Judge Mardea Tarr – Chenoweth Wants Oil Court
The Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit court in Kakata, Margibi County has called for the establishment of a natural resource court in Liberia to deal specifically with the nation’s emerging oil industry.
Judge Mardea Tarr-Chenoweth has also cautioned the government to be very circumspect of the numerous challenges that could emerge with the exploration of oil here, and to be fully prepared for the daunting challenges ahead of the petroleum industry.
She said predicated upon cases of oil and mineral thefts and other related crimes, including conflicts in countries such as Mexico, Pakistan, Nigeria and other oil producing countries, it necessary to establish a natural resource court that would prosecute cases of oil exploration, mining and extraction of other natural resources in Liberia.
According to the Liberia News Agency, Judge Chenoweth made the call recently at the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata during the formal opening of the August Term of court.
Speaking on the theme, “Looking beyond the challenges we face”, the judge cautioned that Liberia is virgin oil nation so the government should put in place every necessary measure that would ensure revenues generated from the oil sector is meant well for the Liberia people, adding “If nothing is done to put these measures into place, the oil could be a curse rather than a blessing for the people of Liberia.”
Judge Chenoweth said from a judicial standpoint, the government and policy makers must be prudent enough to think critically in development the oil industry, noting that some of these challenges could be prevented and overcome if judges and lawyers obtain international training in areas of exploration and mining laws.
She has also recommended for the inclusion of such laws in the curriculum of the Louis Arthur Grimes school of Law of the University of Liberia as well as petroleum engineering courses in programs at the engineering college at the university.
In response to the Judge’s charge, Margibi County Attorney Hector Quoigoah assured the court of continuous support and cooperation in dispensing transparent justice during the August term of court. Over 89 criminal and civil cases are on the trial docket for this term of court at the 13th Judicial Circuit in Kakata.
At the same time, Judge Chenoweth is calling on government to provide vehicles for Circuit Judges across the country. She said since government provided vehicles for judges on December 18, 2006, they have not been replaced, and they have broken down, greatly impeding their smooth functions, especially when they have to rotate from one court to another across the country.