- All persons are born equally free and independent and have certain
natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the right of
enjoying and defending life and liberty, of pursuing and maintaining and
security of the person and of acquiring, possessing and protecting
property, subject to such qualifications as provided for in this
- All persons, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, creed,
place of origin or political opinion, are entitled to the fundamental
rights and freedoms of the individual, subject to such qualifications as
provided for in this Constitution.
- All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to
the equal protection of the law.
No person shall be held in slavery or forced labor within the Republic,
nor shall any citizen of Liberia nor any person resident therein deal in
slaves or subject any other person to forced labor, debt bondage or
peonage; but labor reasonably required in consequence of a court sentence
or order conforming to acceptable labor standards, service in the
military, work or service which forms part of normal civil obligations or
service exacted in cases of emergency or calamity threatening the life or
well-being of the community shall not be deemed forced labor.
- Every person lawfully within the Republic shall have the right to
move freely throughout Liberia, to reside in any part thereof and to
leave there from subject however to the safeguarding of public security,
public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of
- Every Liberian Citizen shall have the right to leave and to enter
Liberia at any time. Liberian citizens and non-Liberian residents may be
extradited to foreign country for prosecution of a criminal offense in
accordance with the provisions of an extradition treaty or other
reciprocal international agreements in force. Non-Liberian residents may
be expelled from the Republic of Liberia for cause.
All persons shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion and no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment thereof except
as may be required by law to protect public safety, order, health, or
morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. All persons who,
in the practice of their religion, conduct themselves peaceably, not
obstructing others and conforming to the standards set out herein, shall
be entitled to the protection of the law. No religious denomination or
sect shall have any exclusive privilege or preference over any other, but
all shall be treated alike; and no religious tests shall be required for
any civil or military office or for the exercise of any civil right.
Consistent with the principle of separation of religion and state, the
Republic shall establish no state religion.
- Every person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being
fully responsible for the abuse thereof. This right shall not be
curtailed, restricted or enjoined by government save during an emergency
declared in accordance with this Constitution.
- The right encompasses the right to hold opinions without
interference and the right to knowledge. It includes freedom of speech
and of the press, academic freedom to receive and impart knowledge and
information and the right of libraries to make such knowledge available.
It includes non-interference with the use of the mail, telephone and
telegraph. It likewise includes the right to remain silent.
- In pursuance of this right, there shall be no limitation on the
public right to be informed about the government and its functionaries.
- Access to state owned media shall not be denied because of any
disagreement with or dislike of the ideas express. Denial of such access
may be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.
- This freedom may be limited only by judicial action in proceedings
grounded in defamation or invasion of the rights of privacy and
publicity or in the commercial aspect of expression in deception, false
advertising and copyright infringement.
No person shall be subjected to interference with his privacy of
person, family, home or correspondence except by order of a court of
All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall
have the right to assemble and consult upon the common good, to instruct
their representatives, to petition the Government or other functionaries
for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse
to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations.
All Liberian citizens shall have equal opportunity for work and
employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of
origin or political affiliation, and all shall be entitled to equal pay
for equal work.
No person other than members of the Armed Forces of Liberia or of the
militia in active service shall be subject to military law, or made to
suffer any pains or penalties by virtue of that law, or be tried by
- No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the
person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of
a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this
Constitution and in accordance with due process of law. Justice shall be
done without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in
courts not of record, under courts-martial and upon impeachment, the
parties shall have the right to trial by jury.
- The right of an appeal from a judgment, decree, decision or ruling
of any court or administrative board or agency, except the Supreme
Court, shall be held inviolable. The legislature shall prescribe rules
and procedures for the easy, expeditious and inexpensive filing and
hearing of an appeal.
- No person shall be made subject to any law or punishment which was
not in effect at the time of commission of an offense, nor shall the
Legislature enact any bill of attainder or ex post facto law.
- No person shall be subject to search or seizure of his person or
property, whether on a criminal charge or for any other purpose, unless
upon warrant lawfully issued upon probable cause supported by a solemn
oath or affirmation, specifically identifying the person or place to be
searched and stating the object of the search; provided, however, that a
search or seizure shall be permissible without a search warrant where
the arresting authorities act during the commission of a crime or in hot
pursuit of a person who has committed a crime.
- Every person suspected or accused of committing a crime shall
immediately upon arrest be informed in detail of the charges, of the
right to remain silent and of the fact that any statement made could be
used against him in a court of law. Such person shall be entitled to
counsel at every stage of the investigation and shall have the right not
to be interrogated except in the presence of counsel. Any admission or
other statements made by the accused in the absence of such counsel
shall be deemed inadmissible as evidence in a court of law.
- All accused persons shall be bailable upon their personal
recognizance or by sufficient sureties, depending upon the gravity of
the charge, unless charged for capital offenses or grave offenses as
defined by law.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed,
nor excessive punishment inflicted.
- No person charged, arrested, restricted, detained or otherwise held
in confinement shall be subject to torture or inhumane treatment; nor
shall any person except military personnel, be kept or confined in any
military facility; nor shall any person be seized and kept among
convicted prisoners or treated as a convict, unless such person first
shall have been convicted of a crime in court of competent jurisdiction.
The Legislature shall make it a criminal offense and provide for
appropriate penalties against any police or security officer,
prosecutor, administrator or any other public or security officer,
prosecutor, administrator or any other public official acting in
contravention of this provision; and any person so damaged by the
conduct of any such public official shall have a civil remedy therefore,
exclusive of any criminal penalties imposed.
- Every person arrested or detained shall be formally charged and
presented before a court of competent jurisdiction within forty-eight
hours. Should the court determine the existence of a prima facie case
against the accused, it shall issue a formal writ of arrest setting out
the charge or charges and shall provide for a speedy trial. There shall
be no preventive detention.
