Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe on Tuesday, January 28, expressed concerns that the decision made by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to maintain Cllr. Christiana P. Tah as Justice Minister and Attorney General could undermine the rule of law in the country.“Since the High Court’s suspension of Minister Tah, the President should have acted immediately by declaring that coinciding with the judgment the Minister is hereby suspended,” Cllr. Gongloe suggested.“If that had been done maybe her suspension would have been for a shorter period,” Cllr. Gongloe added.Minster Tah, who is Dean of the Supreme Court, was suspended on January 10 by that High Court from practicing law in the country for six months.She was suspended after the High Court held her in contempt for her role played in releasing FrontPage Africa Managing Editor Rodney Sieh, on “compassionate leave” from detention at the Monrovia Central Prison. According to the leading human rights activist, the Court’s action was to defend the integrity of the rule of law.“If somebody in authority acts in clear violation of the rule of law, then the High Court is under obligation to take strong action.”“If the Supreme Court can take such an action against the Minister of Justice, then it is protecting the independence of the Court,” Cllr. Gongloe maintained.“In my mind the honorable thing for Minister Tah to do is resign; because the law is the source of the Ministry and if you are Attorney General, you are the nation’s head lawyer,” the rights activist explained.“And if that is taken away from you what can you do as a Minster of Justice?” he wondered.“She is not truly Minister of Justice in my opinion,” said Cllr. Gongloe, “because the functions of that Ministry is to prosecute and defend all actions against the government and to give it general counsel.”“You are to review and authenticate all contracts and give opinions about what the law is to the executive; and to monitor the action of the executive to make sure it is in compliance with the law.”He continued “The only Minister under the law who disagrees with the President on the basis of the law and keeps his/her job is the Minister of Justice. No other minister can do that and maintain their position.”Commenting further on President Sirleaf’s reluctance to suspend Minister Tah, Cllr. Gongloe maintained that “People— especially those holding high office in government— would have said since the President acted, we will be careful with the High Court.”But, according to the leading human rights activist, President Sirleaf has chosen to remain silent on the issue.“If the President does not obey the High Court’s ruling who you think in the other two branches of government will do that?” Cllr. Gongloe wondered, “It means gradually the court will become irrelevant.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BAGHDAD – U.S. troops backed by aircraft attacked a Shiite town north of Baghdad at dawn on Friday, killing at least 25 Iraqis the military described as criminals who were involved in the transport of weapons. But Iraqis at the scene said the dead were civilians, though some were armed. The military said it had been searching for an insurgent leader believed to be associated with the elite Iranian Quds Force, which U.S. intelligence sources believe is working in Iraq to foment violent activity by some Shiite militias. A military spokesman said the raid was unsuccessful in capturing the insurgent leader. Iraqis at the scene gave an account that diverged sharply from that of the military. They said the Iraqis who were killed were trying to defend their town from al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, the homegrown Sunni militant group that U.S. intelligence believes has foreign leadership. Al-Qaida in Mesopotamia has been active in Diyala province, where the town is located, but so have militias associated with the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas City“The residents were defending themselves and the town,” said Uday al-Khadran, the mayor of Khalis, the district in which the fighting occurred. “They were not militias for killing people, and they were recognized by the security forces in the district, and this issue is familiar in all the towns of Khalis because of al-Qaida threats, especially to the Shiite,” he said. However, a statement the U.S. military released described a serious onslaught from the Iraqis in the town. As U.S. forces approached the village, the statement said, they came under heavy fire and called in airstrikes. “Responding in self-defense, the ground force returned fire,” the statement said. “Enemy fire intensified, and supporting aircraft were called in an attempt to suppress the threat. The armed group continued to engage and began to aggressively maneuver toward coalition forces, firing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades,” the statement continued.