Follow us on Twitter

Traditional Justice Mechanisms: The Liberian Case

You are here

Organization / Publisher / Reference: 
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Ezekiel Pajibo
Publicly available?: 
Main findings: 
The Liberian nation is poised to recreate itself. The new political dispensation in which there is no entrenched ruling class offers enormous opportunities to reform, if not transform, the Liberian state. Although there are major challenges, including massive poverty, high unemployment and a virtually collapsed economy, the atmosphere for major policy and paradigm shifts is favourable and improving. Access to justice is an important area for such a paradigm shift to occur. Traditional justice mechanisms, while usually viewed in a rather romantic light, need to be seriously, rigorously interrogated so that a dual justice system—one for the rural poor and one for the urban elite—does not become entrenched. All Liberians have a right to a system of justice that guarantees equal access and is underpinned by constitutionality, the rule of law and due diligence. It is not possible to have two systems of justice as this would inevitably polarize citizens and residents and sow fresh seeds of discord, possibly even violence. This view is not an attempt to denigrate Liberia’s culture and traditions but rather a perspective that challenges Liberians’ traditional custodians of culture and traditions in order for a more just and responsive system to be enacted that will ensure justice for all.
Further research recommendations: