19 February 2013

Liberia: Supreme Court Celebrates Nat'l Transformation

Chief Justice, Francis Korkpor says the Supreme Court celebrates with great satisfaction the national transformation especially in the Liberian Judiciary and the justice system in the country. Justice Korkpor said though there is need to promote security reform and strengthen rule of law but the Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice have charted together a new course in enhancing access to justice and rule of law.

He made the statement in Gbarnga, Bong County during the official opening of the Regional Peace that will serve three counties, Nimba, Lofa and Bong Counties and will seek to address major domestic violence and abuse cases.

The Acting Chief Justice said, "Strengthening the rule of law and promoting security sector reform need to be simultaneously addressed to achieve better results. The priority of the Judiciary is to deliver justice, while the Ministry of Justice is to ensure citizens' security."

"Without the citizens' security, there can be no guaranty of an enduring peace, social and economic development. The Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice is aware of this," he said.

He said the hub was originally designed for only security and the inclusion of the Judiciary has created opportunities for greater impact for the benefits of every Liberian as well as foreign residents within the borders.

Justice Korkpor said the sector approach has proven to be effective in dealing with sexual violence, pre-trial detention and probation services, among others and that the hub strategy is another example of the joint approach.

He said the Judiciary's anxiety is that the hub strategy be considered in that justice and security is improved in the three counties covered by the hub noting that for the part of the Judiciary, it has already put in place mechanisms for improved judicial services in those counties.

To date, Justice Korkpor disclosed that the Judiciary has recruited, trained and deployed 28 new magistrates in those counties, constructed 12 new courtrooms over the past three years including the 10th Judicial Circuit in Lofa County.

As for public defenders, the Judiciary has also recruited, trained and deployed public defenders throughout the country and that at least one public defender has been placed in each of the three counties covered by the hub.

The acting Chief Justice said the complaint mechanism established at the Public Service and Outreach office in the Gbarnga Hub will provide opportunity for Liberians to demand more accountability from justice and security actors.

In conclusion, he said when the court house is ready; the 9th Judicial Circuit in Bong County will provide services from the Gbarnga Hub. The county attorney, public defense and probation services will have offices there.

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