Monrovia City Court Judge J. Kennedy Peabody has opined that African nations must consider and prioritize cultural values so that the continent can succeed in its criminal justice system as well as upholding the rule of law.
“The Poro and Sandi societies serve as insurance against violence and instability because they are some of the most influential traditional institutions our forefathers used in settling disputes,” Judge Peabody added.
According to Peabody, traditional justice system is a complementary element of formal legal processes and the use of traditional justice can buttress and complement the statutory judicial system.
Serving as panellist at the Security Sector Think Tank monthly Dialogue held in the University of Liberia (UL) Auditorium recently, Peabody pointed out that traditional justice can positively contribute to the overall process of Liberia’s justice system and that it has a critical role to play in sustenance and promotion of peace and reconciliation.
The Monrovia City Court Judge pointed out the significance of the involvement and participation of women and youth in traditional justice procedure, terming it as ‘critical’ to sustainability of peace and security in Liberia and Africa at large.
He stressed the need for a more active attachment of women and youth in the traditional justice procedure of the country as not doing so could undermine the process of national security and reconciliation.
Incorporating traditional justice methods in the security and justice system of Liberia could limit and regulate traditional justice to minor crimes that include civil matters which, he believes, could be handled by traditional chiefs in order to shorten the time of litigation.
Judge Peabody noted that to bring harmony, peace, security and justice in the security sector of the country, there has to be the political will to reform the judicial system by including traditional justice.