrity, Liberia’s Chief Justice, Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, emphasized the need for the National Elections Commission (NEC) to approach election complaints with meticulous care. She called on the NEC to consider public records within its custody and purview when rendering decisions on electoral disputes, urging them to act “sua sponte,” meaning of their own accord and without delay.
Chief Justice Yuoh further stressed that the rulings of the hearing officers and the Board of Commissioners must provide a clear presentation of the facts in each case, with a distinct identification of the issues or contentions between the parties. She underscored the importance of a detailed analysis that supports the reasons or logic behind a decision and called for concise, clear, and unambiguous conclusions.
In her address, Chief Justice Yuoh made it clear that the Supreme Court would not tolerate attempts by lawyers to introduce unfamiliar procedures not sanctioned by law as a means of testing their legal theories, which could hinder the administration of justice. She warned lawyers against procedural maneuvers designed solely to waste the court’s time and resources, stating that the court would take necessary measures to discourage such practices.
Emphasizing the non-political nature of the judiciary, Chief Justice Yuoh reminded everyone that judges, including those in the Supreme Court and subordinate courts, are strictly prohibited from engaging in any political activities, in accordance with judicial cannon thirty-seven.
She urged courts across the country to maintain their judicial independence, refraining from involvement in political activities, parades, and other events used by candidates and their supporters to showcase their popularity. She emphasized that electoral cases should be decided based on strong and convincing evidence rather than political ideologies, crowds, or claims of “strongholds.”
Addressing the concept of “Political Strongholds,” Chief Justice Yuoh stated that it lacks factual or legal basis in judicial proceedings, as electoral outcomes are determined by secret ballots cast by the electorate.
Chief Justice Yuoh assured Liberians that the Supreme Court is prepared to handle election disputes, regardless of their scale or complexity. She emphasized that the court’s decisions would be rendered without fear, favor, or sympathy, as the law treats all individuals equally, without regard to their status or wealth.
In closing, Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh reaffirmed the judiciary’s commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring fair and just outcomes in electoral matters, underscoring the importance of maintaining the integrity of Liberia’s democratic processes.