- The right to the writ of habeas corpus, being essential to the
protection of human rights, shall be guaranteed at all times, and any
person arrested or detained and not presented to court within the period
specified may in consequence exercise this right.
- No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime
except in cases of impeachment, cases arising in the Armed Forces and
petty offenses, unless upon indictment by Grand Jury; and in all such
cases, the accused shall have the right to a speedy, public and
impartial trial by a jury of the vicinity, unless such person shall,
with appropriate understanding, expressly waive the right to a jury
trial. In all criminal cases, the accused shall have the right to be
represented by counsel of his choice, to confront witnesses against him
and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. He
shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself and he shall
be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable
doubt. No person shall be subject to double jeopardy.
- The right to counsel and the rights of counsel shall be inviolable.
There shall be no interference with the lawyer-client relationship. In
all trials, hearings, interrogatories and other proceedings where a
person ins accused of a criminal offense, the accused shall have the
right to counsel of his choice; and where the accused is unable to
secure such representation, the Republic shall make available legal aid
services to ensure the protection of his rights.
There shall be absolute immunity from any government
sanctions or interference in the performance of legal services as a
counselor or advocate; lawyers’ offices and homes shall not be searched
or papers examined or taken save pursuant to a search warrant and court
order; and no lawyer shall be prevented from or punished for providing
legal services, regardless of the charges against or the guilt of his
client, no lawyer shall be barred from practice for political reasons.
- Any person who, upon conviction of a criminal offense, was deprived
of the enjoyment of his civil rights and liberties, shall have the same
automatically restored upon serving the sentence and satisfying any
other penalty imposed, or upon an executive pardon.
- Every person shall have the right to own property alone as well as
in association with others; provided that only Liberian citizens shall
have the right to own real property within the Republic.
- Private property rights, however, shall not extend to any mineral
resources on or beneath any land or to any lands under the seas and
waterways of the Republic. All mineral resources in and under the seas
and other waterways shall belong to the Republic and be used by and for
the entire Republic.
- Non-citizen missionary, educational and other benevolent
institutions shall have the right to own property, as long as that
property is used for the purposes for which acquired; property no longer
so used shall escheat to the Republic.
- The Republic may, on the basis of reciprocity, convey to a foreign
government property to be used perpetually for its diplomatic
activities. This land shall not be transferred or otherwise conveyed to
any other party or used for any other purpose, except upon the expressed
permission of the Government of Liberia. All property so conveyed may
escheat to the Republic in the event of a cessation of diplomatic
- The property which a person possesses at the time of marriage or
which may afterwards be acquired as a result of one’s own labors shall
not be held for or otherwise applied to the liquidation of the debts or
other obligations of the spouse, whether contracted before or after
marriage; nor shall the property which by law is to be secured to a man
or a woman be alienated or be controlled by that person’s spouse save by
free and voluntary consent.
- The Legislature shall enact laws to govern the devolution of estates
and establish rights of inheritance and descent for spouses of both
statutory and customary marriages so as to give adequate protection to
surviving spouses and children of such marriages.
- While the inviolability of private property shall be guaranteed by
the Republic, expropriation may be authorized for the security of the
nation in the event of armed conflict or where the public health and
safety are endangered or for any other public purposes, provided:
(i) that reasons for such expropriation are given;
(ii) that there is prompt payment of just compensation;
(iii) that such expropriation or the compensation offered may be
challenged freely by the owner of the property in a court of law with no
penalty for having brought such action; and
(iv) that when property taken for public use ceases to be so
used, the Republic shall accord the former owner or those entitled to
the property through such owner, the right of first refusal to reacquire
- All real property held by a person whose certificate of
naturalization has been cancelled shall escheat to the Republic unless
such person shall have a spouse and/or lineal heirs who are Liberian
citizens, in which case the real property shall be transferred to them
in accordance with the intestacy law.
- The power of the Legislature to provide punishment for treason or
other crimes shall not include a deprivation or forfeiture of the right
of inheritance, although its enjoyment by the convicted person shall be
postponed during a term of imprisonment judicially imposed; provided
that if the convicted person has minor children and a spouse, the spouse
or next of kin in the order of priority shall administer the same. No
punishment shall preclude the inheritance, enjoyment or forfeiture by
others entitled thereto of any property which the convicted person at
the time of conviction or subsequent thereto may have possessed.
Obligation of contract shall be guaranteed by the Republic and no laws
shall be passed which might impair this right.
Where any person or any association alleges that any of the rights
granted under this Constitution or any legislation or directives are
constitutionally contravened, that person or association may invoke the
privilege and benefit of court direction, order or writ, including a
judgment of unconstitutionality; and anyone injured by an act of the
Government or any person acting under its authority, whether in property,
contract, tort or otherwise, shall have the right to bring suit for
appropriate redress. All such suits brought against the Government shall
originate in a Claims Court; appeals from judgment of the Claims Court
shall lie directly to the Supreme Court.
- All persons who, on the coming into force of this Constitution were
lawfully citizens of Liberia shall continue to be Liberian citizens.
- In order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian
culture, values and character, only persons who are Negroes or of Negro
descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of
- The Legislature shall, adhering to the above standard, prescribe
such other qualification criteria for the procedures by which
naturalization may be obtained.
Any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at
the time of the Person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided
that any such person shall upon reaching maturity renounce any other
citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another
country. No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or
nationality except as provided by law; and no person shall be denied the
right to change citizenship or nationality.
