Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor yesterday reminded his audience at the official opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia that the upcoming 2017 presidential and legislative elections are critical to the maintenance and survival of the country’s fledgling democracy.
“Toward this end,” Justice Korkpor said, “My colleagues and I have decided and resolved not to take any vacation beginning the March 2017 Term of this court until the elections are held and a new administration is inaugurated.”
The intention for this pronouncement, he said, is for the court to remain open at all times during the conduct of the elections to ensure that all grievances and elections-related matters are properly heard and decided in keeping with the law.
“We have discussed with the Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to explore ways and means for election-related cases to be expeditiously heard and decided,” Justice Korkpor said.
Justice Korkpor said due to the critical nature of the ensuing elections, it was important for the government to create an enabling environment for the smooth conduct of the elections.
His concern was echoed by several other speakers and stakeholders, who in the past made similar calls on the holding of free, fair, and transparent elections to avoid violence.
Justice Korkpor then advised Liberians against any act during the electioneering period that would derail the gains the country has made over the years to sustain the peace and democracy.
He said the Judiciary branch of government is mindful of the tenet that the greatest security a nation can have for lasting peace is the presence of the rule of law.
Despite Justice Korkpor’s concern about the rule of law, many legal experts and ordinary Liberians have lost trust and confidence in the judicial system because of what they suspect to be endemic corruption in the sector.
They have claimed that the judiciary is corrupt, and that this may eventually lead to future conflicts if nothing is done to improve its negative image in jurisprudence.
Accordingly, Korkpor assured his audience that the justices were committed to ensuring the proper and timely application of the rule of law.
He said as the country takes on the onerous task of self-security, the laws must be used to safeguard the nation, including its people and foreign nationals.
“This is not only necessary to ensure peace, but also to invite the trust and confidence of genuine business investors into our economy,” he said.