LIBERIA: Four Senators Petition Supreme Court to Halt Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh’s Impeachment Procedure at Senate

Impeachment proceedings have been drawn against Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh

Monrovia – Four members of the Senate have petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a stay order on the Senate’s proceedings on the impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, citing violation of the Constitution on the part of the Senate.

The Senators include Conmany B. Wesseh, Daniel Naathen, Milton Teahjay and Oscar Cooper.

They prayed the Supreme Court to be mindful of the authority and power to impeach a public official, specifically the President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts whose removal from office can only be done through impeachment, as provided in Article 43 lies, exclusively, with the House of Representatives and the authority to try and impeach a public official les, exclusively with the House of Senate.

The petitioners contended that when it comes to the impeachment procedure, Article 43 of the Constitution provides, “The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure for impeachment proceedings which be in conformity with the requirements of due process of law.”

According to the four Senators, contrary to the mandate of Article 43, their colleagues proceeded to amend Rule 63 of the Standing Rules meant for the normal conduct of the business of the Senate, which were prescribed by the Senate alone. By so doing, they argued the Senate arrogated unto itself the authority and power to prescribe the procedure for impeachment to the exclusion of the House of Representatives.

“Petitioners say that the action of the Senate and its product, the amended rule to provide for impeachment are unconstitutional and pray this Honorable Court to so declare,” the petition requested.

The petitioners further contended that the unconstitutionality of the amended Senate rule to provide for impeachment cannot be cured, even by the concurrence of the House of Representatives, because the House cannot legally, draft, approve or amend rules for the conduct of any activity of the Senate, a separate layer of the Legislature; hence any attempt by the Senate to have the House concur with their action would also be unconstitutional.

They also argued that the Constitution prohibits the submission of any citizen or resident of Liberia to any law that was not in effect at the time of office that a person is accused to have committed as provided in Article 21a.

The Petition: “Petitioners say the sole purpose of amendment of Senate Rule 63 of the Liberian Senate by the respondents was to adopt a procedure to enable the Liberian Senate to conduct a hearing on the impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, there being no such procedure at the Liberian Senate prior to the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh by the House of Representatives as is clearly evidenced by the report of the expanded Judiciary Committee to review Rule 63 of the Senate Standing Rules on Impeachment.”