12 December 2012

Liberia: Judges Challenged

The acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, His Honour Franscis S. Korkpor, Sr. has cautioned judges and magistrates to render fair and impartial justice that will earn the respect of citizens and the public.

He further called on judges not to render "twisted judgments" in a bid to favor particular sides to a case. Justice Korkpor spoke over the weekend when he dedicated two newly constructed magisterial courts in Saclepea, Nimba County and Toe Town, Grand Gedeh respectively.

Commenting further, Justice Korkpor said that magistrates and judges should keep abreast of developments in the law in order that their judgments will be based on what the laws of Liberia say regarding issues before the courts. He said the Judicial Canons encourage judges not to be apprehensive of unjust criticism so long their judgments are impartial and consistent with the law.

Turning his attention to the citizens, Justice Korkpor encouraged court staff to take care of the newly constructed courts. He said the ceremonies were not merely about the dedication of new structures, but that it was more about the presence of the rule of law in the areas where the courts are constructed, noting that where the rule of law is present and administered fairly there will be reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

Justice Korkpor expressed satisfaction with the performance of the local contractors engaged by UNDP for the construction of the magisterial court houses. He said there were some contractors who had failed to complete projects sponsored by some of Liberia's development partners. The Saclepea Magisterial Court was constructed by Liberia Reconstruction and Development Inc., while the Toe's Town Magisterial Court was constructed by Twin Business Group, Inc.

The construction of the Saclepea Magisterial Court was jointly funded by the Government of Liberia and the UNDP, while the Toe Town Magisterial Court construction was fully sponsored by UNDP under the Justice and Security Trust Fund (JSTF), with funding from Swedish International Development Aid (SIDA). The UNDP representative at the program, Mr. James Monibah, Program Analyst of the UNDP, said that he was delighted that the market women and citizens of the localities were able to provide the land on which the constructions were made. Mr. Monibah further informed the audience who graced the program that 75 percent of the funds used to construct the Saclepea Magisterial Court were provided by the Government of Liberia through the Judiciary. Mr. Monibah said UNDP interests in assisting the constructing of the courts were to enhance access to justice, facilitate peace and reduce in vices such as mob violence.

In other developments, the Chief Justice ad interim on Monday afternoon took the President of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on a guided tour of the construction work being done on the court complex situated within the Gbarnga Justice and Security Hub. Speaking briefly to journalists after the inspection of construction work, Justice Korkpor indicated that access to justice also means having decent court facilities from which courts can operate, a release from the Temple of Justice said.

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