The legislative power of the Republic shall be vested in the
Legislature of Liberia which shall consist of two separate houses: A
Senate and a House of Representatives, both of which must pass on all
legislation. The enacting style shall be: "It is enacted by the Senate and
House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia in Legislature
Citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible
to become members of the Legislature.
- for the Senate, have attained the age of 30 years and for the House
of Representatives, have attained the age of 25 years;
- be domiciled in the country or constituency to be represented not
less than one year prior to the time of the election and be a taxpayer.
Each member of the Legislature, before taking his seat and entering
upon the duties of office, shall take and subscribe to a solemn oath of
affirmation, before the presiding officer of the House to which such
person was elected and in the presence of other members of that House, to
uphold and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic and to
discharge faithfully the duties of such office.
- The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the
second working Monday in January.
- The President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a
certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of
each House, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the
Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special
extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of
national emergency and concern. When the extension or call is at the
request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later
than forty-eight hours after receipt of the certificate by the
Simple majority of each House shall constitute a quorum for the
transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day
and compel the attendance of absent members. Whenever the House of
Representatives and the Senate shall meet in joint session, the presiding
officer of the House of Representatives shall preside.
The Legislature shall have the power:
- to create new counties and other political sub-division, and
readjust existing county boundaries;
- to provide for the security of the Republic;
- to provide for the common defense, to declare war and authorize the
Executive to conclude peace; to raise and support the Armed Forces of
the Republic, and to make appropriations therefore provided that no
appropriation of money for that use shall be for a longer term than on
year; and to make rules for the governance of the Armed Forces of the
- to levy taxes, duties, imports, exercise and other revenues, to
borrow money, issue currency, mint coins, and to make appropriations for
the fiscal governance of the Republic, subject to the following
- all revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or
taxes, and other financial bills, shall originate in the House of
Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments
as on other bills. No other financial charge shall be established,
fixed, laid or levied on any individual, community or locality under
any pretext whatsoever except by the expressed consent of the
individual, community or locality. In all such cases, a true and
correct account of funds collected shall be made to the community or
- no monies shall be drawn form the treasure except in consequence
of appropriations made by legislative enactment and upon warrant of
the President; and no coin shall be minted or national currency issued
except by the expressed authority of the Legislature. An annual
statement and account of the expenditure of all public monies shall be
submitted by the office of the President to the Legislature and
published once a year;
- no loans shall be raised by the Government on behalf of the
Republic or guarantees given for any public institutions or authority
otherwise than by or under the authority of a legislative enactment;
- to constitute courts inferior to the Supreme Court, including
circuit courts, claims courts and such courts with prescribed
jurisdictional powers as may be deemed necessary for the proper
administration of justice throughout the Republic;
- to approve treaties, conventions and such other international
agreements negotiated or signed on behalf of the Republic;
- to regulate trade and commence between Liberia and other nations;
- to establish laws for citizenship, naturalization and residence;
- to enact the election laws;
- to establish various categories of criminal offenses and provide for
the punishment thereof;
- to enact laws providing pension scheme for various categories of
government officials and employees in accordance with age and tenure of
- to make other laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying
into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this
Constitution in the Government of the Republic, or in any department or
Each bill or resolution which shall have passed both Houses of the
Legislature shall, before it becomes law, be laid before the President for
his approval. If he grants approval, it shall become law. If the President
does not approve such bill or resolution, he shall return it, with his
objections, to the House in which it originated. In so doing, the
President may disapprove of the entire bill or resolution or any item or
items thereof. This veto may be overridden by the re-passage of such bill,
resolution or item thereof by a veto of two-thirds of the members in each
House, in which case it shall become law. If the President does not return
the bill or resolution within twenty days after the same shall have been
laid before him it shall become law in like manner as if he had signed it,
unless the Legislature by adjournment prevents its return.
No bill or resolution shall embrace more than one subject which shall
be expressed in its title.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive from the Republic
remuneration for their services to be fixed by law, provided that any
increase shall become effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
In the event of a vacancy in the Legislature caused by death,
resignation, expulsion or otherwise, the presiding officer shall within 30
days notify the Elections Commission thereof. The Elections Commission
shall not later than 90 days thereafter cause a by-election to be held;
provided that where such vacancy occurs within 90 days prior to the
holding of general elections, the filling of the vacancy shall await the
holding of such general elections.
Each House shall adopt its own rules of procedure, enforce order and
with the concurrence of two-thirds of the entire membership, may expel a
member for cause. Each House shall establish its own committees and
sub-committees; provided, however, that the committees on revenues and
appropriations shall consist of one member from each County. All rules
adopted by the Legislature shall conform to the requirements of due
process of law laid down in this Constitution.
The Legislature shall cause a census of the Republic to be undertaken
every ten years.
Neither House shall adjourn for more than rive days without the consent
of the other and both Houses shall always sit in the same city.
The business of the Legislature shall be concluded in the English
language or, when adequate preparations shall have been made, in one more
of the languages of the Republic as the Legislature may by resolution
No member of the Senate or House of Representatives shall be arrested,
detained, prosecuted or tried as a result of opinions expressed or votes
cast in the exercise of the functions of his office. Members shall be
privileged from arrest while attending, going to or returning from
sessions of the Legislature, except for treason, felony or breach of the
peace. All official acts done or performed and all statement made in the
Chambers of the Legislature shall be privileged, and no Legislator shall
be held accountable or punished therefore.
The power to prepare a bill of impeachment is vested solely in the
House of Representatives, and the power to try all impeachments is vested
solely in the Senate. When the President, Vice President or an Associate
Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; when the Chief
Justice or a judge of a subordinate court of record is to be tried, the
President of the Senate shall preside. No person shall be impeached but by
the concurrence of two-thirds of the total membership of the Senate. Judgments
in such cases shall not extend beyond removal from office and
disqualification to hold public office in the Republic; but the party may
be tried at law for the same offense. The Legislature shall prescribe the
procedure for impeachment proceedings which shall be in conformity with
the requirements of due process of law.
