News / Africa

    Citing Poor Health, Liberia’s Chief Justice Steps Down

    Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis (right)Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis (right)
    x
    Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis (right)
    Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis (right)
    James Butty
    Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has accepted a request from Chief Justice Johnnie Lewis for an early retirement. Sirleaf said the chief justice, who has been in failing health, asked for early retirement to seek medical attention.  

    Counselor Jerome Verdier is former chairman of Liberia’s disbanded Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a law student of Lewis. 

    He said that, although Lewis was a good classroom lawyer, the opinions he expressed while on the bench did not reflect that because Liberia’s current political climate undermines the independence of the judiciary.

    “The best that I know of the former chief justice, he’s a very, very good lawyer by any fair measure or standard.  But, that didn’t measure out well with his responsibility as the administrator of the Supreme Court bench. Over the years, I didn’t think he managed the bench well.  His ailing health, I think, contributed to that situation, as well as the political environment which, I think, undermined the Liberian judiciary,” he said.

    Verdier said Lewis’ “old order mentality” also influenced the prism with which he saw and administered justice.

    “It’s true. He has overstepped his powers.  He exercised extra-judiciary powers.  There were two petitions before the House to impeach him for doing that.  He intimidated journalists; he intimidated lawyers, business people and all of that.  That’s a clear abuse of office and abuse of power. But, with all of that, the political environment accepts that,” Verdier said.

    Sirleaf said Lewis’ early retirement would take effect Monday (September 10).

    Butty interview with Verdier
    Butty interview with Verdieri
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    There is already speculation about who might succeed Lewis.  One of the names for possible succession include current justices Francis Korkpor, Kabineh Janeh, Justice Minister Christiana Tah, among others.

    Verdier said such speculation is useless because Sirleaf, with control of the senate and with no check and balances, will appoint whomever she wants, whether that person is qualified or not.

    But he said the safest thing Sirleaf can do is to nominate one of the most senior sitting justices, so that what he called her biases or preferences do not cloud the selection process.

    “Justice Kabineh Janeh and Justice [Francis] Korkpor are by far the most progressive justices on the bench and I can tell you, from practicing in Liberia, that they are the two who have been holding up the bench, notwithstanding all other things,” Verdier said.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora