‘I’m Crucified over Ja’neh’s Impeachment Trial’

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Chief Justice Korkpor: "I have heard and read and continue to hear and read many accusations, innuendoes and speculative views about his role in the process.

-Chief Justice Korkpor breaks silence

For the first time since he began to preside over the Senate impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor has broken his silence about the treatment against him.

Breaking his silence at the opening of the March 2019 term of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Korkpor claimed that he had heard and read and continues to hear and read many accusations, and speculative views about his role in the process.

“And, some of these views are coming from people who ought to know better,” Korkpor told a gathering of lawyers. “As the matter is being tried, I will, for now, refrain from making any substantive comments regarding my own role. But, I assure that in the end, the truth will emerge.”

Justice Korkpor, was among four justices and an Ad Hoc justice that cast a 3-2 vote of the full bench, rejecting Justice Ja’neh’s prohibition request against the House of Representatives, before the Senate could commence Ja’neh’s impeachment trial.

Chief Justice Korkpor, Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe, and Ad Hoc Justice Boima Kontoe were the Justices that voted “no,” while Associate Justices Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie and Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh, voted yes. It was the vote that opened the door to the ongoing trial of Ja’neh.

Justice Korkpor said he saw his role as the presiding officer to ensure that the trial process is in keeping with due process of law as mandated by the Constitution.

The Chief Justice admitted that it was no secret that the Supreme Court was going through challenging times. “We cannot ignore this,” he declared.

He said the ongoing impeachment trial was unprecedented in the history of the country. “To the best of my recollection, no impeachment proceedings in our nation have taken on the form of a full-blown trial before the Senate,” he confessed.

“My role as the presiding officer was mandated by the Constitution,” he stressed. Justice Korkpor quoted Article 43 of the Constitution, which he said, provides that “When the President, Vice President or an Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.”

According to Justice Korkpor, the Liberian Senate tries the proceedings and he is the sole judge whether or not the justice has committed an impeachable offense.“We have no doubt that the honorable men and women of the Senate will, at the end of the trial, make a fair and just determination based on the findings,” the Chief Justice emphasized.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Chief Justice Korkpor, in a country where corruption has been institutionalized by and through the status quo/the elite, of course a revisionist Chief Justice would be obviously crucified by the ELITE for standing up for the ultimate rule of law as provided in the Constitution regarding an IMPEACHMENT trial on the Senate floor in which the culprit is not only a member of the ELITE and status quo, but indeed a notoriously corrupt associate justice of the very Supreme Court’s Bench of which the presider of the impeachment trial has to constitutionally be the very revisionist Chief Justice whom the rotten and corrupt elite/status quo expects to violate the.constitutitution in the selfish interest of the rotten and corrupt impeached judge and the rotten and corrupt status quo/elite.

  2. The Chief Justice should resign after the trial because he failed to protect the Supreme Court and our democracy which doesn’t belong to the Executive regardless of who is the President. If Liberians and international don’t see the court as independent, the economy will continue to go down.

    • On what ground? His supreme duty is to protect the constitution not individuals or justices based on their connections. We see no reason for his resignation. He has held up the constitution during its trying times and that is what CJ dose. Much respect for the Chief Justice.

      • Ben – The folks making all these dumb arguments demanding the Chief Justice recusal are not well-educated to understand legal jurisprudence. These are your typical Liberians who don’t believe in rule of law. Only civilized people believe in the rule of law.

  3. Reading this account of the speeches of the Chief Justice and the President of the Liberian Bar at the opening of the March 2019 Term of Court inspired hope that in times like these Liberia has learned men (and women) of valor and courage, like my late father, Bill Witherspoon, and maternal granduncle, the late Albert Porte. These two men, in their respective ways as a lawyer and writer, for decades and decades ago challenged political convention and put Liberia on a course to which we must return if we are to restore the dignity of our beloved country. I also remember Rev Dr John B. Faulkner and E. Toimu Reeves, both of the Providence Baptist Church. If there are other men, and, indeed women of courage around still around, now is your time to speak and be heard. “Seest thou a man diligent in his work, he will stand before kings”! A word to the wise is still sufficient!!

  4. How dare you associate or compare a crook like Tiawen Gongloe to respected men like Albert Porte and Bill Witherspoon?

    • Kou.
      You don’t know Gongloe. Gongole is not a crook.I have known the man since 1977 .He is one of the most honest Liberians in our life time.

  5. Kou Gontee, did you refer to Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe as a CROOK? Can you go a little further, and enlighten us. What makes him (Gongloe) a crook? Just concerned, Kou Gontee.

  6. Do not tell me you have forgotten so quickly how as chief prosecutor at the ministry of justice, Tiawen Gongloe for reasons best known to himself attempted to obstruct justice in the Angel Togba’ s murder case when he ordered the premature burial of the murdered girl to the unacceptably of the parents of the 13 years old. Or how as chief prosecutor government lost all high profile cases with Gongloe as chief prosecutor. Or also as labor minister companies abused worker’s rights as Gongloe dined and wines with these companies.

