ECOWAS Court fixes 10 November, 2020 for judgment over case of human rights against Republic of Liberia filed by impeached Supreme Court judge
Judgment will on Tuesday, 10th November 2020 be delivered by a panel of three Justices of the ECOWAS Curt led by Justice Edward Amoako Asante in a suit filed by an impeached Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Counsellor Kabineh Muhammad Jan’neh contesting his removal from office and replacement with a former Vice President of the ECOWAS Court.
In suit no: ECW/CCJ/APP/33/19, the Applicant through his Counsel, Mr. Femi Falana alleged that his removal violated his human rights, particularly the right to fair hearing and impartial trial, right to work and dignity of person guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, he claimed that the purported impeachment, trial, conviction, removal from office and replacement violated the Liberian constitution.
The applicant further alleged that the Respondent subjected him to impeachment proceedings with no Prescribed Rules of Procedure thereby depriving him of his fundamental right to fair hearing as stipulated in the 1986 Liberian Constitution.
The applicant said that when the impeachment trial commenced at the Liberian Senate on February 13, 2019, he filed a Motion to recuse asking that the Chief Justice should not preside over the Applicant’s impeachment trial since he signed the Judgment of the Supreme Court in a case that was listed as one of grounds for his impeachment
He submitted that allowing the Chief Justice, Justice Francis Korkor, Snr to preside would be tantamount to a conflict of interest with the possibility of bias as he was involved in several facets of the impeachment proceedings and was expected to recuse himself in order to adhere to the tenets of justice.
The applicant said that to his surprise, the Chief Justice denied his application and instead proceeded to preside over the applicant’s impeachment trial.
The Applicant further submits that under Chapter VII, Article 72 (B) of the 1986 Liberian Constitution, he was guaranteed the holding and protection of office as Associate Justice during good behavior until the age of seventy (70).
He is therefore asking the court to award general damages in an amount not less than twenty-five million United States Dollars US$25,000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million United States Dollars) as compensation and an Order directing the Respondent Republic of Liberia to restore the Applicant to his position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia. He also asked the Court to declare that the entire Impeachment trial, conviction and replacement on the Supreme Court constitutes violations of Applicant’s rights to fair hearing, dignity of his person and work under equitable and satisfactory conditions among others
But the Respondent, the Republic of Liberia, denied violating the human rights of the Applicant and submitted that the impeachment of the Applicant was done through a political process which also followed the due process of law as laid down in Section 43 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia. The State urged the Court to declare that the application is inadmissible because the Community Court is incompetent to review, interpret and apply the national constitution and domestic laws of Member States.
Also on the panel for the case are Justices Dupe Atoki and Januaria Costa