Contempt of the Legislature shall consist of actions which obstruct the
legislative functions or which obstruct or impede members or officers of
the Legislature in the discharge of their legislative duties and may be
punished by the House concerned by reasonable sanctions after a hearing
consistent with due process of law. No sanctions shall extend beyond the
session of the Legislature wherein it is imposed, and any sanction imposed
shall conform to the provisions on Fundamental Rights laid down in the
Constitution. Disputes between legislators and non-members which are
properly cognizable in the courts shall not be entertained or heard in the
The Senate shall composed of Senators elected for a term of nine years
by the registered voters in each of the counties, but a Senator elected in
a by-election to fill a vacancy created by death, resignation, expulsion
or otherwise, shall be so elected to serve only the remainder of the
unexpired term of office. Each county shall elect two Senators and each
Senator shall have one vote in the Senate. Senators shall be eligible for
Immediately after the Senate shall have assembled following the
elections prior to the coming into force of this Constitution, the
Senators shall be divided into two categories as a result of the votes
cast in each county. The Senator with the higher votes cast shall be the
Senator from a county shall be placed in the same category. The seats of
Senators of the first category shall be vacated at the expiration of the
ninth year. In the interest of legislative continuity, the Senators of the
second category shall serve a first term of six years only, after the
first elections. Thereafter, all Senators shall be elected to serve a term
of nine years.
The Senate shall elect once every six years a President Pro Tempore who
shall preside in the absence of the President of the Senate, and such
shall officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the Senate. The
President Pro Tempore and other officers so elected may be removed from
office for cause by resolution of a two-theirs majority of the members of
The House of Representatives shall be composed of members elected for a
term of six years by the registered voters in each of the legislative
constituencies of the counties, but a member of the House of
Representatives elected in a by-election to fill a vacancy created by
death, resignation or otherwise, shall be elected to serve only the
remainder of the unexpired term of the office. Members of the House of
Representatives shall be eligible for re-election.
The House of Representative shall elect once every six years a Speaker
who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a Deputy Speaker, and
such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House.
The speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be
removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of
the members of the House.
The Executive Power of the Republic shall be vested in the President
who shall be Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of
the Armed Forces of Liberia. The president shall be elected by universal
adult suffrage of registered voters in the Republic and shall hold office
for a term of six years commencing at noon on the third working Monday in
January of the year immediately following the elections. No person shall
serve as President for more than two terms.
There shall be a Vice-President who shall assist the President in the
discharge of his functions. The Vice-President shall be elected on the
same political ticket and shall serve the same term as the President. The
Vice-President shall be President of the Senate and preside over its
deliberations without the right to vote, except in the case of a tie vote.
He shall attend meetings of the cabinet and other governmental meetings
and shall perform such functions as the President shall delegate or deem
appropriate; provided that no powers specifically vested in the President
by the provisions of this Constitution shall be delegated to the
No person shall be eligible to hold the office of President or
Vice-President, unless that person is:
- a natural born Liberian citizen of not less than 35 years of age:
- the owner of unencumbered real property valued at not less than
twenty-five thousand dollars; and
- resident in the Republic ten years prior to his election, provided
that the President and the Vice-President shall not come from the same
- The President and the Vice-President shall, before entering on the
execution of the duties of their respective offices, take a solemn oath
or affirmation to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws
of the Republic and faithfully execute the duties of the office. The
oath or affirmation shall be administered in joint convention of both
Houses of the Legislature by the Chief Justice or, in his absence, the
most senior Associate Justice.
- In an emergency where the Chief Justice and the Associate Justice
are not available, such oath or affirmation shall be administered by a
judge of a subordinate court of record.
The President shall nominate and, with the consent of the Senate,
appoint and commission-
- cabinet ministers, deputy and assistant cabinet ministers;
- ambassadors, ministers, consuls; and
- the Chief Justice and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and
judges of subordinate courts;
- superintendents, other county officials and officials of other
- members of the military from the rank of lieutenant of its
equivalent and above; and
- marshals, deputy marshals, and sheriffs.
The President shall appoint and commission Notaries Public and Justices
of the Peace who shall hold office for a term of two years but may be
removed by the President for cause. They shall be eligible for
- All cabinet ministers, deputy and assistant cabinet ministers,
ambassadors, ministers and consuls, superintendents of counties and
other government officials, both military and civilian, appointed by the
President pursuant to this Constitution shall hold their offices at the
pleasure of the President.
- There shall be elections of Paramount, Clan and Town Chiefs by the
registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of
six years. They may be re-elected and may be removed only by the
President for proved misconduct. The Legislature shall enact laws to
provide for their qualifications as may be required.
The President shall have the power to conduct the foreign affairs of
the Republic and in that connection he is empowered to conclude treaties,
conventions and similar international agreements with the concurrence of a
majority of each House of the Legislature.
The President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each
year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuing
session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of
the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic the
report shall cover expenditure as well as income.
The President may remit any public forfeitures and penalties suspend
and fines and sentences, grant reprieves and pardons, and restore civil
rights after conviction for all public offenses, except impeachment.
The President and the Vice-President shall receive salaries which shall
be determined by the Legislature and be paid by the Republic. Such
salaries shall be subject to taxes as defined by law and shall neither be
increased nor diminished during the period for which the President and the
Vice-President shall have elected.
