By Abednego Davis
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor yesterday warned judges who are aligned with political parties to immediately desist from the act.
Justice Korkpor warned that any judge seen participating in political activities during the upcoming presidential and legislative elections will be seriously dealt with, though he did not explain the kinds of punishment that disobedient judges will face.
Serving as proxy for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the commissioning and induction ceremonies of Criminal Court ‘E’ Resident Judge Serena Garlawolu and Relieving Judge Scheaplor Dunbar at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Korkpor warned that, “The judiciary is non-aligning and we are not part of politics; so, we will not hesitate to chastise judges that are politicians.”
Korkpor reminded both Garlawolu and Dunbar that he understands why they represented politicians as practicing lawyers.
“You are now playing a role that will require you not to align with those clients (politicians) and with politics because the upcoming elections are very crucial to Liberians,” the Chief Justice advised.
“You are coming to the judiciary at a time when we need you so much to help to determine elections-related matters that will make the process free, fair and transparent for the people to accept its results,” Justice Korkpor noted.
Elections, Korkpor said, are the expressions of the people’s choice of government, and are also essential for legitimizing those who are chosen to run the government.
“This is why we are interested in you not being a part of any political activity so that the elections’ outcome can be seen as free and fair,” the Chief Justice emphasized.
“As long as you remain within the pillar of the law and the rule of the court, you are a part of our family and we are going to defend you and stand by every decision you will make.
But, if you step outside we are going to reprimand you so try to protect yourself and seek advice,” he said.
Judge Dunbar, who spoke on behalf of the inductee pair, lauded President Sirleaf for the confidence she reposed in them.
“We are going to do everything possible to justify the confidence to make us judges and we are well prepared and ready to contribute to the administration of fair and transparent justice,” the Relieving Judge promised.
He said that they are aware of the challenges facing judges, “One thing we can say here is that we are going to try to be impartial, earnest and independent in the discharge of our duty. We are not going to do anything wrong that will bring this judiciary into public disrepute,” he emphasized.
Criminal Court ‘E’ Resident Judge Serena Garlawolu has over ten years of active legal experience, having joined the profession in 2006.
Garlawolu worked with the United Nations Mission in Liberia as a legal consultant and also worked with the Ministry of Justice in the capacities of County Attorney for Bong County and director for felonious crimes.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BBA) degree in Business Administration from the University of Liberia (UL) and a Bachelor of Law degree (LLB) from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, also at the UL.
Relieving Judge Scheaplor Dunbar has over 18 years of active legal practice.
He served in several positions at the Pierre, Tweh and Associates law firm as senior legal counsel to the junior partner, and head of litigations.
He holds a Bachelor of Science (BSC) degree in Chemistry from the University of Liberia (UL), Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the UL, and a Master of Law (LLM) degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.