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-Condemn death threat against Chief Justice

Liberian judges say a recent threat [by Mark Jabateh] to kill Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., and an earlier arson attack against Associate Justice Joseph Nagbe’s home by some individuals are a threat to all judges here, condemning the incidents as slowly but surely creeping evil that imposes on the judiciary.

Delivering a charge Monday, 10 May at the opening of the circuit courts in Monrovia, Criminal Court “D” Judge Nelson T. Tokpa, on behalf of his colleagues, said the threatening remarks against Chief Justice Korkpor and any member of the Supreme court Bench “is a threat against all judges.”

“Therefore, judges are concerned about the [threatening] remarks made against Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. and the Arson attack made against the home of Associate Justice Joseph N. Nagbe by some individuals,” Judge Tokpa said.

He furthered that if he were to select a topic to discuss for the opening of the circuit courts for the May Term, it would be “Current Trend in the Judiciary” and this should be for no other reason than that of showing the slowly but surely creeping evil that imposes on the Judiciary.”

Judge Tokpa pleaded for a halt and farewell to what he called a destructive element known as “delay of trial,” and in its place, a right turn and forward match for the purpose of reducing or clearing out the dockets in the courts here.

Judge Tokpa’s comments on came Monday after a recent threat by Mark Jabateh to kill Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. if a single Mandingo man got killed in a land dispute in Nimba County.

“If a single Mandingo man is killed in Nimba County today, some of us will sacrifice our lives because enough is enough! We have been marginalized. We have been marginalized. When Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf came she failed to settle the land dispute in Nimba County, it’s continuing,” Jabateh stated in an interview with Spoon FM last month.

Jabateh’s threat against Chief Justice Korkpor came amidst recent violent clashes in the county that followed a demolition exercise carried out on Monday, 19 April 2021 based on a court eviction order issued by the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba County.

In a video, he had accused Chief Justice Korkpor of allegedly being behind a land dispute in Nimba County. He then claimed that he was mobilizing his brothers and sisters, monitoring the situation in Nimba County and threatened that if there was any attempt by any group of people to kill a single Mandingo man, that means maybe ECOWAS or UN will come in.

The demolished buildings were situated on disputed land between the Jabateh and Donzo families on one hand and Fred Johnson on the other. Dispute over this parcel of land has been going for a protracted period of time.

Joint security officers including Police and Liberia Immigration Services (LIS), were seen guarding the site on the Dunbar Field around the Saclepea Parking Station.

In May 2019, a case over the same place where stirred the recent violent demonstration in Nimba was filed before the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and that case was between the Government of Liberia and the members of the Mandingo tribe of Ganta, Nimba County.

The suit in question emanated from a long-standing land dispute, which was offset by the “illegal occupation” of real properties of residents of Ganta, who are mainly the members of the Mandingo tribe, who fled the country during the war.

However, Jabateh, claimed in the interview last week Mandingos are being marginalized in Nimba County because Chief Justice Korkpor has appointed Manor people as judges in the county instead of appointing Vai people from Grand Cape Mount County to serve as judges in Nimba County.He claimed that some ex – fighters were due to carry out an alleged attack on a Mosque in Gnata at night, thereby calling on the police and the army to intervene.

As such, Jabateh vowed that “if a single Mandingo man is killed in Ganata, that means we will kill the Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia because he is responsible for the land dispute in Nimba County.” By Winston W. Parley

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