The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Covid-19 Impedes Trial Judges’ Plans …As Association Provides Clarity

The National Trial Judges Association of Liberia (NATJL) has clarified media report on its intent to sue the Government of Liberia for reducing its members’ salary and benefits.
The Judicial Cannon #6 also states that “A Judge is a government official and must be paid adequately; he holds an exalted position which prevents him from engaging in any business pursuit, therefore he must be provided with the necessities of life and with every means by which he will be able to perform his judicial duties effectively, efficiently, and speedily.”
The Cannon maintained that a judge must be encouraged and given the incentive to live a decent and dignified life that would prevent financial and domestic worries and enable him to repel temptation which is susceptible to human life.
As priest of justice, a judge should not be given the cause to be corrupted in the performance of his judicial duties so as to be justified for any disciplinary action taken again him if found deficient in those qualities.
Accordingly, the trial judges like other the employees including civil servants at the Judiciary wages were affected by the government’s Harmonization Policy introduced by the government in 2020; something that sparked the employees prolong protests.
However, in a statement issued on Tuesday July 6, under the signature of the National Secretary General of the Trial Judges Association, L. Ben Barco, he explained that while it is true that there was a resolution drafted on June 12, 2021 at the NATJL Conference relative to several matters including the harmonization of judges’ salaries, said resolution has not been officially released.
Atty Barco further testified that the ‘leaked’ information is being worked on by the Resolution Committee so, whatever is out cannot be the Resolution from the national conference.
According to the NTJAL, as an institution, they want to be clear that the judges are sensitive and quite cognizant of the ongoing covid-19 emergency and the strain it is putting on the government and people of Liberia.
“While is true that there is a collective position on the questionable harmonization of judges’ salaries, it is also true that it would be ill-timed to raise the issue or make demands, however legitimate, in the midst of an emergency that is overwhelming the government,” he added.
He said the matter of the questionable harmonization policy affecting the judges will be out at the appropriate time, but certainly not in the midst of covid -19 emergency currently ravaging the country adding, “We encourage our colleagues to be patient as we all work collectively to curtail the covid -19 pandemic which is claiming the lives of many of our compatriot.”
Meanwhile, according to Article 72 (a) of the Liberian Constitution, “Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia and other Judges shall receive salaries and allowances and benefits as such shall be established by law; such salaries shall be subject to taxes as defined by law, provided that they shall not otherwise be diminished. Allowances and benefits paid to Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia and Judges of the subordinate court may be increased by law but may not be diminished except under a national program enacted by the National Legislature, nor shall such allowances and benefits be subject to taxation.”

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