Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, says the rule of law is the panacea to sustainable peace in any given society, as such the establishment of a corruption court in Liberia is critical.
The VP noted that there can be no sustainable development without sustained peace and that “the Weah-led government remains committed to sustaining the peace through an independent and professional justice system.”
“Only the rule of law can sustain peace and without peace, there will be no development," said VP Howard-Taylor. The VP also called for the development of a second phase of the project that will include the establishment of a corruption court in Liberia to address impunity.
The VP's remarks came at the dedication of the Botota Magisterial Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit in Bong County. The Court was established with funding from the government of Sweden implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Liberia through its Judiciary.
The Botota court will ensure accessible justice and redress grievances to over 3,000 residents in the area. This initiative forms part of efforts by the Government supported by development partners, to strengthen the rule of law by expanding the reach of the Judiciary and security services including the construction of courts in remote areas, where justice is inaccessible.
The Judiciary which plays an important role in nation-building has the responsibility to administer the rule of law from which flow order and stability for the people. Whenever there are disputes, the courts serve as the forum where people are heard and receive justice.
At the Court, the VP urged Magistrates to effectively and efficiently use the law to help change the perception of the Liberian people to the effect that justice is improving. She then used the occasion to frown on some Liberian constructors who according to her, are constantly defrauding on necessary contracts awarded to them.
Her comments followed an earlier statement by Chief Justice Korkpor that the construction of the Court was delayed due to defrauding on the part of a Liberian contractor who was awarded the contract.
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor at the ceremony stressed that “People everywhere have the right to have access to justice. This is a cardinal right of all mankind. There must be a forum where people can have redress to their grievances.”
The Chief Justice in his remarks reminded Magistrates of their responsibility in ensuring that their decisions are correct and that they will bring satisfaction to the people. "It is not the beautiful court that will bring access to justice. What will make people satisfied is the quality of judgments that will come from this court.”
Access to affordable and quality services from the court remains critical to bringing justice closer to the people and reducing the number of cases on the dockets. In this regard, UNDP Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques believes that the judiciary, as well as lawyers, are in a unique position to help people in times of need.
Making remarks at the opening of the Magisterial Court in Botota, Mr. Rodriques emphasized that it was important for citizens to have trust and confidence in the commitment of the Judiciary to deliver justice. He stressed the importance of strengthening public confidence in governance structures.
Mr. Rodriques noted that while the court forms part of the Judiciary’s assets, it reflects UNDP’s people-centered approach to justice which is responsive to the needs of the people to uphold the rule of law. “This approach relies on the perspectives, needs, strengths, and expectations of the justice-user to improve the quality of justice and reduce barriers to service delivery,” said UNDP Resident Representative.
He hailed the partnership with the Governments of Sweden and Liberia and encouraged residents of Botota to own and protect the facility. “To the people and communities of Botota, I wish to state that this is your court. Own it, use it, and make sure that it works for you. Most importantly, protect it from all forms of vandalism,” Stephen Rodriques stressed.