Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor, says the rule of law is the panacea to sustainable peace in any given society as such the establishment of a corruption court in Liberia is critical.
VP Howard-Taylor furthered that there can be no sustainable development without sustained peace and that “the Weah-led government remains committed to sustaining the peace through an independent and professional justice system.”
The Botota court ensures accessible justice and redresses grievances to over 3,000 residents in the area.
VP Howard-Taylor particularly thanked the Chief Justice, His Honor Francis S. Korkpor, and International Partners, including the Swedish Government, for the project, ensuring access to justice for people in that rural part of the country.
However, she used the occasion to frown on some Liberian constructors who according to her, are constantly defrauding on necessary contracts awarded to them.
Her comments followed an earlier statement by Chief Justice Korkpor that the construction of the Court was delayed due to defrauding on the part of a Liberian contractor who was awarded the contract.
But the Vice President believes that establishing a corruption court in the country would however address many of these corrupt acts exhibited against the state and its people.
She justified that a corruption court was necessary in Liberia, especially at the time when anti-graph entities were gathering pieces of evidence on most of these cases of corruption.
At the same time, Vice President Howard-Taylor has asked the Judiciary under its training component to consider the training of electoral magistrates across the country.
Speaking earlier at the program, was Chief Justice Korkpor, who asserted that it was hurtful for the Judiciary to be often branded as corrupt but quickly pointed out that the judiciary is not as evil as being perceived.
However, the Chief Justice admonished those charged with administering justice to the people to refrain from acts that are inimical to their status.
On the construction of the magisterial court, Chief Justice Korpor lauded UNDP and the Swedish government for the commitment fulfilled in the completion of the Botota Magisterial Court in Bong County.
He disclosed that the magisterial court construction project targets the remotest parts of Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, and Lofa counties.
According to Justice Korkpor, the court equalizes everyone; as such, access to justice would be effectively ensured by the court in these earmarked counties.
The Judiciary which plays an important role in nation-building has the responsibility to administer the rule of law from which flow order and stability for the people. Whenever there are disputes, the courts serve as the forum where people are heard and receive justice.
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor at the ceremony stressed that “People everywhere have the right to have access to justice. This is a cardinal right of all mankind. There must be a forum where people can have redress for their grievances.”
The Chief Justice in his remarks reminded Magistrates of their responsibility in ensuring that their decisions are correct and that they will bring satisfaction to the people. "It is not the beautiful court that will bring access to justice. What will make people satisfied is the quality of judgments that will come from this court.”
Mr. Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Resident Representative emphasized that it was important for citizens to have trust and confidence in the commitment of the Judiciary to deliver justice. He stressed the importance of strengthening public confidence in governance structures.
Mr. Rodriques noted that while the court forms part of the Judiciary’s assets, it reflects UNDP’s people-centered approach to justice which is responsive to the needs of the people to uphold the rule of law. “This approach relies on the perspectives, needs, strengths, and expectations of the justice-user to improve the quality of justice and reduce barriers to service delivery,” said UNDP Resident Representative.
He hailed the partnership with the Governments of Sweden and Liberia and encouraged residents of Botota to own and protect the facility.
“To the people and communities of Botota, I wish to state that this is your court. Own it, use it, and make sure that it works for you. Most importantly, protect it from all forms of vandalism,” Stephen Rodriques stressed.
However, this initiative forms part of efforts by the Government supported by development partners, to strengthen the rule of law by expanding the reach of the Judiciary and security services including the construction of courts in remote areas, where justice is inaccessible.
The Vice President made these remarks recently at a program marking the dedication of the Botota Magisterial Court of the 9th Judicial Circuit in Bong County.