“In accordance with article 9(2) of the Act, the Chairperson and Commissioners are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. In accordance with article 9(3) of the Act, only those who have been shortlisted by an independent committee of experts formed by the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia in consultation with civil society organizations may be appointed.
Further, in accordance with article 9(4) of the Act, the Chairperson shall be a senior lawyer who has demonstrated excellence and a commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The Act is silent on the merit criteria for Commissioners.
The SCA acknowledges that the INCHR reports that, in practice, vacancies are widely advertised and broad consultation is held throughout the selection process. It further acknowledges that the INCHR reports that the independent committee is composed mainly of representatives from civil society, professional bodies and academia.
However, the SCA is of the view that the selection process currently enshrined in the existing legislation is not sufficiently broad and transparent. In particular, it does not:
– require the advertisement of vacancies;
– establish clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of eligible applicants; and
– specify the process for achieving broad consultation and/or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process.
The SCA encourages the INCHR to advocate for the formalization and application of a process that includes requirements to:
a) Publicize vacancies broadly;
b) Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
c) Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
d) Assess applicants on the basis of pre-determined, objective and publicly-available criteria; and
e) Select members to serve in their individual capacity rather than on behalf of the organization they represent.”