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Friday, June 14, 2024

CONCERNS MOUNT AS 2024 BUDGET ALLOCATION THREATENS JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – The National Executive Council of the Coalition for Democratic Change-Council of Patriots (CDC-COP) has expressed deep concern over the recent rejection by the Judiciary branch of the inadequate US$18 million allocation in the 2024 Budget. This decision, the CDC-COP asserts, is a deliberate attempt by President Joseph N. Boakai and his administration to weaken the judicial system, threatening the rule of law and the proper functioning of the Judiciary.

In a statement issued on Monday, June 10, the CDC-COP conveyed its solidarity with the Judiciary’s frustration, suggesting that the administration’s actions are part of a broader strategy to consolidate power and undermine the independence of the three branches of government. The CDC-COP highlighted a pattern of hostility from the Executive towards the Judiciary, particularly following a Supreme Court ruling against President Boakai for violating the tenured law of Liberia.

“The limited budget allocation for the Judiciary is a clear strategy to incapacitate it, furthering the Executive’s unchecked power,” the statement read. The CDC-COP called on international partners to intervene to prevent the destabilization of the Judiciary and preserve the democratic gains it has made over the years. They urged international allies to recognize the severity of the situation and act to uphold judicial independence.

Additionally, the CDC-COP expressed unwavering support for the Chief Justice, associate justices, judges, and all Judiciary workers, encouraging them to remain steadfast in their constitutional duties despite the Executive’s attempts to undermine their effectiveness. “We stand in solidarity with you and are committed to defending the independence and integrity of the Judiciary,” the CDC-COP declared.

The CDC-COP also called on the 55th National Legislature to revise the 2024 budget, advocating for an increase in the Judiciary’s allocation to at least 10%, as opposed to the current 2.8%. They argued that the current allocation is grossly inadequate and reflects the Executive’s disregard for an empowered Judiciary.

The CDC-COP’s statement underscores a critical juncture for Liberia’s democracy, highlighting the need for adequate budgetary support to ensure the Judiciary can continue its vital role in maintaining the rule of law and upholding democratic principles.

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