Chief Justice Lectures Gbowee Foundation Scholarship Recipients


 Monrovia – Over 30 students hailing from Bong County, who are beneficiaries of the Gbowee Peace Foundation scholarships, were on Tuesday given an insight into the functions of the judiciary by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, offering a suggestion for the constitution to be included in the curriculum.

Report by Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]

Prior to the lecture, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee told the Chief Justice she took the kids from Gbarnga to Monrovia on the foundation’s expense in order for them to understand the work of the judiciary.

She said children’s education and leadership program are part of her dream for the future of children when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. From Bong, she said the foundation will extend to Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties.

According to her, she had read stories in the media of the Chief Justice’s previous interaction with students, leaving her with the conviction that he is someone who has passion to share knowledge with young people.

“I read in the media that you met some students and talked to them about the work of the Judiciary. This shows to me that you are someone who has the passion for young people especially by talking and sharing knowledge with them,” Madam Gbowee asserted.

 In response, the Chief Justice told Madam Gbowee and the students that it is always his pleasure to talk and educate students about the work of the Judiciary.

During the lecture session which included questions and answers that lasted for over two hours in the chamber of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Korkpor started by informing the students that there are three branches of Government with various functions namely, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary but the other two branches of government are political while the Judiciary operates in the position of neutrality.

He stated that despite the different functions of the three branches of government, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary—all three coordinate as required by the Constitution.

On the work of Supreme Court, Chief Justice Korkpor furthered that the high court is the place where appeals from the various courts around the country are heard and it is the final arbiter of justice where decisions made are binding.

“The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of justice where when decisions are made, there is no other appeal process. If this court says you are guilty and sentenced to six-years in prison, that will surely stand,” said Chief Justice Korkpor.

According to the Chief Justice, the objective of the court is not to put someone behind bars forever but to help convicts rehabilitate from the wrong done.

Also on the question of the Juvenile court, the Chief Justice says that the court was established to handle cases with children below 18 years who come in conflict with the law and that juveniles are not to be treated like adult offenders because the law cannot hold them for crimes committed due to the fact that their minds are not fully developed, adding that the courts are there to correct juvenile offenders and not retribution

According to the Chief Justice, there is only one Juvenile Court in the country which is now in Monrovia and the law provides that juvenile courts are needed in all the Circuit Courts across the country. But until that can be done, he said, juvenile cases in the various counties are handled by magistrates.

Responding to a question from one of the students about what the court is doing in the absence of the teaching of civics in schools, the Chief Justice said the information also claimed his attention and will like to suggest to the Minister of Education to include the teaching of the constitution in schools.

“I prefer constitution teaching than civics because constitution encompasses what civics portrays and I will suggest to the Ministry of Education to include constitution teaching in our schools,” said Chief Justice Korkpor.