Liberian Government Remains Defiant to ECOWAS Court’s Ruling

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Impeached Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja'neh (2006 - March 29, 2019)

It appears that the Government of Liberia is in no way willing to accept the recent judgement delivered by the ECOWAS Court of Justice wherein it demanded that government should pay US$200,000 to the impeached Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh as damages for his reputation.

The reluctance of the government has been demonstrated with the filing of a request to the regional court requesting it to review the judgment because it allegedly committed what the government describes as “Reversible error.”

On August 23, 2019, Justice Ja’neh filed with the ECOWAS Court an application claiming Human Rights violation as a result of his impeachment by the House of Representatives, and subsequent removal from office as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia by the Liberian Senate.

Ja’neh further argued that his impeachment and subsequent removal from office was illegal and described the process as a “Political witch hunt” because of an opinion he claimed to have   rendered in an election matter.

It was based on that human rights violation claim that the court on November 10, 2020, handed down its judgment adjudging the government liable for human rights violation and authorizing them to pay US$200,000 as damages to Ja’neh, which decision the government is now seeking for review.

The government arguments are that  the Court committed reversible error when it ruled awarding damages of US$200,000 to Ja’neh, which were not supported by any evidence or specifically pleaded, testified to, confirmed, and reconfirmed on mere violation of Ja’neh’s “self-esteemed,” for the fact that said claim was never raised by him (Ja’neh) in his entire suit.

Their suit also claimed that the Court’s Chief Judge, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, should recuse himself from further handling their request and any other case brought before the court.

They also argued that Justice Asante made  a number of judicial missteps, and debasing  comments  against the Government, when he was interview on the Voice of America (VOA), in which he  accused  the government of  willfully  “Dismissing judges who will not dance to its tone.”  

The government further argued that immediately following the court’s final judgment, it was when the Justice made the utterance  which are profoundly  prejudicial  to the interest of the government, and  totally incompatible  with the objective of the court.

Justice Asante, the government argued, is conflicted and should recuse himself from any and all applications to which the Republic of Liberia is a party for expressing a rather demeaning opinion about the government of Liberia on the VOA that it is “dismissing judges who will not dance to its tone” in contravention to the judgment delivered by this Court.

“It is against this Judgment that we filed this Application for Judgment Review, citing specifically the litany of egregious judicial oversights contained therein, and humbly craves the kind indulgence of your Honor  and this Honorable Court   to review, overrule, and  set aside the entire judgment,”  the government plead.

They also claimed that a “Statement of such a grave nature is neither the opinion of the court as contained in the case, nor part of the responsibility of a venerated judge of the court; instead, it was perhaps triggered by personal or  political considerations, gratuitous emotions exclusively designed, planned and unleashed against the Republic of Liberia by Justice Asante to satisfy a vested interest only known to him which is totally incompatible  with the standard of  judicial impartiality and neutrality.”

The government again argued that Justice Asante has effectively incapacitated his own ability to preside over the Application for Judgment Review and should never preside over any matter to which the Republic of Liberia is a party now or in the future, because he has openly gambled and trampled underfoot the cool neutrality of the court and has convicted the Government of Liberia for “Dismissing judges who will not dance to its tone” without any new application brought before the court.

“They again argued that such statement is egregiously prejudicial, demeaning and it clearly  compromises whatever is left of Justice Asante’s view on the principle of presumption of innocence in any matter where the Republic of Liberia is a party on grounds that the statement: “The Government of Liberia “dismissing judges who will not dance to its tone” was not part or was not raised  in the application: 

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