Liberia: Legislators to Make Early Return to Capitol; Confirmation of New Chief Justice High on the Agenda

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MONROVIA – In keeping with Article 32(b) of the Constitution, President George Weah has requested the lawmakers to cut short their second annual break and return to the Capitol for special sittings beginning August 15, 2022 for 30 days to deliberate some matters of national concern.

Article 32(b) states that the President shall, on his own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a regular session of the Legislature beyond the date for adjournment or call a special or extraordinary session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern. When the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later than 48 hours after receipt of the certificate by the President.

“We acknowledge your second adjournment which by law is expected to end on the second Friday of October of each year, however, there are time-bond critical National issues which must be resolved as a matter of urgency,” the President stated in his communication to the Legislature.

In the communication addressed to House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, President Weah stated that the issues at hand are so critical that they cannot wait for the return of the legislature in October.

According to him, the appointment of a new Chief Justice and the setting of new census date, the ratification of the elections law, and other significant instruments especially those of economic nature, are among the issues to be deliberated by the legislators.

Article 72(b) of the Constitution of Liberia provides that “the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of subordinate courts of records shall be retired at the age of 70…”

Chief Justice Francis Korkpor turns 70 on September 5, this year.

In the event of his departure from the bench in September, at the next opening ceremony of this Court on the second Monday in October this year, a new Chief Justice or the Senior Associate Justice will perform the duties, in keeping with the practice and procedure, shall be conducting the affairs of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary pending the appointment of a Chief Justice by the President of Liberia.

The climax of Chief Justice Korkpor’s presence on the High Court will also mark the end of many years of private law practice, beginning with his time as lawyer for the Catholic Church and its affiliate institutions, and human rights advocacy with the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, all the way to the Supreme Court Bench in 2004.

Korkpor arrived on the bench at a crucial time when the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) headed by the late Charles Gyude Bryant was at the help of power following more than a decade of civil war.

Recommended by the Liberian National Bar Association. The members of the Supreme Court at the time were Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper, and Associate Justices Francis S. Korkpor, Sr., John L. Greaves, Ishmael P. Campbell and Felicia V. Colemen. Two members of that Bench, Mr. Justice Campbell and Mr. Justice Greaves have since departed this world to the great beyond.

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