In 2003, ILAC conducted the first post-conflict assessment of the Liberian judicial system.
ILAC found that there is an almost unanimous distrust of Liberia’s courts and a corresponding collapse of the rule of law. Liberia’s Constitution provides for an Anglo-American legal system, but in reality, there is no effective separation of powers, a limited understanding of the principles of transparency and accountability, little knowledge of contemporary notions of human rights, limited access to legal advice and defence counsel, and unconscionable delays.
Liberia is likely to require significant long-term assistance from the international community, together with a sustained commitment to reform by the Liberian government and its people. It must decide how to deal with those responsible for atrocities for which amnesty has not been granted. It must also consider whether to establish a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This report recommends short-term, practical projects that are designed to “kick-start” the Liberian judicial system in 2004. These projects will have immediate, tangible and visible benefits in Monrovia and the surrounding counties and will provide a foundation for medium- and long-term projects.