A newly inducted Liberian judge has admitted here that “for too long” in the country’s judicial history, the effective and sincere dispensation of justice has been challenged by numerous factors including “the seeking for and the granting of unwarranted favors” by some courts and some actors within the security system.
Criminal Court “E” Judge Joseph S. Fayiah made the confession Wednesday afternoon at the Banquet Hall of the Supreme Court after being jointly inducted along with his colleague Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr. on behalf of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
He argued that the failures in the country’s justice system could also be attributed to lack of capacity – especially when the law enforcement officer or judge involved lacks the capacity to be resolute. “…The effective and sincere dispensation of justice has been challenged by numerous factors, including the seeking for and the granting of unwarranted favors on the basis of family connection, friendship, political interferences, etc. by some justice sector actors, especially within our security system and some of our courts either for financial or material rewards or for the purpose of satisfying fraternal bonds existing among certain people in society,” Judge Fayiah noted.
Speaking on behalf of both he and Relieving Judge Yamie Gbeisay, Judge Fayiah said attempting or seeking extra judicial favors from court personnel under their wash by whatever method, especially methods that are tantamount to corruption will be a complete and absolute taboo [or prohibited].
He suggested that adherence to the rule of law, dedication to duty and sincerity on job by every person found with Liberia’s justice sector should be a collective responsibility and duty of everyone. Judge Fayiah emphasized that “failure” on the part of judges as interpreters of the law to state in very certain and unambiguous terms what the laws are and what [judges] understand them to say or be with respect to cases brought before judges and the continuous desire by Liberians and “aliens” to breach the laws with impunity is one of the cardinal reasons behind Liberia’s underdevelopment since 1847.
The newly inducted judge believes that judges’ decisions must clearly be seen to be adequately grounded in law and based on facts, evidence, adding that any deliberate departure from such responsibility is a recipe for the decline of confidence in the country’s justice system.
He says such would scare potential investors, thereby denying the country available opportunities and goodwill for meaningful infrastructural, economic, political and social developments. Earlier, Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis Korkpor urged Judges Fayiah and Gbeisay to prove to the Liberian people that they deserve the confidence reposed in them as judges.
Chief Justice Korkpor said judge means fairness, even if a matter involves someone that the judge knows, adding that one wrong decision of a judge can set the country off track. He assured the two new judges of the Supreme Court’s support once they do the right thing, but warned that the court would not relent to chastise and punish a judge for decisions that involve impropriety.
By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Othello B. Garblah