The President shall be immune from any suits, actions or proceedings,
judicial or otherwise, and from arrest, detention or other actions on
account of any act done by him while President of Liberia pursuant to any
provision of this Constitution or any other laws of the Republic. The
President shall not, however, be immune form prosecution upon removal from
office for the commission of any criminal act done while President.
The President and the Vice-President may be removed from office by
impeachment for treason, bribery and other felonies, violation of the
Constitution or gross misconduct.
- Whenever a person elected to the office of President dies or is
otherwise incapacitated before being inaugurated into office, the
Vice–President elected shall succeed to the office of President, and
this accession shall commence a term.
- Whenever the office of the President shall become vacant by reason
of death, resignation, impeachment, or the President shall be declared
incapable of carrying out the duties and functions of his office, the
Vice-President shall succeed to the of the President to complete the
unexpired term. In such a case, this not constitute a term.
- The Legislature shall, no later than one year after the coming into
force of this Constitution, prescribe the guidelines and determine the
procedure under which the President, by reason of illness, shall be
declared incapable of carrying out the functions of his office.
- Whenever the office of the Vice-President becomes vacant by reason
of death, resignation, impeachment, inability or otherwise, the
President shall, without delay, nominate a candidate who, with the
concurrence of both Houses of the Legislature, shall be sworn in and
hold office as Vice-President until the next general elections are held.
Whenever the Vice-President elect dies, resigns, or is incapacitated
before being inaugurated, the President elected on the same ticket with
him, shall, after being inaugurated into office, nominate without delay
a candidate who, with the concurrence of both Houses of the Legislature,
shall be sworn in an hold office as Vice-President until the next
general elections are held.
Whenever the office of the President and of the Vice-President shall
become vacant by reason of removal, death, resignation, inability or other
disability of the President and Vice-President, the Speaker of the House
of Representatives shall be sworn in as Acting President until the holding
of elections to fill the vacancies so created. Should the Speaker be
legally incapable or otherwise unable to assume the office of Acting
President, then the same shall devolve in order upon the Deputy speaker
and members of the Cabinet in the order of precedence as established by
law. The Elections Commission shall within ninety days conduct elections
for a new President and a new Vice-President.
The Judicial Power of the Republic shall be vested in a Supreme Court
and such subordinate courts as the legislature may from time to time
establish. The courts shall apply both statutory and customary laws in
accordance with the standards enacted by the Legislature. Judgments of
the Supreme Court shall be final and binding and shall not be subject to
appeal or review by any other branch of Government. Nothing in this
Article shall prohibit administrative consideration of the Justifiable matter prior to review by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court shall be final arbiter of constitutional issues and
shall exercise final appellate jurisdiction in all cases whether emanating
from courts of record, courts not of record, administrative agencies,
autonomous agencies or any other authority, both as to law and fact except
cases involving ambassadors, ministers, or cases in which a country is a
party. In all such cases, the Supreme Court shall exercise original
jurisdiction. The Legislature shall make no law nor create any exceptions
as would deprive the Supreme Court of any of the powers granted herein.
The Supreme Court shall comprise of one Chief Justice and four
Associate Justice, a majority of whom shall be deemed competent to
transact the business of the Court. It a quorum is not obtained to enable
the Court to hear any case, a circuit judge in the order of seniority
shall sit as an ad hod justice of the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court shall,
with the consent of the Senate, be appointed and commissioned by the
President; provided that any person so appointed shall be:
- a citizen of Liberia and of good moral character; and
- a counselor of the Supreme Court Bar who has practiced for at least
The judges of subordinate courts of record shall, with the consent of
the Senate, be appointed and commissioned by the President, provided that
any person so appointed shall be:
- a citizen of Liberia and of good moral character; and
- an Attorney-at-Law whom has practiced for at least 3 years, or a
counselor of the Supreme Court Bar.
The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and
all judges of subordinate courts shall, before assuming the functions of
their office, subscribe to a solemn oath or affirmation to discharge
faithfully and impartially the duties and functions of their office and to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the Republic.
The oath or affirmation shall be administered by the president or his
The Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the
judges of subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good
behavior. They may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the
Legislature based on proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to
perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for
treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.
- The Justices of the Supreme Court and all other judges shall receive
such salaries, allowances and benefits as shall be established by law.
Such salaries shall be subject to taxes as defined by law, provided that
they shall not otherwise be diminished. Allowances and benefits paid to
Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts may by
law be increased but may not be diminished except under a national
program enacted by the Legislature; nor shall such allowance and
benefits be subject to taxation.
- The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court
and judges of subordinate courts of record shall be retired at the age
of seventy; provided, however, that a justice of judge who has attained
that age may continue in office for as long as may be necessary to
enable him to render judgment or perform any other judicial duty in
regard to proceedings entertained by him before the attained that age.
No judicial official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted
or tried civilly or criminally by or at the instance of any person or
authority on account of judicial opinions rendered or expressed, judicial
statements made and judicial acts done in the course of a trial in open
court or in chambers, except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or
breach of the peace. Statements made and acts done by such officials in
the course of a judicial proceeding shall be privileged, and, subject to
the above qualification, no such statement made or acts done shall be
admissible into evidence against them at any trial or proceeding.
In all matters of contempt of court, whether in the Supreme Court or in
other courts, the penalties to be imposed shall be fixed by the
Legislature and shall conform to the provision on Fundamental Rights laid
down in this Constitution.
The Supreme Court shall from time to time make rules of court for the
purpose of regulating the practice, procedures and manner by which cases
shall be commenced and heard before it and all other subordinate courts.
