The Center in Liberia
Liberia has recently emerged from a prolonged and terrible civil war. The roots of the conflict were largely constitutional: an excessive concentration of power in the president and the marginalization of the indigenous population, which constitutes a majority of the citizenry. To avoid repetition of the war, Liberia is addressing the underlying constitutional issues which still remain, and the Center is assisting in the process.
The Center’s Liberia program consists of one central project:
- Assisting the government of Liberia in constitutional and governance reform
Constitutional and Governance Reform in Liberia
The Center advises Liberia’s Governance Reform Commission, and Center members have helped to write Liberia’s law reform and anti-corruption statutes. The Center also helped to draft the statute that set up the constitutional reform process and currently serves as the official advisor to Liberia’s Constitutional Reform Commission.
The Constitutional Reform Commission and the Center in cooperation have written the first-ever treatise on the meaning of the Liberian constitution. The text of Liberia’s constitution is similar to the text of the U.S. Constitution, but the courts have interpreted those words quite differently on either side of the Atlantic. The treatise therefore examines the meaning of the Liberian Constitution as defined by many decades of Supreme Court precedent, and provides a baseline for considering reforms to that constitution.
Since the re-election of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the constitutional reform process has begun to move more quickly. Over the next year, Center personnel expect to travel to Liberia to work with the Constitutional Reform Commission on the process of drafting proposed amendments and public consultation.