President George M. Weah has extoled Liberia’s former Chief Justice, Cllr. Francis S. Korkpor, who is exiting the post in retirement for his remarkable service and countributions to the country.
In his fairwell message Tuesday, September 27, 2022 during the official farewell program in honor of the outing Chief Justice at the Temple of Justice in Monrovi, President Weah said 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.
“During his work at the Justice and Peace Commission established by the Catholic Church in the early 1990s to address human rights abuses and injustices in our society,” President Weah recalled, Cllr Kporkpor quietly but fearlessly made the case for justice and peace for all Liberians, but especially for the underprivileged and the poor.
“Many times, his work brought him into conflict with some of Liberia’s past leaders, but he always remained steadfast to the cause of justice,” the Liberian Leader said further, adding that Justice Korkpor’s record for almost two decades as a Justice on the Supreme Court bench has remained exemplary and outstanding.
“He dedicated his time, first as an Associate Justice and later as Chief Justice, to seeing through key judicial reforms – as well as embarking on the development of major additions and improvements to court infrastructure throughout the country, thereby bringing justice closer to the people,” Dr. Weah pointed out.
“Our Little Secret”
The Liberian Chief Executive used the occasion to speak fondly of his youthful interaction with the outgoing Chief Justice – referring directly to Cllr Kporkpor: “And now, on a personal note, I would like to inform this audience that Chief Justice Korkpor is no stranger to me. Papay, now that you are retiring, I am about to burst out our little secret. I am free now to talk, so now I’m talking. I took all these years to hide our secret.”
He continued: “I have known the Papay [elderly man] since 1986, some 36 years ago. At that time, he was a serious I.E. supporter, and as I was a player for I.E. He was a very kind person to me. Many times, during my school days, when it was rough, I used to go to his office, and he never failed me. Moreover, not only was he very generous to me, but through his advice and guidance, he became a mentor to me, and a strong father figure in my life.
“So, Papay, as you retire today, I can now tell the world that you are my Pa. I can go around you now, and associate freely with you. I know you are retiring now, but I am still your son, yeah? Now that you are leaving Government, I am still your son, yeah? So thank you, Papay, for everything that you have done for me. When times were hard, you were there. When times were good, you were still there. But what I enjoy most is the respect that we kept for each other. Respect and love.”
He said even though Justice Kporkpor has retired, “I know that you are not tired. So l will continue to seek your wise counsel when needed”.
Commitment to Transparent Justice
In a related development, President Weah has reiterated his Government’s commitment to the dispensation of justice and the protection of human rights where the Judiciary is independent and robust.
“We are fully cognizant of the crucial role the Judiciary plays in the maintenance of our hard-earned peace,” the President said. “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.”
He called on members of the Judiciary to endeavor to ensure that blind justice is done to all and that they would do well by relying “on the excellent foundations that have been laid by Justice Francis Korkpor and his colleagues during his leadership of this honorable Supreme Court”.
President Weah also said the most fundamental precept of Liberia’s legal system is the guarantee of rights and freedoms, which makes the judiciary cardinal to the democracy my administration continues to strive to consolidate.
“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,” the President said.
“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 Korkpo.
Meanwhile, President Weah has at the same time appointed Her Honor Justice Sie-A-Nyene Gyapay Youh as Chief Justice of the Republic of Liberia.
President Weah made the appointment on September 27, 2022 following her confirmation by the Liberian Senate. Her appointment takes effect as of Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
In a communication formally notifying Justice Youh of her appointment, the Liberian leader said, “I am pleased to advise that, based upon notification from the Honorable Liberian Senate of your confirmation of Tuesday, August 30, 2022, you are hereby appointed Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Judiciary Branch, Republic of Liberia, effective September 28, 2022.”
The Liberian Chief Executive extended his congratulations to Cllr. Youh and expressed trust in her ability to make meaningful contribution in her area of responsibility “as we strive to move our country forward in a process aimed at enhancing peace, reconciliation and development”.
The new Chief Justice succeeds Justice Francis Korkpor who retired September 27, 2022, on age consideration in consonance with provisions of the Constitution of Liberia.
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