Violence Undermines Democracy -Says LNBA; Condemns District #15 Incidence

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The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) strongly condemns the violence that occurred over the weekend in Logan Town, between supporters of the two candidates that are to participate in the re-run of the by-election for the vacant representative seat in District #15, Montserrado County.

The LNBA said in a release recently that such electoral violence undermines democracy and the building of a peaceful, progressive and prosperous nation. The LNBA further maintains that electoral violence is most often a product of intolerance of opposing views and actions in the use of the political space by contending sides for a political seat. Also, electoral violence is a product of the rejection of the outcome of an election by the losing party or candidate. Yet, democracy is based on dissenting views and actions in a process in which only one winner is expected to win the seat contested for.

Moreover, if democracy is about the free competition of ideas and thoughts, losers should learn to graciously bow, while winners must tolerate and respect the losers. The Liberian National Bar Association calls on those who do not understand these basic truths about democracy not to venture into participating in an electoral process.

The LNBA views the violence that occurred in Logan Town over the weekend as a very serious threat to respect for the rule of law during an election and therefore, applauds the initial reaction of President Weah of mandating the Minister of Justice to bring the perpetrators to justice. The LNBA will be monitoring the steps that will be taken to bring the perpetrators to justice.

At same time, in the wake of the recent opinions of the Supreme Court on the unethical conduct of some members of the legal profession, both in the judiciary and the private practice, the LNBA applauds the Supreme Court for bringing strong sanctions against those involved, especially its recommendation for the impeachment of Judge Richard Klah.

The conduct of Judge Klah, as detailed in the opinion is shameful, disgraceful and strengthens the general view of the Liberian people that lawyers and judges are corrupt. In this regard, the LNBA regards the decision of the Supreme Court as redemptive and progressive in changing the minds of the people about the judiciary and the practice of Law in Liberia.

The LNBA, therefore, encourages the Supreme Court to remain uncompromising in improving the image of the judiciary and the practice of law in Liberia through its decisions and judicial sanctions. The LNBA underscores the point that the integrity of lawyers and judges is the foundation of needed faith and trust in the judiciary as a trusted forum for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Finally, the LNBA appeals to the Government of Liberia to provide needed logistical and financial support to the judiciary in a timely manner, to prevent any excuse by any unprincipled actor in the judiciary for any conduct that undermines the integrity of the judiciary.

The Liberian National Bar Association says the failure to pay judges an judicial workers on time and to provide financial and logistical support required for the effective functioning of the judiciary undermines justice, without which peace cannot be sustained.

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