Halt Confirmation Of Jan’eh’s Replacement -Four Senators Request Colleagues; -Say Impeachment Incomplete
Four lawmakers of the Liberian have requested the Liberian Senate to halt the Confirmation of Associate Justice-designate Jussif D. Kaba until every process of the impeachment is concluded and penalty is labeled against Associate Justice Kabineh Jan’eh in keeping with law.
Senators Nathaniel F. Naatehn of Gbapolu County, Sand S. Johnson of Bomi, Conmany B. Wesseh of River-Gee and Oscar Cooper of Margibi County in a communication to Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie requested their colleagues of the Liberian Senate to be convened to discuss so that judgment can be decided thereupon as to the fate of Justice Ja’neh and the proper course of action thereafter taken.
“We are therefore requesting that the confirmation hearing that is being announced in the media today April 8, 2019, at 2pm be halted until the require judgment is rendered. This we believe will be consistent with what the constitution envisages,” the senators said.
The four senators implored their colleagues of the Senate to therefore conclude the impeachment trial of Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh consistent with the Constitution of Liberia, saying that while Justice Ja’neh may have been found guilty, in spite of the constitutional and legal challenges, on one count of the four charges brought against him, a judgment has not yet rendered for as provided by the Constitution.
This reminder, the Senators said, is necessary because of the Senate’s legislative responsibility, commitment, and obligation as well as vow to uphold and protect the constitution of Liberia,” calling attention of the Senate to Articles 71 and 43 of the Constitution.
Article 71 states, ““The chief justice and the associate justices of the supreme court and the judges of the subordinate courts of record shall hold office during good behavior. They may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the legislature based on proved of 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.”
For Article 43, it states, “The power to prepare a bill of impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives, and power to try all impeachment is vested solely in the senate. When the president, Vice President or an associate justice is to be try, the chief justice or a judge from the subordinate court of record is to be tried, the chief justice shall preside; when the chief justice or a judge from the subordinate court of record is to be tried, the president of the senate shall preside; no person shall be impeach but by the concurrence of two-third of the total membership of the senate.”
“Judgment in such case shall not extend beyond removal from office and disqualification to hold public office in the republic but the party may be trial at law for the same offense. The legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings which should be in conformity with the requirement of due process of law.”
This reminder and demand, the Senators said, is triggered by the letter sent to the Senate by President George Manneh Weah, nominating judge yusu D. Kaba to the position of associate justice, ostensibly to replace justice Ja’neh who is still occupying the position as there is no judgment declaring a vacancy on the bench as may be rendered by the Honorable Senate
“The fact is that article 43 does not say that upon conviction, those persons [who are guilty of impeachment] are deemed automatically removed from office; rather, Articles 43 and 71, read together, state very clearly that a justice or judge, upon being impeached by the senate, “may or may not be removed from office.
“This, in our view, means that when a justice or judge is impeached by the Senate, it must further convene to determine the penalty which will be imposed upon the impeached justice or judge,” the four senators said.
In their letter dated April 8, 2019, they said the penalty of impeachment guilt could be a warning, suspension or the maximum penalty of removal from office and further disqualification to hold public office in the republic.
“This of course must be further determined by two-third of the total membership of the senate.
The senators said the Senate acting as a jury in the Ja’neh impeachment case merely voted to determine the verdict of guilty or not guilty, which is not a judgment imposing a penalty as required by the constitution.
“Accordingly Mr. President Pro-tempore and colleagues, we respectfully request that the senate be convened to discuss so that judgment can be decided thereupon as to the fate of justice Ja’neh and the proper course of action thereafter taken,” the requested .
On the basis of the aforesaid, the senators said they are therefore requesting that the confirmation hearing that is being announced in the media today April 8, 2019, at 2pm be halted until the require judgment is rendered. This we believe will be consistent with what the constitution envisages.