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Policy Proposals for Justice Reform in Liberia

By: Amanda C. Rawls, International Development Law Organization

This article, “Policy Proposals for Justice Reform in Liberia: Opportunities Under the Current Legal Framework to Expand Access to Justice,” examines policy decisions currently under consideration in Liberia regarding the interaction between customary and statutory law and justice mechanisms. Specifically, it looks at how a participatory national consultative process is contributing to the development of policy options, and how the realpolitik of maintaining post-conflict peace while establishing internationally acceptable legal standards, informs the government participation in the policy debate. From the empirical base given by studies in the article, this tool offers guiding principles for policy-making on justice reform, arguing essentially that reform efforts should focus broadly on how to provide greater access to the kind of justice that Liberians want, rather than narrowly focusing on strengthening the formal system or defining boundaries between the formal and customary systems.