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Saturday, July 20, 2024

GLOBAL JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY NETWORK DEFENDS APPOINTMENT OF CLLR. MASSAQUOI

Date:

MONROVIA – The Global Justice & Human Rights Agency Network (GJPHAN), led by CEO/Founder Amb Dr. Marie Scott Wilson, rejects the criticisms against the appointment of Cllr. Jonathan T. Massaquoi as the Executive Director of the Office of War & Economic Crimes Court of Liberia.

In a press statement issued on Monday, June 23, 2024, GJPHAN stated that these criticisms stem from Cllr. Massaquoi’s previous legal defense of individuals accused of war crimes, accusing him of failing to recognize the fundamental principles of the legal profession, and described the criticisms as misleading and unfounded.

The law, universally, mandates the representation of clients accused of crimes, irrespective of the nature of their charges. This duty is safeguarded by both national and international law, which upholds the inalienable right to counsel for an accused person. The law emphasizes the fiduciary obligation of the lawyer-client relationship, requiring lawyers to advocate for their clients without prejudice.

In Liberia, Article 21 of the 1986 Constitution guarantees legal counsel for every accused person. The Liberian Constitution enumerates the right to legal representation for accused persons, ensuring that no lawyer should face sanctions, punishment, or be prevented from performing other public duties due to the nature of charges against their clients. This principle is fundamental to Liberia’s legal framework and a cornerstone of international criminal law.

Cllr. Massaquoi is an accomplished lawyer with exemplary legal service, whose high level of integrity and ethical conduct have never been questioned by any grievance or ethics committee.

GJPHAN further notes that prominent legal professionals worldwide, such as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Ahmad Khan and U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, have similarly represented clients accused of serious crimes. These roles have not disqualified them from holding esteemed positions; instead, they underscore the vital role of defense attorneys in ensuring a fair and just legal process.

GJPHAN stands resolutely with Cllr. Massaquoi and the Office of War & Economic Crimes Court in their mission to deliver justice and accountability in Liberia. The agency appreciates the support of international partners and reaffirms its commitment to collaborating with civil society organizations dedicated to advocating for the rule of law in Liberia.

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