9 August 2018

Liberia: Supreme Court Halts Ja'neh's Impeachment Proceeding

Photo: The New Republic
Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh.

The Supreme Court of Liberia has placed a stay order on the House of Representatives' petition for the impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja'neh,.

Sie-A-Nyene G. Youh, Associate Justice presiding in chambers, on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 mandated the lower house to return to status quo ante pending the disposition of the petition.

Justice Youh further instructed the lawmakers to appear before her on August 18, 2018 to show cause why petitioner's petition for a writ of prohibition as prayed for should not be granted.

The stay order from Justice Youh comes after Cllr. Arthur Johnson on Monday, August 6, 2018 filed a petition for a writ of prohibition against the impeachment of Justice Ja'neh.

In his petition, Cllr. Johnson argued, among other things, that House Speaker Bhofal Chambers had violated Section 57.3 of the House's Rules and Procedures by constituting a special Ad hoc committee conduct what is exclusively with the jurisdiction House Committee on Judiciary.

This committee is empowered to hear all matters relating to judicial proceedings, civil and criminal among others.

He noted that those Rules and Procedures do not vest any authority in the Speaker to transfer the Judiciary Committee's functions to a special Ad hoc committee as was done.

Cllr. Johnson further noted that Article 73 of the 1986 Constitution provides that: "No judicial official shall be summoned, arrested, detained, prosecuted or tried civilly or criminally by or at the instance of any person or authority on account of judicial opinions rendered or expressed, judicial statements made and judicial acts done in the course of a trial in open court except for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor or breach of the peace."

The lawyer maintained that "the attempt by the lawmakers to impeach the Associate Justice based upon his interpretation and application of the Code of Conduct is in gross violation of Article 73 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. Therefore, a Writ of Prohibition will lie to prohibit the House of Representatives from proceeding with impeachment."

Writes P. Nas Mulbah

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