Liberia: ‘Learn Lesson From Past Mistakes’ – Judge Admonishes Colleagues

Judge Roosevelt Willie of the Criminal Court “A”

Monrovia – A call for Liberians to Learn a lesson from past mistakes was emphasized at the opening of the August 2019 Term of Court held at the Temple of Justice Monday, August 12.

Probably realizing that many Liberians are not learning a lesson from past mistakes, Presiding Judge Roosevelt Willie of the Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice called on all actors of the Judiciary to learn lessons from their past mistakes.

The jammed packed program was attended by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Associate Justice Sie Nyene Youh, lawyers, party litigants as well as prospective jurors.

In his charge, Judge Willie recalled that in March of 2012 the Liberia Studies Association in the United States held its 44th Annual conference in collaboration with the Cornell University in Ithaca New York on the Theme; building a capable state looking back, moving forward in Liberia’s development.

Judge Willie, who was Secretary-General at the time for the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia (NATJL), was invited to represent the body at the event in the US.

Now President of the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia, he said while in the US, he came across several reports that blamed the judiciary of being one of the causes of Liberia’s 14 years civil war that devastated the very fabric of thecountry and killed over 250,000 people.

According to Judge Willie the sub-theme given to him was predicated upon the findings (April 2006) of the International Crisis Group (ICG) which states that the country’s justice system which also includes the Judiciary of Liberia was one of the root causes of the Liberian civil war.

“That report spelled out lack of support to the Judiciary, thereby making the Judiciary subservant to the other branches of government to include Executive and Legislature,” said Judge Willie.

The Criminal Court A Judge continued that the ICG’s report further that the judiciary was being interfered with, judges and magistrates were not adequately compensated and constant delay in their salaries and benefits prompting widespread corruption and leading to mob-violence in the society.

Judge Willie added that the theme offered him was for Liberians to look back and learn from the past if they wanted to move the country forward.

“The question to us as justice actors and all Liberians is: have we learned from our past mistakes and if so, have we taken or taking any corrective measures?” asked Judge Willie, who says he deliberately intend not to answer this very important question but leave it with all Liberians to ponder over it by looking at the realities and be patriotic in providing the answer.

“We open the August 2019 Term of Court, let us do everything possible as justice actors, particularly, the Judiciary to include the Justices, Judges, Magistrates, Public Defenders. Sheriffs, Bailiffs and Support staff to learn from our past mistakes so that development will not elude us, because other nations and organizations will not always be there to help,” Judge Willie said.