‘Inconclusive’ -SG Cephus Speaks of Jan’eh Case

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By Rancy S. Teewia

Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Saymah Syrenus Cephus says the matter involving “Kabineh Mohammed Jan’eh (Applicant) versus the Republic of Liberia (Respondent) remains and is inconclusive; noting that the Republic of Liberia will take advantage of Article 91 of the Rules of Procedures of the Court and will do a more critical and comprehensive review of the ruling and file a report for a petition for judicial review on a number of fundamental issues of the matter.

Addressing the regular MICAT press briefing, the solicitor-general also accused the ECOWAS Court to have made a number of palpable errors for usurping the judicial sovereignty of Liberia by interpreting Articles 29 and 43 of the 1986 Constitution which places it into the position of an appellate court.

He dispelled the impression generated in the country that the Government of Liberia has lost the Kabineh Jan’eh case at the level of the ECOWAS Court of Justice as the issue was still inconclusive.

Cllr. Cephas has clarified that the impression in the public indicating that the government has lost the Jan’eh case at the level of ECOWAS Court is incorrect; instead, he explained, “This is just the first phase of the judgement. The Solicitor General said.

“As officers of court and qualified counsels of our own court (the Liberian Supreme Court), it becomes our responsibility to demonstrate some degree of difference to the authority of the court even in its own instances where judgements are rendered against us; and to create a forum to engage the court to be able to lay out what is consider probable errors for a more judicial consideration of the issues”

“There are few issues in the ruling I want to share with you,” Cllr. Cephas accentuated, referring to the story that concerns the impeachment of Justice Jan’eh.

Cllr. Cephas claimed that the source of the impeachment of Justice Jan’eh grew from the Justices attempted to aid and abet another group from restraining the sovereign Republic of Liberia from gaining access to road fund collected in and on behalf of the Republic.

“That matter went to the House of Legislature, the House set up a committee, the committee investigated; while the investigation was ongoing, invitation was on the verge of being sent to him, he filed a petition for a writ of prohibition, to stop, prohibit and restrained the House from getting access to him,” Cllr. Cephas explained.

He said, “Giving the separation of powers, pursuant to Article 3 of the 1986 Constitution, the writ was issued; it was determined and passed on.”  Cephas indicating that the House setup an ad hoc special committee to determine the Jan’eh matter which prompted the Writ of Prohibition applied for, but pointed out that in the opinion of the court, the ad hoc committee setup by the House was never a violation of Justice Jan’eh’s right.

“What the Court said, that all the processes, especially in paragraph 74, were all political – and which was the strength of our argument – that court of law cannot exercise jurisdiction over political matter.

“The Court in Paragraph 74 agreed that indeed, the trial, the impeachment proceeding, the petition have political undertone. The court further said once the person – the applicant indicated that his rights were violated, then the court has jurisdiction.

Cephas said he noticed a drawback in the court’s interpretation of rules and procedures regarding the Republic of Liberia.

In a Related development, Cllr. Cephus said he was taken aback by what seems an egregiously politically motivated statement coming from a purported spokesman of the Community Court of Justice indicting the government of Liberia for allegedly removing judges who are not dancing to its tone.

Cephas asserted that this statement from the VOA quoting the purported spokesman is injudicious and utterly reprehensible, and cannot be considered part of the judicial opinion of the court as it contains elements of divisive politics and hasty generalization.

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