…Says Chief Justice Korkpor
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor at the opening of the March Term of the Supreme Court yesterday informed a large gathering of legal practitioners about River Cess County’s court houses being in deplorable conditions, a situation which Korpor said is impeding access to justice in the County.
At yesterday’s gathering, attended by President George Weah, Justice Korkpor said the only structure hosting the 14th Judicial Circuit Court in the County was also in a deplorable condition.
“And there are only two magisterial courts in that county, which are also in a bad condition. The two courts are very far apart,” Korkpor told his audience.
“The situation seriously impedes accesses to justice, but we will seek funding to construct court facilities to address the problem,” the chief justice promised.
Justice Korkpor said they would also seek funding to fix the unfinished structure in River-Gee County, which is intended to house the 15th Judicial Circuit Court.
According to Justice Korkpor, for the purpose of having access to justice and judicial independence, “it is imperative that the judiciary be properly housed.”
Justice Korkpor said despite the deplorable condition of some court houses in the country, government has done enough over the years by constructing several courts in most of the 15 counties.
“Government has provided the bulk of the funding for the construction of these court facilities over the years,” Korkpor said, adding: ”Some donor agencies and friendly nations have also assisted in the process.”
Justice Korkpor did not disclose how much was spent on the construction of those court facilities.
He said on March 2 of this year, President Weah dedicated the Judicial complex in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
“The complex houses the 8th Judicial Circuit Court and several other courts that include Debt, Revenue, Traffic and the magisterial court with offices for judicial actors,” Korkpor told his audience.
The Chief Justice said the Bomi Court brings to five the number of judicial complexes that have been constructed and are fully functioning throughout the country.
Currently, the chief justice indicated, there is a judicial complex nearing completion in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, and is expected to be dedicated sometime this year.
“We are constructing a fence around the premises that house the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Barclayville, Grand Kru County, and we would seek funding to construct an annex into a full judicial complex,” Korkpor disclosed.
He also named Magisterial Courts, in Karmplay, Nimba County, the one in Vahum, Lofa County, and the Magisterial Court in the Omega Community, in Montserrado County, as some of the court houses being completed.
“We are experiencing undue delay in the completion of the Magisterial Court in Botota, Kokoya District, in Bong County,” the chief justice explained, citing constraints facing court completion. He added that ”The contractor is being engaged in this regard.”
Korkor disclosed that construction projects were funded by the Swedish Government through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).