29 May 2013

Liberia: Judiciary Seeks Dialogue With Critics

Liberia's Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor has publically asked international friends to complement government's efforts in addressing problems within the judiciary, amidst mounting criticism over corrupt practices and unfair justice dispensation.

Chief Justice Korkpor made the call Tuesday in Monrovia at the commissioning of four judges of circuit courts and specialized court held at the Banquet Hall of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

In her absence from Liberia on official matters, President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf had asked Chief Justice Korkpor to perform the task of commissioning newly confirmed Sinoe County Resident Circuit Judge Tiklo Konton, Lofa County Resident Circuit Judge Nancy Sammy, Liberia's Relieving Judge Johanese Zlahn and Montserrado County Tax Court Judge Mozart Chesson.

"We keep hearing loud criticisms made of the judiciary, especially by our international partners concerning problems in the Judiciary. We accept that indeed, problems do exist in the judiciary which we are gradually taking steps to address. But let me say in this public manner, that we need the assistance of our international friends to complement the efforts of our government in addressing these problems," said Justice Korkpor.

Under his leadership, Chief Justice Korkpor vows that the Judiciary is willing more than ever to dialogue and enter into meaningful partnership to accelerate its reform process.

He expressed confidence that the newly commissioned judges will ably carry out their respective duties in a manner to justify the confidence reposed in them. Justice Korkpor urged the judges to perform their duties fairly and independently, stressing that their conscience should guide them in all judicial actions they will take.

He then acknowledged that an independent judiciary is required as the firmest pillar for a country coming from brutal civil war like Liberia, whose democratic institutions, he noted, were seriously weakened.

"There can be no argument about this. An independent judiciary is the cornerstone of any democratic society. We must therefore first seek to build a strong and independent judiciary in order to sustain the edifice of an enduring democracy," the Chief Justice further stressed.

He then called for collective independence of the judiciary, emphasizing non-interference in judicial proceedings as sanctioned by law; and personal independence which generally provides for every judge to freely decide matters before them in accordance with assessment of the facts and understanding of the law void of inducements, pressures.

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