Lawyers Split Over Jurists Impeachment


There is disagreement amongst Liberian lawyers with respect to the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee decision to summon and open hearing into a petition seeking the impeachment of three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Lawyers across the country Wednesday issued a solidarity statement in support of the Justices with the Liberia National Bar Association terming the impeachment proceeding as an attack on the judiciary and its independence.
“The Liberian National Bar Association objects to and frowns on the attempt by the House of Representatives to impeach the three named Associate Justices for reasons not supported by the Constitution of Liberia,” The Bar’s president Cllr. Moses Paegar said.
Another lawyer Aloysius Toe called the impeachment decision as “legislative mercenarism.”
But Cllr. Frederick A.B. Jayweh, International Affairs Director at the Africa Center For Law and Human Rights.
Cllr: Frederick: As a Counsellor-At-Law, I too reject and vehemently disagree with the Supreme Court final judgment that qualified and allowed every official of the Sirleaf’s Government to file papers overnight to run in elections 2017. But, this doesn’t mean that the House of Representatives of Liberia doesn’t have the legal right to draw a bill of impeachment to impeach the three Associate Justices named in the House’s Petition for Impeachment.
In fact, by law and under the Constitution of Liberia, the House of Representatives of Liberia, is the only organ of the GOL vested with the power to draw up a bill of impeachment to impeach the President of Liberia and any sitting justice of the Supreme Court and lower court trial judge in Liberia. The Senate of Liberia, must then hear the bill of impeachment. That is the law, and to think otherwise, is repugnant to sound and actual legal thinking.
In any case, if the House should vote and approve a bill of impeachment, then the three Associate Justices named, are charged or indicted by the House. But, to prosecute and convict the three Justices, by law, rest in and with the Senate of Liberia.
The Republic of Liberia, has no case in point where the House of Representatives in finding a bill of impeachment, summons sitting Associate Justices and/or where the Supreme Court of Liberia, counters, by ordering a writ of summons to be issued by the Clerk of the Supreme Court of Liberia ordering the Speak of the House, the Chairman and members of the Judicial Committee of the House where a bill of impeachment is voted on and served to appear.
Whether a failure of the three Associate Justices to appear as summoned by the House in an apparent bill of impeachment proceeding, constitutes a default and as such, the House may enter a judgment by default. And Whether, the counter issuing of a writ of summons by the Supreme Court to have the Speaker of the House, Chairman and members of the Judicial Committee of the House to appear, constitutes appearance before the House.
What is occurring in Liberia today, requires a deeper research. Perhaps the Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, is good to study.
I too disagree with the current code of conduct decisions rendered in the Liberian Supreme court as did Cllr. Toe. I also believe that this may have triggered the decision by the lawmakers to dig in and find out whether the action by those justices cannot indirectly fall within the confine of Article 71.