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Liberia: Chief Justice, Bar President Exchange Jibes over Impeachment of Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh

Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor feels he is wrongly criticized by those he believes ought to know better about his role in Justice Kabineh Ja’neh’s impeachment trial, but the vocal President of the Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, insists Chief Justice Korkpor’s role in the proceeding is not constitutionally backed.

At the opening of the March 2019 Term of Court, a ceremony that brings all actors in the Judiciary together, Chief Justice Korkpor being mindful of restriction on his ability to speak on the impeachment proceeding sought to provide some clarity on his role.

He told lawyers, magistrates, judges and other judicial actors, who gathered at the opening on Monday, he is only acting on a constitutional mandate.

“Members of the Bar, ladies and gentlemen, it is no secret this Court is going through a challenging time. We cannot ignore this. The impeachment trial going on at the Legislature involving Mr. Justice Kabineh M. Ja’neh, a member of this Court, is unprecedented in the history of our country. To the best of my recollection, no impeachment proceeding in our nation has taken on the form of a full-blown trial before the Senate,” he said.

The Chief Justice said his mandate in the trial is predicated on Article 43 of the Constitution. He said the Liberian Senate tries the proceeding and is the sole judge of whether or not the Justice has committed an impeachable offense.

“We have no doubt that the honorable men and women of the Senate will, at the end of the trial, make a fair and just determination based on the findings,” Chief Justice Korkpor said.

Chief Justice Korkpor added: “The Constitution provides that the trial be conducted in keeping with due process of law. This, I see my role as the presiding officer to ensure that the trial process is in keeping with due process of law as mandated by the Constitution. But I have heard and read, and continue to hear and read many accusations, innuendoes and speculative views about my role in the process. And some of these views are coming from people who ought to know better. As the matter is being tried, I will for now, refrain from making any substantive comments regarding my own role. But I assure that in the end the truth will emerge.”


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