From all indications the impeachment proceedings by the majority members of the Lower House against Associate Justice, Kabineh Ja’neh have shifted into higher gear with the appointment of Criminal Court ‘C’ Judge Boima Kontoe as Ad-Hoc Justice to sit on the Supreme Court bench in place of Justice Ja’neh.
Kontoe’s appointment was announced yesterday by President George Weah in keeping with Article 67 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution.
That article states, “The Supreme Court shall comprise one Chief Justice and four Associate Justices, a majority of whom shall be deemed competent to transact the business of the Court. If a quorum is not obtained to enable the Court to hear any case, a circuit judge in the order of seniority shall sit as an ad hoc justice of the Supreme Court.”
Being the oldest Judge in the country, Kontoe is duly qualified for the appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court to sit and act as a Judge of the Supreme Court during the impeachment hearing of Justice Ja’neh at the Senate, where Chief Justice Francis Korkpor would preside over the matter and will be assisted by three other judges, including Kontoe, said a Supreme Court lawyer to the Daily Observer immediately after the appointment, on condition of anonymity.
The lawyer said if Judge Kontoe were not to be appointed, in a situation where Ja’neh’s impeachment was to be decided and the total number of sitting justices was only 3 in the Supreme Court, it would consequently mean that the quorum is not fulfilled.
And so, Kontoe’s appointment is a significant step to be successful in Ja’neh’s impeachment.
The lawyer explained that Ja’neh impeach case requires the sitting of all five of the justices, in which Ja’neh is not qualified to sit as a justice during the impeachment hearing.
“With a case requiring 5 justices, the quorum can’t be met with 3 justices. This leads to a deadlock and lawmakers will not be able to move forward for Ja’neh’s impeachment,” the lawyer noted.
“This is the right direction to set the stage for the commencement of the long-awaited impeachment hearing of Justice Ja’neh ,” the lawyer noted.