MONROVIA – Liberia’s Chief Justice Francis Kporkpor has retired after serving the position for a decade.
Korkpor had announced his retirement from the Supreme Court Bench earlier this year after having reached the retirement age of 70, as of September 5.
On April 18, 2013, Korkpor, was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, after the retirement of Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis, due to poor health.
By Victoria G. Wesseh, Contributing Writer
The outgoing Chief Justice named the construction of additional judicial complexes in Gbarnga Bong County, Barclayville, Grand Kru County; Zwedru Grand Gedeh County Sanniquellie, Nimba County and Tubmanburg, Bomi County, which are currently in use, as some of his achievements during his tenure.
He lauded former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her decision to appoint him as Chief Justice, stressing that it was based on key criteria, which she considered essential to the justice system of the country.
In a statement at the farewell program, President George 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,” President Weah pointed out.
Korkpor was born in a little village called Zao, Lao Clan, lower Nimba County, in the Republic of Liberia. Due to the fact that there was no school in his home village, Chief Justice Korkpor began his formative years of education in a nearby village called Kpain where he was sent to live with an aunt.
Korkpor then gained admission, as a boarding student, to the St. Mary’s Catholic School in Sanniquellie City where he completed his elementary, junior and senior high school education.
In 1972, Korkpor enrolled at the University of Liberia in pursuit of higher education where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree in Sociology in 1976. Upon graduation from university, Korkpor was employed with the Ministry of Justice in the Criminal Rehabilitation Division as a Research Coordinator from where he was granted a scholarship by the US Government to study Criminal Justice at the N. C. Justice Academy at Salemburg, North Carolina, USA, after a year on the job.
Korkpor, Sr. returned home in 1978 and subsequently enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia where he obtained his LLB Degree in 1982.
PUBLIC & PROFESSIONAL SERVICE
Korkpor, Sr. began his public and professional services at the Ministry of Justice, Republic of Liberia, where he was first recruited as a Research Coordinator immediately upon obtaining his BA degree from the University of Liberia. His service at the Ministry of Justice, also witness his rise to leadership positions within the government of Liberia specifically serving as Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs, Assistant Minister for Legal Affairs, and then Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs.
Due to the civil war in Liberia, like many other Liberians, Korkpor left the country in 1990. He, however, returned in 1991 and went into private law practice. He established the Tiala Law Associates, Inc., and for about 13 consecutive years, served as its Managing Director.
Notable amongst the clients he worked for was the Catholic Church in Liberia and its affiliate institutions. He was also a member of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, a human rights organization and for many years, served as its Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 2004, during the reign of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, Korkpor was appointed to the Supreme Court of Liberia as Associate Justice for the period of two years, a position to which he was nominated and subsequently reappointed by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf upon assuming the Presidency of the Country in 2006.