The Analyst (Monrovia)

Liberia: Senate Finally Confirms Ja'neh to Supreme Court

Cllr. Kabineh Ja'neh must have been a happy man wherever he heard he was finally confirmed as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia by the Liberian Senate yesterday.

With the confirmation of the former Justice Minister, the full bench of the Supreme Court is complete.

He was among several persons nominated by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

All of his colleagues, along with Chief Justice Johnny Lewis, were confirmed and subsequently commissioned while his confirmation at the time remained in committee room due to series of allegations made against him.

Human rights institutions in the country, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), the Environmentalist Lawyers under the banner of the Green Advocates, the Foundation for Human Dignity (FIND), the Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), the Liberia Democracy Watch (LDW) and the Foundation for Human Rights/Democracy (FORHD) filed a writ of rejection to the Senate not to confirm the former NTGL Justice Minister as Associate Justice for series of alleged human rights abuses against the Liberian people and that he lacked the moral standards to serve as Associate Justice.

Besides the alleged human rights abuses brought against Ja'neh, the human rights institutions contended that Cllr. Ja'neh was an executive and founding member of the defunct rebel movement Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) which they alleged committed lots of atrocities against the Liberian people, that confirming him would bring the country's judiciary system to public ridicule and erode confidence and trust in the government.

The Senate after so many hearings concerning the rejection filed by the human rights institution at the time, rejected Cllr. Ja'neh, but motion of reconsideration was filed by the Margibi and Sinoe Senators, Clarice Jah and Cllr. Joseph Nagbe, respectively.

At the Senate plenary yesterday, the senators debated on the confirmation of Cllr. Ja'neh, but nearly all of the senators agreed to confirm him except Bong County Senior Senator, Jewel Howard Taylor who objected to Cllr. Ja'neh's confirmation.

Senator Taylor sometime ago called a news conference and informed journalists that Cllr. Ja'neh was a victim of a constitutional trap that bars his getting such high profiled positions and therefore he needed not to be confirmed by the Senate.

The Bong County Senator argued that Cllr. Ja'neh had not practiced for 5 years, a requirement set for becoming Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and therefore confirming him is a complete breach of the Liberian Constitution.

At the close of the Senate open session, journalists and others who had gone to witness the hearings were ordered out of the plenary for a secret session.

At the end of the secret session, some lawmakers told awaiting reporters that Cllr. Ja'neh had been confirmed by the Liberian Senate.

When scores of legislative reporters caught up with Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson, he noted that there was no need to deny Cllr. Ja'neh's confirmation, adding that the man is qualified to serve as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

According to Senator Johnson, Cllr. Ja'neh is noted for having played a pivotal role in the Liberian peace process. He said that it was through the rebel movement of Ja'neh that forced Charles Taylor out of Liberia.

"We are deeply humbled by what has happened and we will continue to work for peace and justice in Liberia," Cllr. Ja'neh said after his confirmation.

"All of those who had justifiable reason to doubt our integrity, we want to challenge them to work with us and together we will continue to build peace and further the cause of justice in Liberia," Cllr. Ja'neh said.

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