It shall prescribe such code of conduct for lawyers appearing before it
and all other subordinate courts as may be necessary to facilitate the
proper discharge of the court’s functions. Such rules and code, however,
shall not contravene any statutory provisions or any provisions of this
- Treason against the Republic shall consist of:
- levying war against the Republic;
- aligning oneself with or aiding and abetting another nation or
people with whom Liberia is at war or in a state of war;
- acts of espionage for an enemy state;
- attempting by overt act to overthrow the Government, rebellion
against the Republic, insurrection and mutiny; and
- abrogating or attempting to abrogate, subverting or attempting or
conspiring to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of
force or any other means which attempts to undermine this
The Legislature shall have the power to declare the punishment for
treason; provided, however, that such punishment shall not include a
deprivation or forfeiture of the right of inheritance by the convicted
person of any property although he may not be entitled to enjoyment
thereof for as long as he continues to serve the term of imprisonment
imposed after conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction. The right
to enjoyment of any property inherited or otherwise conveyed to or
acquired by such convicted person shall be automatically restored upon
serving the term of imprisonment or other punishment, or upon an executive
pardon by the President. No punishment shall preclude the inheritance and
enjoyment, or cause the forfeiture by others entitled thereto, of any
property which the convicted person at the time of any conviction or
subsequent thereto may have possessed or been seized.
POLITICAL PARTIES AND ELECTIONS
- Since the essence of democracy is free competition of ideas
expressed by political parties and political groups as well as by
individuals, parties may freely be established to advocate the political
opinions of the people. Laws, regulations, decrees or measures which
might have the effect of creating a one-party state shall be declared
- All elections shall be by secret ballot as may be determined by the
Elections Commission, and every Liberian citizen not less than 18 years
of age, shall have the right to be registered as a voter and to vote in
public elections and referenda under this Constitution. The Legislature
shall enact laws indicating the category of Liberians who shall not form
or become members of political parties.
As used in this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, an
"association" means a body of persons, corporate or other, which acts
together for a common purpose, and includes a group of people organized
for any ethnic, social, cultural, occupational or religious objectives; a
"political party" shall be an association with a membership of not less
than five hundred qualified voters in each of at least six counties, whose
activities include canvassing for votes on any public issue or in support
of a candidate for elective public office; and an "independent candidate"
shall be a person seeking electoral post or office with or without his own
organization, acting independently of a political party.
No association, by whatever name called, shall function as a political
party, nor shall any citizen be an independent candidate for election to
public office, unless:
- the association or independent candidate and his organization meet
the minimum registration requirements laid down by the Elections
Commission and are registered with it. Registration requirements shall
include filing with the Elections Commission a copy of the constitution
of the association and guidelines of the independent candidate and his
organization, a detailed statement of the names and addresses of the
association and its officers or of the independent candidate and the
officers of his organization, and fulfillment of the provision of
sub-sections (b), (c), (d) and (e) hereof. Registration by the Elections
Commission of any association or independent candidate and his
organization shall vest in the entity or candidate and his organization
so registered legal personality, with the capacity to own property,
real, personal or mixed, to sue and be sued and to hold accounts. A
denial of registration or failure by the Elections Commission to
register any applicant may be challenged by the applicant in the Supreme
- the membership of the association or the independent candidate’s
organization is open to every citizen of Liberia, irrespective of sex,
religion or ethnic background, except as otherwise provided in this
- the headquarters of the association or independent candidate and his
organization is situated:
i. in the capital of the Republic where an association is involved
or where an independent candidate seeks election to the office of
President or Vice- President;
ii. in the headquarters of the county where an independent
candidate seeks election as a Senator; and
iii. in the electoral center in the constituency where the
candidate seeks election as a member of the House of Representatives
or to any other public office;
- the name, objective, emblem or motto of the association or of the
independent candidate and his organization is free from any religious
connotations or divisive ethnic implications and that the activities of
the association or independent candidate are not limited to a special
group or, in the case of an association, limited to a particular
geographic area of Liberia;
- the constitution and rules of the political party shall conform to
the provisions of this Constitution, provide for the democratic
elections of officers and/or governing body at least once every six
years, and ensure the election of officers from as many of the regions
and ethnic groupings in the country as possible. All amendments to the
Constitution or rules of a political party shall be registered with the
Elections Commission no later than ten days from the effective dates of
- Parties or organizations which, by reason of their aims or the
behavior of their adherents, seek to impair or abolish the free
democratic society of Liberia or to endanger the existence of the
Republic shall be denied registration.
- Parties or organization which retain, organize, train or equip any
person or group of persons for the use or display of physical force or
coercion in promoting any political objective or interest, trained or
equipped, shall be denied registration, or if registered, shall have
their registration revoked.
- Every Liberian citizen shall have the right to be registered in a
constituency, and to vote in public elections only in the constituency
where registered, either in person or by absentee ballot; provided that
such citizen shall have the right to change his voting constituency as
may be prescribed by the Legislature.
- Each constituency shall have an approximately equal population of
20,000, or such number of citizens as the legislature shall prescribe in
keeping with population growth and movements as revealed by a national
census; provided that the total number of electoral constituencies in
the Republic shall not exceed one hundred.
- Immediately following a national census and before the next
election, the Elections Commission shall reapportion the constituencies
in accordance with the new population figures so that every constituency
shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided,
however, that a constituency must be solely within a county
Any citizen, political party, organization, or association, being
resident in Liberia, of Liberian nationality or origin and not otherwise
disqualified under the provisions of this
Constitution and laws of the land, shall have the right to canvass for
the votes for any political party or candidate at any election, provided
that corporate and business organizations and labor unions are excluded
from so canvassing directly or indirectly in whatsoever form.