  7. Ja’neh refuses to go down in flames! He is the teflon man and a master tightrobe cutter. Ja’neh continues to pull strings. In the process, Ja’neh has become a polarizing figure. His sumu yaya is working. A sitting judge is almost fed up. Ja’neh’s critics and supporters are in a tug of war. What else is new? I suppose after his impeachment trial concludes, no one in his or her right mind will want to hear about impeaching a judge in Liberia.

  8. Look at this Cry- Baby CDC Chief Justice of the Supreme Court…who is being “Crucified” you or Justice Ja’neh???

  9. Justice Ja’neh must face the law based on his deed(s)…He is not above the laws of our country. Let the process take its course as it should…

  10. Kabena Ja’neh will not go down in Liberian history as an impeached associate Justice. The person crucified is Ja’neh and not Chief Justice Korkpor. Justice Korkpor, Nagbe and Ad hoc Justice Kontoe voted no to the prohibitation where Justice Wolokollie and Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh voted yes so why is justice Korkpor crying wolf. Shame is getting him to consider him self as been crucified when he look at a good man like Ja’neh been crucified. Watch out, Africa, Watch out Liberia, Watch out Nimba. Why they plan to do to Ja’neh will not happen because forces are waiting for the out come.

  11. The statement by Chief Justice Korkpor, that people are maligning and assailing him for his role in this Janeh case are the very reasons why any rational, honest and wise person would recuse him/her-self from this proceeding without hesitation. And why? Because and no matter the outcome, this case will never go down as free, fair and just to the contending parties under this Chief Justice.

    With a victory for the prosecution the defendant’s party will cry, “We said it all along, that Justice Korkpor is a stooge of the establishment and had personal vendetta against Kabineh Janeh, reason why he influenced the outcome of this case against Justice Janeh.

    On the other hand, if Justice Janeh and party win this case, the prosecution will cry foul as well. Insinuating that the Chief Justice kowtowed to public pressure and therefore was compelled to side with Justice Janeh in spite of the evidence adduced against him.

    As the court of last resort in the land the Supreme Court, or none of its justices should ever be put in this kind of bind. Reason why the justices of a true Supreme Court always try to maintain upright character, try to be be people of integrity, people of moral rectitude, of principles, people above the fray of partisan politics, be honorable people, etc.

    A court of law, much more the Supreme Court should be a place where citizens can be confident and hopeful they can seek and be rendered justice based on the merit of their cases and not based on who they are, or their tribes, or their social connections, political affiliations, religion, or sex or anything other than simple justice.

    So when people are skeptical and apprehensive going into a case or litigation, and because of the unusual disposition of the presiding judge towards any of the litigants in the proceeding matter, it is just fair and the rational thing for that judge, or object of apprehension to recuse or be recused from the proceeding matter. That would be logical and a sign of good faith.

    Neglect that pragmatism, and the judge of contention will be doing not only a great disservice to the party litigants involved, but the nation as a whole. The situation becomes even more consequential for the judicial system of the nation as a whole, especially when the judge in question is a Supreme Court justice. The outcome of the case could be of landmark proportion to the judicial system in the country. A kind of “stare decisis” or precedent, based upon which future cases will now be based.

    When you consider how such a judge/justice will be more of a “lame duck,” overcompensating for everything just to prove his/her critics wrong, you can imagine how compromised that case would be.

    So Mr. Chief Justice, please save not Kabineh Janeh, or even yourself but the Republic of Liberia the negative implication of your intransigence in retaining yourself as judge in this case. Recuse yourself from this case, plain and simple.

      • Apparently you did not understand the essence of my points. Because doing so, recusing himself is intended to protect the integrity and sanctity of the court and the very laws you mentioned. And by the way, what difference will it make if the Chief Justice recuses himself from any proceeding on account of apprehension over his pretrial utterances, actions or inactions that may impact the outcome of an ongoing trial, and as a way of demonstrating his neutrality and fairness about the trial? Recusing oneself from certain trials on account of a possible conflict of interest or demonstrated interest/prejudice in the matter, just happens to also be the norm and expectation in the judicial realm.

    • Hilary – Apparently you have taken to support Gongloe’s irrational argument that the Chief Justice should recuse himself without any regard for his constitutional obligation. Your views smack of sound reasoning.

      • Thanks for the unintended compliment, Mr. George, even though you surely meant to say something demeaning than you wrote. In that case I hope you are of sound mind to know the difference between “sound reasoning” and the inanity or daftness you display here. But whatever that malady just know that it can be remediated in no time with some sense serum. And free of charge!

  12. If the quotes attributed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia are really his, then he has clearly shown his mental incapacity to hold that very high post. Does he understand the true meaning of undergoing crucifixion???

    Is this the same jurist who effectively stated at the start of the Senate impeachment trial of Justice Ja’neh that his presence there was to also preside over the matter as a criminal case? Does he not know that matters of impeachment are driven purely by political decisions and not criminal in nature?

    Does he not realize he is largely responsible for the mess he is now involved in? His ineffectual decision-making and weak-kneed posture, have caused him to be led down this silly and dangerous path by certain very corrupt and selfish lawmakers in the Liberian Legislature. Where is the independence and equality of the Judiciary vis-à-vis the other two branches?

    He should reign with immediate effect.

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