Press Statement on Law Day 2020
(MONROVIA, LIBERIA May 1, 2020)
My learned colleagues serving in the Judiciary, the Prosecution, Defense, in other Government offices, the private sector, international organizations, the civil society and those engaged in the private practice of law, we bring you greetings from the National Executive Committee and the National Executive Council of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) on the occasion of the observance of Law Day which is observed on the First Friday of May each year. May 1, 2020 should have been observed as Law Day.
This year, the Liberian National Bar Association was unable to celebrate Law Day by holding the traditional indoor and outdoor programs in commemoration of Law Day because of the Corona virus (COVID-19) which has spread all over the world, including our dear country. Given the nature of the virus, the primary advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) is for individuals to keep a social distance of at least six feet and to avoid and large assembly of people.
It is a well-known fact that as a result of the spread of the Corona virus, Easter Day, the most important day for Christians was not observed in the entire world in the usual manner, this year. Similarly, the Ramadan is not being observed this year in the usual manner. Under the given condition, no elaborate outdoor or indoor program was executed by the LNBA this year. Consequently, the leadership of the LNBA has decided to issue a statement, instead of its usual Law Day activities, to showcase the importance of law day. Law day is a day of reflection on the importance of the rule of law and the role of lawyers in promoting the rule of law in a democratic society.
The existence of law, especially, that which is based on the principles of the equality of all human beings, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of Liberia of 1986, which provide a common standard for observing and protecting the rights of every individual and thereby creating an orderly and peaceful society. We call upon all lawyers in Liberia this year to dedicate themselves to reform their practice of law in ways that will make the Liberian people to view lawyers as genuine agents of peace and not promoters of perpetual confusion, discord and disharmony.
Lawyers should not conduct themselves in manners that tend to undermine the integrity of the practice of law and the importance of the judiciary as an avenue for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Liberian lawyers should be guided at all times by the history of Liberia, which, when critically examined shows that the underdevelopment of Liberia and the resultant unending cycle of violence and massive human rights violations were rooted in the entrenched failure of lawyers and judges to adhere to the principles enshrined in the Code of Moral and Professional Ethics that govern the practice of law. This means that the burden of creating an atmosphere for progressive economic growth and development as well as sustained peace and stability rest on the shoulders of members of the Liberian National Bar Association.
We appeal to all members of the legal profession in Liberia to carry this burden with dignity and integrity so that Liberia’s peace, progress and prosperity can be credited to the improvement in the practice of law in Liberia.
Finally, we call on all lawyers to protect themselves from contracting the Coronavirus and to prevent its spread by washing their hands with soap and water, wearing nose masks and maintain social distancing and other measures as may be introduced by the Government of Liberia and the World Health Organization (WHO). We advise lawyers to assign few cases and not to request for the assignment of jury cases until Liberia is declared freed of the Coronavirus or to promote or contribute to the large gathering of persons in any courtroom, throughout Liberia. We also call upon lawyers to participate in the LNBA’s program of providing free legal services for indigents working with its Legal Aid Committee to decongest the prisons by offering their free legal services to the pretrial detainees in the prison system of Liberia. Happy Law Day!!!
Tiawan S. Gongloe
Counselor- At- Law