- Any citizen or citizens, political party association or
organization, being of Liberian nationality or origin, shall have the
right to contribute to the funds or election expenses of any political
party or candidate; provided that corporate and business organizations
and labor unions shall be excluded from making and contribution to the
funds or expenses of any political party. The Legislature shall by law
prescribe the guidelines under which such contributions may be made and
the maximum amount which may be contributed.
- No political party or organization may hold or possess any funds or
other assets outside of Liberia; nor may they or any independent
candidates retain any funds or assets remitted or sent to them from
outside Liberia unless remitted or sent by Liberian citizens residing
abroad. Any funds or other assets received directly or indirectly in
contravention of this restriction shall be paid over or transferred to
the Elections Commission within twenty-one days of receipt. Information
on all funds received from abroad shall be filed promptly with the
- The Elections Commission shall have the power to examine into and
order certified audits of the financial transactions of political
parties and independent candidates and their organizations. The
Commission shall prescribe the kinds of records to be kept and the
manner in which they shall be conducted by a certified chartered public
accountant, not a member of any political party.
- Voting for the President, Vice-President, members of the Senate and
members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout
the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year.
- All elections of public officers shall be determined by an absolute
majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority
in the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted on the second
Tuesday following. The two candidates who received the greatest numbers
of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the
- The returns of the elections shall be declared by the Elections
Commission not later than fifteen days after the casting of ballots. Any
party or candidate who complains about the manner in which the elections
were conducted or who challenges the results thereof shall have the
right to file a complaint with the Elections Commission. Such complaint
must be filed not later than seven days after the announcement of the
results of the elections.
The Elections Commission shall, within
thirty days of receipt of the complaint, conduct an impartial
investigation and render a decision which may involve a dismissal of the
complaint or a nullification of the election of a candidate. Any
political party or independent candidate affected by such decision shall
not later than seven days appeal against it to the Supreme Court.
The Elections Commission shall within seven days of receipt of
the notice of appeal, forward all the records in the case to the Supreme
Court, which not later than seven days thereafter, shall hear and make
its determination. If the Supreme Court nullifies or sustains the
nullification of the election of any candidate, for whatever reasons,
the Elections commission shall within sixty days of the decision of the
Court conduct new elections to fill the vacancy. If the court sustains
the election of a candidate, the Elections Commission shall act to
effectuate the mandate of the Court.
- Every political party shall, on September 1 of each year, and every
candidate of such political party and every independent candidate shall,
not later than thirty days prior to the holding of an election in which
he is a candidate, publish and submit to the Elections Commission
detailed statements of assets and liabilities. These shall include the
enumeration of sources of funds and other assets, plus lists of
expenditures. Where the filing of such statements is made in an election
year, every political party and independent candidate shall be required
to file with the Elections Commissions additional detailed supplementary
statements of all funds received and expenditures made by them from the
date of filing of the original statements to the date of the elections.
Any political party or independent candidate who ceases to function
shall publish and submit a final financial statement to the Elections
The Legislature shall by law provide penalties for any violations of
the relevant provisions of this Chapter, and shall enact laws and
regulations in furtherance thereof not later than 1986; provided that such
penalties, laws or regulations shall not be inconsistent with any
provisions of this Constitution.
The President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, may order any
portion of the Armed Forces into a state of combat readiness in defense of
the Republic, before or after the declaration of a state of emergency, as
may be warranted by the situation. All military power or authority shall
at all times, however, be held in subordination to the civil authority and
- The President may, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, proclaim
and declare and the existence of a state of emergency in the Republic or
any part thereof. Acting pursuant thereto, the President may suspend or
affect certain rights, freedoms and guarantees contained in this
Constitution and exercise such other emergency powers as may be
necessary and appropriate to take care of the emergency, subject,
however, to the limitations contained in this Chapter.
- A state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or
outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence,
security or well-being of the Republic amounting to a clear and present
- Emergency powers do not include the power to suspend or abrogate the
Constitution, dissolve the Legislature, or suspend or dismiss the
Judiciary; and no constitutionals amendment shall be promulgated during
a state of emergency. Where the Legislature is not in session, it must
be convened immediately in special session and remain in session during
the entire period of the state of emergency.
- The writ of habeas corpus shall remain available and exercisable at
all times and shall not be suspended on account of any state of
emergency. It shall be enjoyed in the most free, easy, inexpensive,
expeditious and ample manner. Any person who suffers from a violation of
this right may challenge such violation in a court of competent
The President shall, immediately upon the declaration of a state of
emergency, but not later than seven days thereafter, lay before the
Legislature at its regular session or at a specially convened session, the
facts and circumstances leading to such declaration. The Legislature shall
within seventy-two hours, by joint resolution voted by two-thirds of the
membership of each house, decide whether the proclamation of a state of
emergency is justified or whether the measures taken there under are
appropriate. If the two-thirds vote is not obtained, the emergency
automatically shall be revoked. Where the Legislature shall deem it
necessary to revoked the state of emergency or to modify the measures
taken there under, the President shall act accordingly and immediately
carry out the decisions of the Legislature.
AUTONOMOUS PUBLIC COMMISSIONS
The following Autonomous Public Commissions are hereby established:
- CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION;
- ELECTIONS COMMISSION; and
- GENERAL AUDITING COMMISSION
The Legislature shall enact laws for the governance of these
Commissions and create other agencies as may be necessary for the
effective operation of Government.
- No person, whether elected or appointed to any public office, shall
engage in any other activity which shall be against public policy, or
constitute conflict of interest.
- No person holding office shall demand and receive any other
perquisites, emoluments or benefits, directly or indirectly, on account
of any duty required by Government.
