11 August 2017

Liberia: Supreme Court Under Fire - House Passes Resolution for Impeachment

Members of the House plenary have unanimously voted in favor of the passage of a resolution for the impeachment of three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia.

The House's decision was in response to a preliminary report resolution submitted by the House's Committee on Judiciary setting out rules to govern the impeachment proceedings of three out of five Justices at the Supreme Court.

Before the decision was reached, a motion of reconsideration of the impeachment was filed by Representative Edwin Snowe on grounds that the order to hear impeachment cases is done by the Liberia Senate, a motion that was denied by colleagues.

The Plenary of the House reached the decision yesterday in a regular Thursday session held at the Capitol Building after a serious debate among law makers on the divisiveness of the impeachment.

Reps. A. Moses Gray of Montserrado County and Bolfah Chambers of Maryland County in separate speeches explained that the impeachment proceeding should carry four of the Justices that recently ruled in the CoC case.

"The idea to leave one person behind is been divisive and selective by those who are the crafter of the impeachment," they said.

Recently some members of the House Representatives and the Senate organized an impeachment against three Associate Justices of the Supreme Court for what they called "Inability to perform the functions of their offices" for clearing the nomination of two Vice Presidential candidates, Harrison Karnwea of the Liberty Party (LP) and Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), to contest the October Presidential and Legislative elections.

Article 71 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia gives the Legislature the authority to remove the Chief Justice and Associates Justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of subordinate courts of record because of "bad" behavior.

The Constitution states that they may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on "Proved misconduct, gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office, or conviction in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes."

Meanwhile, Section nine of the resolution was amended and the Secretary Board of the House is expected to communicate with the Liberia Senate on the passage of the resolution for its consideration.


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