Liberia needs legal reform

What Liberia now needs most reform to its legal system. One way to achieve this is by appointing international lawyers as watchdogs, says NAI researcher Mats Utas.

“Sexual violence is very common in Liberia. Today, suspects who are members of the national elite easily get away with crime because of corruption. Donors, like Sweden’s Sida, could promote the rule of law by funding lawyers to undertake parallel investigations,” he proposes.

According to Utas, the Liberian government led by President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson has neither the capacity nor the will to combat corruption in the legal system. An improved rule of law is crucial for the post-Ebola development of Liberia.

New healthcare

Liberia also needs international support to reorganise its national healthcare.  The decentralised structure of the hospital system hampered the campaign against the Ebola epidemic. Centralisation is necessary in confronting future epidemics, Utas declares.

“More resources for education are also badly needed. A further challenge is job creation,” he say.

More positively, a month ago Ebola was declared to have been eradicated in Liberia. Utas rejects claims that Liberian cultural practice increased the risk of spreading the decease.

“This success is largely due to Liberians themselves, who changed their way of life to mitigate the epidemic. Take for example, funerals. Instead of attending funeral services, guests chose not to travel and instead had photos sent to them”, Utas notes.

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