“Article 9 (2) of the INCHR Act 2005, (INCHR Law) provides that members of the INCHR are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate. As per Article 9(3) of the INCHR Law, the President only considers for appointment such persons who have been shortlisted by the Independent Committee of Experts formed by the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia in consultation with civil society organizations. In accordance with article 9(4), the Chairperson shall be a senior lawyer who has demonstrated excellence and a commitment to human rights and the rule of law.
The SCA acknowledges that the INCHR reports that vacancies are advertised and that the names proposed for shortlisting are publicised for public scrutiny. Additionally, the SCA acknowledges information from the INCHR that the Independent Committee of Experts develops its own rules of procedure and is composed of civil society organizations, professional bodies, and academia.
However, the SCA notes that the absence of a selection and appointment process in the INCHR Law that is sufficiently broad, transparent, and participatory was noted as an issue by the SCA during its 2017 review of the INCHR. In particular, the law does not:
- Set out the membership of the Independent Committee of Experts;
- Require for the publication and advertisement of vacancies;
- Promote broad consultation and/or participation in the screening and selection process; and
- Provide for the merit criteria for the selection and appointment of Commissioners.
The SCA reiterates its previous recommendation encouraging the INCHR to advocate for the formalization and application of a process that includes requirements to:
- Publicize vacancies broadly;
- Maximize the number of potential candidates from a wide range of societal groups and educational qualifications;
- Promote broad consultation and / or participation in the application, screening, selection and appointment process;
- 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.”