- The Legislature shall, in pursuance of the above provision,
prescribe a Code of Conduct for all public officials and employees,
stipulating the acts which constitute conflict of interest or are
against public policy, and the penalties for violation thereof.
This Constitution may be amended whenever a proposal by either (1)
two-thirds of the membership of both Houses of the Legislature or (2) a
petition submitted to the Legislature, by not fewer than 10,000 citizens
which receives the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of both
Houses of the Legislature, is ratified by two-thirds of the registered
voters, voting in a referendum conducted by the Elections Commission not
sooner than one year after the action of the Legislature.
Proposed constitutional amendments shall be accompanied by statements
setting forth the reasons therefore and shall be published in the Official
Gazette and made known to the people through the information services of
the Republic. If more than one proposed amendment is to be voted upon in a
referendum they shall be submitted in such manner that the people may vote
for or against them separately.
The limitation of the Presidential term of office to two terms, each of
six years duration, may be subject to amendment; provided that the
amendment shall not become effective during the term of office of the incumbent
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, any
person duly elected to any office provided for under this Constitution
and under the laws in force immediately before the coming into force of
this Constitution shall be deemed to have been duly elected for the
purpose of this Constitution and to have assumed the position so
occupied on the date of coming into existence of this Constitution.
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution,
elections for the President, Vice-President and members of the
Legislature, prior to the coming into force of this Constitution, shall
be held on the 3 rd Tuesday in January 1985. The person so
elected President of Liberia shall be inaugurated on the 12 th
day of April 1985. The President, Vice-President and members of
the Legislature who are elected for the first term prior to the coming
into force of this Constitution, shall serve their respective terms less
approximately three months. This Constitution shall come into force
simultaneously with that inauguration.
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, the
People’s Redemption Council shall by decree convene a session of the
newly elected Legislature before the 12 th day of April 1985,
to enable the Senate and House of Representatives to organize and elect
their officers. Such elections shall b3e conducted in accordance with
the rules and procedures laid down by the Legislature under the
suspended Constitution until changed by the new Legislature.
- Any person who, under the laws extant immediately before the coming
into force of this Constitution, held an appointment or was acting in an
office shall be deemed to have been appointed, as far as it is
consistent with the provisions of this Constitution, to hold or to act
in the equivalent office under this Constitution until appointments
otherwise provided for under this Constitution shall have been made.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Liberia which came into force on
the 26 th day of July 1847, and which was suspended on the 12
th day of April 1980, is hereby abrogated. Notwithstanding
this abrogation, however, any enactment or rule of law in existence
immediately before the coming into force of this Constitution, whether
derived from the abrogated Constitution or from any other source shall,
in so far as it is not inconsistent with any provision of this
Constitution, continue in force as if enacted, issued or made under the
authority of this Constitution.
- All treaties, executive and other international agreements and
obligations concluded by the Government of the People’s Redemption
Council or prior governments in the name of the Republic prior to the
coming into force of this Constitution shall continue to be valid and
binding on the Republic unless abrogated or cancelled or unless
otherwise inconsistent with this Constitution.
- All foreign and domestic debts or other loans and obligations
contracted by the Government of the People’s Redemption Council or Prior
governments or any agency or other authority in the name of the Republic
of Liberia prior to the coming into existence of this Constitution,
shall continue to be binding on the enforceable by the Republic of
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution:
- The People’s Supreme Court of Liberia and all subordinate courts
operating prior to the effective date of this Constitution shall
continue to so operate, and the Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the
People’s Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts holding
appointments in such courts shall continue to hold such appointments
after the coming into existence of this Constitution until their
successors are appointed and qualified; provided, however, that all
judges of subordinate courts shall remain and preside in their
respective resident circuits pending the reconstruction of the Supreme
Court. The appointment by the President, with the consent of the Senate,
of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and
judges of subordinate courts, shall be made as soon as possible after
the coming into force of this Constitution. The Chief Justice and
Associate Justices of the People’s Supreme Court and judges of
subordinate courts holding office prior thereto, unless reappointed,
shall cease to hold office and their function shall automatically
devolve upon the newly appointed Chief Justice, Associate Justices of
the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts, respectively.
- Where any legal or administrative proceeding has been commenced, or
a person seeks action by any authority or one acting under the authority
of the Government, that matter may be carried on and completed by the
person or authority having power or by his successor-in-office; and it
shall not be necessary for any such proceeding to be commenced de novo.
Any act completed by any person or authority having power under the
existing law shall not be made the subject of review or commenced anew
by anyone assuming the authority of that office after the coming into
force of this Constitution.
- No executive, legislative, judicial or administrative action taken
by the People’s Redemption Council or by any persons, whether military
or civilian, in the name of that Council pursuant to any of its decrees
shall be questioned in any proceedings whatsoever; and, accordingly, it
shall not be lawful for any court or other tribunal to make any order or
grant any remedy or relief in respect or any such act.
- No court or other tribunal shall entertain any action whatsoever
instituted against the Government of Liberia, whether before or after
the coming into force of this Constitution or against any person or
persons who assisted in any manner whatsoever in bringing about the
change of Government of Liberia on the 12 th day of April,
1980, in respect of any act or commission relating to or consequent
- The overthrow of the government in power in Liberia before the
establishment of the government of the People’s Redemption Council;
- The suspension of the Constitution of Liberia of July 26, 1847;
- The establishment, functioning and other organs established by the
People’s Redemption Council;
- The imposition of any penalties, including the death penalty, or
the confiscation of any property by or under the authority of the
People’s Redemption Council under a decree made by the Council in
pursuance of but not limited to the measures undertaken by the Council
to punish persons guilty of crimes and malpractices to the detriment
of the Liberian nation, the people, the economy, or the public
- The establishment of this Constitution.