Don’t Confirm Yusu Kaba Yet Cllr. Jerome Verdier Urges Senate; Wants Impeachment Processes Exhausted
With confirmation hearing of Civil Law Court Judge Yusuf Kaba as Supreme Court Associate Justice replacing Impeached Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, legal argument have abound that Justice Ja’neh has not lost his seat on the Supreme Court Bench until every process of the impeachment is exhausted. One of such arguments comes from a Washington-based International Justice Group (IJG) which is calling on the Senate to refrain from confirming Justice Designate Kaba just yet until the Supreme Court disposed of the Ja’neh impeachment case by appeal.
The IJG’ Executive Director and Chairman of the erstwhile Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC), Cllr. Jerome Verdier said, “The Senate should not move to confirm Justice Designate Kaba just yet until the Supreme Court disposed of the Ja’neh impeachment case by appeal.”
Cllr. Verdier indicated that Justice Ja’neh was underrepresented, and his lawyers should be subject to disciplinary hearings and punished or sanctioned, while those lawyers for the prosecution must be disbarred and the Chief Justice deserves to be removed or similarly impeached or made to resign.
“In this breath, the advocates or lawyers for Justice Ja’neh must present an appeal to the Full Bench of the Honorable Supreme Court, in which case, the Compromised Chief Justice will be compelled to recuse himself and the remaining Justices will decide the appeal.,” the IJG’ executive director asserted.
The IJG executive director then condemned the recent removal of Supreme Court Justice Ja’neh as a shameful cowardly act orchestrated by a band of “political malcontents” without any well-founded basis in law or the Constitution.
In what he referred to as “a Kangaroo forum that flagrantly violated the Constitution of Liberia”, Verdier said, those who shamefully and cowardly orchestrated the removal of Ja’neh include an overly ambitious Executive branch aspiring to become a dictatorship, a rueful House of Representatives, an ignorant Senate and a highly compromised Chief Justice who neither understand nor appreciate the Constitution thus bringing “shame and disgrace to our beloved patrimony”.
Cllr Verdier, a veteran and successful senior Liberian lawyer and member of The Honorable Supreme Court Bar went on to say of all the reasons in law and the Constitution that the conspirators could use to effect their cowardly and unpatriotic act, they choose to woefully, shamefully and disgracefully violate the Constitution when in Article 73 of the Constitution provides that “NO JUDICIAL OFFICIAL SHALL BE SUMMONED, ARRESTED, DETAINED, PROSECUTED OR TRIED CIVILLY, OR CRIMINALLY, BY OR BY 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 OR IN CHAMBERS.
An exception given by that Constitutional Article is reason for treason or other felonies, misdemeanor, or breach of the peace. Statements made and acts done by such officials in the course of judicial proceedings shall be privileged, and subject to the above qualification, no such statements made or acts done shall be admissible into evidence against them at any trial or proceedings,” the Article provides.
Justice Ja’neh was found guilty by 24 members of the Senate for his opinion and judgment forbidding government from collecting taxes from petroleum products while sitting as Justice in Chamber of the Supreme Court of Liberia, a decision which was either appealable or approved by the full Bench of the high court.