Liberian Chief Justice Promises Good Governance

By: C. Winnie Saywah

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 18, 2003

The Supreme Court Bench consisting of the Chief Justice and four Associate Justices-designate have stressed the need for the practice of good governance and the rule of law if Liberians are to enjoy freedom and fair justice.

Appearing before the NTLA Committee on Judiciary chaired by Rep. Francis Garlawulo yesterday in the Senate’s Chambers at the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court officials said the country has bled too long because its leaders have failed to institute democracy.

The National Bar Association’s vice president, Cllr. Ishmael Campbell who is now a nominee for the position of Associate Justice outlining how good governance and the rule of law can be effective, said this requires an independent legislature and judiciary with the executive exercising efficiency in the enforcement of the law without favor.

Cllr. Campbell said those who are responsible to interpret the law and to dispense justice must be men and women of integrity, honesty, decency, learned in the law, dedicated and fearless.

He said, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of cases in the country, therefore it must administer transparency adding, “all men are equal before the law whether the government of Liberia, when making appearance before the court, ought to be treated as any other litigant.”

He emphasized that government does not have more rights than the ordinary citizens when it appears in court.

In his hearings earlier, the Chief Justice-designate Henry Reed Cooper stressed the need to give judges their lawful compensation in order to attract qualified people to the judicial service.

Cllr. Cooper said there is nothing like corruption to his knowledge noting, “someone such as a lawyer if not practicing his profession as required by the constitution must be dealt with accordingly, but if an employee is paid there can be nothing called corruption.”

For his part, Cllr. Francis Korkpor, one of the Associate Justices-designates said the judiciary is the bed-rock of any democratic nation.

Cllr. Korkpor said if true justice is found in the judicial system, Liberians can rest assure that there will be less chaos and confusion in the society.
He stressed that courts must eliminate any practice of administering justice on the basis of social and economic standards or political and ethnic connections.

The Associate Justice-designate who manages the Tiala Law Associate said if confirmed, he will strive to ensure the judiciary maintains its independence devoid of political and other interference.

He then called on the NTLA to advocate for the appropriate pay and compensation for judicial officers so as not only to attract qualified people to serve the judiciary but to minimize corruption in that branch of government.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.