GOL Tells ECOWAS Court: “Cease Any Further Judicial Participation In Ja’neh’s Case”
The Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephus, has informed the ECOWAS Court of Justice to immediately cease any further participation in the Kabineh Ja’neh case, as the government terms the community court’s ruling as political, as opposed to judicial.
Cllr. Cephus recently descended on the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, for making what he termed as unmerited, vexatious and provocative statements on the Voice of America (VOA), which he said the Liberian government believes transcended the pale of authority and character of a fair and unbiased jurist. He noted that even the possible recusal of Justice Asante from the case, which may seem an honorable choice, would not cure the material defects and the judgmental opinion that the court holds due to the scale of the damaging comments he recently uttered.
SG Cephus’s observation comes as a result of the recent appearance of Judge Asante on the Voice of America (VOA) and commenting on the position of the court as it regards to the Government of Liberia (GOL) adhering to or defying the court’s order to compensate dismissed Justice Ja’neh, reinstate him or grant him the opportunity to formally retire, with all his due benefit.
In Judge Asente’s deliberation, he said the Liberian government has up to six months to implement the court’s order or face harsh punitive sanctions from ECOWAS.
However, Cephus has maintained that the action of Justice Asante is intended to unfairly impose his will on the Liberian government and prejudicially limit the response of the government.
“It is the considered position of the Liberian Government that the opportunity available to it to ask the court to impartially re-examine some of the countless issues of judicial omission is very slim and, perhaps, nonexistent,” Cllr. Cephus’ response to the ECOWAS Court ruling noted.
He said, in the face of Judge Asante’s mischaracterization of the action and reputation of the Liberian government, the court cannot exude any reasonable fairness and neutrality required to undertake a material oversight that the Liberian government believes to have been committed in the adjudication of the main suit when the Head Judge is already on record for telling the world that the Liberian government is “dismissing judges” who are its own citizens “without cause” and for “not dancing to its tone”, and then proceeding to threaten a wide range of punitive sanctions if the judgment is not adhered to.
He argued that there were other rulings on the same November 10, 2020 in which the court awarded huge monetary damages to other applicants, including but not limited to a landmark case from the Republic of Mali, where each of 15 applicants were awarded CFA 5 million each, but Justice Asante chose to only discuss the Ja’neh case on VOA, apparently to mock and ridicule the Liberian government.
“In light of what seems a judgment without opinion delivered by Your Honor in a nonexistent matter before the court, whose intent is to preclude any judicial review application that is being contemplated, the Liberian government herein demands, as a matter of law, that Your Honor will cease, now and in the future, any further judicial participation in this matter, so as to protect the image of the Honorable Court, ensuring thereby that judicial fairness and independence is restored and returned to the court, in the interest of justice,” Solicitor General Cephus’ statement noted.
In a related development, the Liberian Senate, in a statement issued Tuesday, November 17, 2020, overruled the ruling of the ECOWAS Court in the Kabineh Ja’neh impeachment case, stating that the leadership of the Senate and House will meet and issue an advisory to the Executive Branch on the verdict of the ECOWAS Court.
“Let it be noted with affirmation and emphatic clarity that the Liberian Senate did not violate any of the provisions of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and any laws of Liberia nor did it breach any of its standing rules in the impeachment trial of former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. The entire impeachment trial process was transparent, legally and Constitutionally sound, and totally void of inducements, coercion, political collaboration, vengeance and politicking,” the Senate statement read.