-As Senate Presents Verdict
By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Lawyers for both parties in the ongoing impeachment trial of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’Neh have presented final arguments to jurors or members of the Liberian Senate for its final decision into the trial.
On March 28, 2019, in the Chamber of the Liberian Senate on Capitol Hill, the both parties, the prosecuting counsel and the defense counsel were given two hours each to make forth their final arguments to Senators of the Liberian Senate who are serving as jurors by according to the Constitution of Liberia.
Making their final argument, prosecuting counsel represented by Cllr. Michael Wilkins Wrights said that acquitting Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’Nah from being impeached would determine the next course of the Liberian democracy.
Cllr. Wrights asserted that voting in favor of Associate Justice Ja’Nah would split the full bench of the Liberian Supreme Court, thereby creating two factions within the Judiciary Branch of the Liberian government.
“There will be two factions on the bench of the Supreme court if you acquit Associate Justice Ja’Neh and the entire Judiciary Branch of government within the country as a whole. By your vote today, the entire Supreme Court is finished or regain status,” Cllr. Wrights said.
The prosecuting counsel also furthered “your votes here today to acquit Associate Justice Ja’Neh will also be a slap in the faces of your colleagues at the House of Representatives, dysfunctions the Supreme Court and there will be a total lawlessness in the country.”
The former Solicitor General of Liberia further questioned the ability of Senators of the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) of fully convinced their colleagues to vote against Associate Justice Ja’Neh, thus, what kind of government would that be.
He noted that impeachment is not a legal one as being indicated by some Liberians and the defense counsel but rather a political one, noting that the Legislature is a political ground for political matters while the Judiciary is the legal grounds for legal issues.
Cllr. Wrights asserted that the impeachment trial is fully legal and any action on the part of the Senators to acquit Associate Justice would damage the entire country.
He called on Senators of the Liberian Senate who are serving as jurors as per the Constitution to vote against Associate Justice Ja’Neh so that he can be impeached despite their political affiliation.
“Your vote would mean that you love your country over your political parties and Associate Justice Ja’Neh. Do not create chaos on the supreme court bench, because your votes would mean a whole lot,” Cllr. Wright cautioned jurors (Senators).
For their part, the defense counsel of the embattled Associate Justice Ja’Neh argued that the impeachment trial is not a football match as being insinuated by the prosecuting team, thus, acquitting embattled Associate Justice Ja’Neh would mean protecting the Judiciary and bring independence to the Judiciary branch of Liberia.
Cllr. Johnny Momo indicated in his counter arguments against the prosecuting team that the absent of both Houses, the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate adopting a single rule for the trial renders the entire proceeding unconstitutional and illegal.
“There was no rules set by both Houses to commence the impeachment trial and in the absence of the rules by both Houses, the entire proceeding is illegal and unconstitutional,” Cllr. Momo noted.
Cllr. Momo called on the Senators to uphold the Constitution through their votes, adding that the entire world is watch to see the outcome of this trial which according to him would determine the country’s next course of direction.
The learned Cllr. Momo voiced that if the Legislature would now engaged in the practice of removing judiciary officials without constitutional grounds would led to sending the country back into its dark past.
“This case is only using Associate Justice Ja’Neh as an excuse to take the country back to its dark past and a one party system of the past,” he said.
He described the prosecuting argument of acquitting Associate Justice would create split within the Judiciary as a scare tactics on the part of the prosecuting counsel.
Meanwhile, jurors in the impeachment trial have withheld their decision as the presiding officer and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has given them up to today (Friday, March 29, 2019) at 12noon. TNR