Says Chief Justice to Police
With political campaigning on the upswing throughout the country, Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor yesterday warned politicians and their supporters to desist from placing electoral materials on court facilities across the country, including the Temple of Justice in Monrovia. Korkpor has therefore instructed officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and court officers to arrest anyone that will dare defy his order. He said the judiciary is free of political activities.
The Chief Justice’s warning was contained in remarks he made at the opening of Criminal Courts A, B, C, D and E at the Temple of Justice yesterday. “If you are caught bringing T-shirts, posters and flyers of yourself or your candidates around the courtrooms, we are going to take serious action against you,” he warned. The Chief Justice said such acts are totally unacceptable, and expressed the hope that his message will be loud enough so that politicians and their supports will not bring campaign materials to judicial facilities.
To the judges, Korkpor warned them not to allow any candidate to make campaign speeches or hold rallies on their premises, “because that is unacceptable; this place is neutral, void of politics.” Justice Korkpor said he is sounding the warning so that the decisions of judges in future electoral related cases would be seen as being fair and transparent. He said if a judge allows a politician to hold a rally or make political speeches in his courtroom, it means that the judge should also give other politicians the opportunity to do likewise, something he said is unacceptable.
The Chief Justice also told his subordinates that if any of them wants to contest an election, “that person must take leave of the court.” He said that his action is in line with the civil service regulation, which authorizes judicial employees to participate in electoral activities. “The regulation says if you lose, we are compelled to come back to work with no pre-condition, but you have to do it in line with the court’s administrator,” Korkpor noted.
However, the Chief Justice said the regulation does not cover judges, who will have to resign from the judiciary before entering politics.