The impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh is expected to begin today Tuesday, 26 February at the Liberian Senate.
Justice Ja’neh was served a writ to appear for the purpose of the impeachment trial on Wednesday, 20 February by Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr.
One of the cases which triggered Associate Justice Ja’neh’s impeachment trial relates to a land dispute involving the embattled justice and a private citizen, one Madam Annie Yancy Constance.
Associate Justice Ja’neh has been accused by lawmakers for abuse of power, using his influence as Associate Justice to secure a ruling in his favor at the Supreme Court to take possession of the land.
But Ja’neh’s lawyers have repeatedly maintained that the claim that their client allegedly manipulated the Supreme Court to rule in his favor in the property case questions the credibility of Chief Justice Korkpor who serves as the head of the Supreme Court and also signed the ruling that is one of the counts against Ja’neh.
There was a motion for the Chief Justice to rescue himself from presiding over the impeachment trial of Justice Ja’neh because he too was allegedly conflicted by signing the judgment in Madam Constance’s case which favored Justice Ja’neh.
But the Chief Justice rejected the motion filed to recuse himself, arguing that Article 43 of the Constitution gives him the right to preside over impeachment proceedings when the president, vice president or associate justice are to be tried.
According to him, there is no part of the constitution that says someone can preside in the absence of the Chief Justice, as Ja’neh’s lawyers said they will make use of the statues.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for the recusal of lawyers from both sides of the impeachment proceedings.
The counsels that were requested to rescue themselves from the case include Cllr. Cephus, Cllr. Sims who represent the House of Representatives, and Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson who represents Justice Ja’neh.
The request for the lawyers’ recusal has prompted Chief Justice Korkpor to refer the lawyers to the Supreme Court’s Grievance Committee to look into issues raised for their recusals.
By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley