Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor will be committing treason against the state shoul
d he step aside from the ongoing impeachment trial of Associate Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, the House of Representatives lawyer said Monday in the capital Monrovia .
They argued a constitutional crisis would erupt leading to “citizens’ arrest” if the Chief Justice were to relinquish his role as the presiding officer in the matter. Once he did that citizen arrest will be carried out and the country’s top judge will be ousted from office, the House’s lawyers forecast.
“Your [Chief Justice] authority of presiding is Article 43 of the 1986 constitution. There is nowhere in Article 43 where the functions duly assigned to you should be referred to another party,” Cllr. Saymah Cyrenius Cephus said.
“That will amount to treason. Where you to do that it would form the basis of impeachment against you.”
Impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh’s… Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted by KMTV Liberia on Isnin, 18 Februari 2019
The House’s legal team was presenting argument against a motion of recusal, which Justice Ja’neh lawyers have filed to bar Chief Justice Korkpor from hearing the case.
Ja’neh and lawyers contend the Chief Justice is conflicted because he signed and ruled in the land case cited in the House’s Bill of Impeachment.
“The Amended Bill of Impeachment, specifically count nine (9) thereof, averred that the Supreme Court was manipulated in dismissing the appeal in the Constance case which, according to the House of Representatives, could not traditionally and customarily be dismissed,” the Ja’neh’s motion stated.
“The head of the Supreme Court now the 1st Respondent who participated and signed the judgment in the Constance Case subject of the Bill of Impeachment certainly cannot preside over the trial growing out of said Bill of Impeachment as he is conflicted, hence, the request for your recusal in presiding over these proceedings.”
In keeping with Article 43 of Liberia’s 1986 Constitution, the Senate extended an invitation to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to preside over the impeachment trial. He is expected to rule on the matter today.
The House of Representatives on August 27, voted 23 to one to adopt a bill of impeachment against the Supreme Court Judge for alleged theft of property, perjury, fraud and corruption. Other charges against the Supreme Court Judge include proved misconduct; abused of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion and misuse of power. Justice Ja’neh has denied all charges.
– Festus Poquie