–Weah says goodbye to former Chief Justice Korkpor
By Lincoln G. Peters
President George Manneh Weah has appreciated former Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor’s ‘immeasurable and valuable services to national duty, saying Korkpor has paid his dues to national duty.
At former Chief Justice Korkpor’s retirement program Tuesday, 27 September 2022 in Monrovia, President Weah cited the honoree’s judicial reform during his administration at the Supreme Court of Liberia.
“Justice Korkpor has paid his dues, dating as far back as when he championed the cause of the poor and needy, and when he represented the interest of the nation by his support for civil society, and journalists,’’ said President Weah.
“Over the past several years, we have been deliberate in this national project, as we endeavor to maintain the independence that this branch of government ought to have,” he added.
President Weah said he was honored to have participated in and witnessed the ‘very important event,’ referring to Korkpor’s retirement ceremony.
President Weah noted that even though Chief Justice Korkpor has retired, he knows that Chief Justice Korkpor is not tired.
As such, President Weah said he will continue to seek the former Chief Justice’s wise counsel when needed.
President Weah explained that the most fundamental perception of Liberia’s legal system is the guarantee of rights and freedoms.
He stated that these make the judiciary cardinal to the democracy of Liberia, adding that his administration continues to strive to consolidate in this area.
“I must therefore applaud all of your efforts in this regard, particularly the man who we are here to honor today, the outgoing Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia, His Honor Francis Korkpor,” President Weah said.
On Tuesday, 27 September 2022, the Supreme Court of Liberia adjourned for its March Term of Court.
The ceremony was combined with the official retirement program of former Chief Justice Korkpor who is being replaced by Cllr. Sie – A – Nyene G. Yuoh.
The program was held in the Chamber of the Supreme Court and was graced by Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chea, and members of the Legislature.
Also in attendance were members of the diplomatic corps, the Liberia National Bar Association, and other members of the public.
President Weah recalled that during the honoree’s work at the Justice and Peace Commission established by the Catholic Church in the early 1990s, he quietly but fearlessly made the case for justice and peace for all Liberians.
He said Justice Korkpor made the case especially for the underprivileged and the poor.
Mr. Weah further indicated that many times Chief Justice Korkpor’s work brought him into conflict with some of Liberia’s past leaders, but he always remained steadfast to the cause of justice.
“We are fully cognizant of the crucial role the Judiciary plays in the maintenance of our hard-earned peace,” said President Weah.
“Therefore, as we head to general and presidential elections next year, it is expected that you will continue to be of critical importance in our efforts to solidify our democratic credentials as a Nation,’’ President Weah urged.
“Justice Korkpor’s record for almost two decades as a Justice on the Supreme Court bench has remained exemplary and outstanding,” he noted.
According to President Weah, Justice Korkpor dedicated his time, first as an Associate Justice and later as Chief Justice, to seeing through key judicial reforms.
He lauded Korkpor for having embarked on developments and improvements to court infrastructures throughout the country, thereby bringing justice closer to the people.
During testimonials at the program, outgoing Chief Justice Korkpor received overwhelming appreciation from his colleagues for the invaluable role played during his service to the nation.
In response to the many testimonials, former Chief Justice Korkpor expressed excitement and appreciation to the Liberian people for entrusting him with national leadership.
He noted that his stay at the Court could not have been possible without his understanding of colleagues, and international and national governments for their support of his leadership.
“I was the only justice reappointed to the Supreme Court by former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf when the interim government of Gyude Bryant ended,” explained Chief Justice Korkor.
“She said her decision to reappoint me was for continuity of [the] program, based on integrity, knowledge of the law, and human rights record,” he continued.
He recalled that after the late Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis resigned, former President Sirleaf immediately appointed him (Korkpor) as Chief Justice. –Edited by Winston W. Parley