As the 8th Judicial Circuit Court opened for the February Term of Court, the assigned Judge, Cllr. Johannes Zogbey Zlahn, called on judges, including stipendiary magistrates of various magisterial courts in Nimba, to dispense justice in a timely, efficient and effective manner.
Speaking at the opening of court on Monday, February 10, Cllr Zlahn said, “the attainment of our goal of administering and dispensing justice in the best way possible requires the cooperation of all concerned including our staff, the stipendiary and associate magistrates of our various magisterial courts, staff, state prosecutors, party litigants and the plaintiff and defense bar.”
The Counselor continued, “We, as assigned Circuit Judge, shall do no less; we shall do our very best to ensure that anyone who walks through the doors of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court during Term of Court, seeking justice, shall get it.”
The Judge added, “We are keenly aware of the fact that certain segments of our society, including our partners in progress, have sometimes expressed less favorable opinions of our judiciary and justice system.”
“But we believe that if we truly and scrupulously perform our individual and collective duties as administrators and dispensers of justice and the anchor of our government to which our people look for redress of their grievances, the negative opinions of our people and others regarding the judiciary will gradually begin to change, and they will begin to appreciate the role of the court in our system of government,” he said.
There are 51 criminal cases on trial docket in this term of court with over 100 pre – trial detainees languishing behind bars at the Sanniquellie Central Prison.
On the trial docket some of the cases, including those of murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault, have been left languishing in trial since 2008; making them the oldest cases for this term of court.
Cllr Zlahn speaking in an exclusive interview promised to begin with the oldest cases first, which would depend on all parties involved being present.
He stated in his address: “we wish to emphasize at this point in our address, that we as judges are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like referees and as such, we do not make rules but apply them to a given set of facts or circumstances,” he added.
Continuing, he said, “the roles of a referee and a judge are critical and limited because they make sure that everyone plays by the rules.”
He maintains that in the courtroom, the players are party litigants and their lawyers and, therefore, the opposing parties and their lawyers are the real focus of our justice system and whose contentions and positions must be impartially, fairly and justly decided by judges based on the facts and applicable law.
Cllr Johannes Zogbay Zlahn urged all courts, including magisterial courts, to open on time saying, “justice delayed is justice denied; which is why all courts should be opened by 8am accordingly.”