Liberia Seeks ECOWAS Court Chief Judge Recusal!

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The Government of Liberia has submitted an application with the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (ECOWAS Court) seeking the recusal of Justice Edward Amoako Asante, Chief Judge of that Court from all cases brought before it involving the Government of Liberia.

In a complaint filed Friday, January 29, 2021, the Ministry Of Justice which is the prosecuting arm of government cited a number of alleged judicial missteps and debasing comments attributed to Justice Asante against the Liberian Government on the Voice of America (VOA) in which he accused the current government of woefully dismissing judges who refused to dance to its tone.

This alleged comment was made following the ECOWAS Court’s judgment delivered in the case: “Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, Applicant verses Republic of Liberia, Respondent, ECW/CCJ/ JUD/28/20.

The Ministry of Justice says it sees this comment as profoundly prejudicial to its interest and totally incompatible with the objective of that Honorable Court.

The Government of Liberia asserted that Justice Asante is conflicted and should recuse himself from any and all applications to which it is a party on the basis of expressing such damaging opinion about the government on the VOA in contravention to the judgment delivered by the Court in their case with Former Associate Justice Ja’neh.

MOJ mentioned that a statement of such grave nature is neither the opinion of the court as contained in its recent verdict nor part of the responsibility of a venerated Judge of that Court instead, it was perhaps triggered by personal or political considerations, gratuitous emotions exclusively designed, planned and unleashed against the Republic of Liberia by the Chief Judge to satisfy a vested interest only known to him something that is totally incompatible with the standard of judicial impartiality and neutrality.

GOL further submitted that Justice Asante has effectively incapacitated his own ability to preside over its (GOL) application for judgment review and should never preside over any matter to which Liberia is a party now or in the future because he has openly gamble and trampled underfoot the cool neutrality of the Court and has convicted the Government of Iberia for “dismissing judges who will not dance to its tone” without any new application brought before that court against it in line with the Ja’neh’s issue.

The Ministry of Justice’s application further indicated that such statement is egregiously prejudicial, demeaning and clearly compromises whatever is left of justice Asante’s view on the principle of presumption of innocence in any matter where the Republic of Liberia is a party on grounds that the said statement by the judge was not raised in the application by Justice Ja’neh.

MOJ says, the Chief Judge comment against the Government leave it to believes that the judgment rendered against the Country in the Ja’neh case was not based on the issues of law raised by the parties rather, it was based on the personal feelings of individual judges who decided this matter.

“When a judge say: “We didn’t want this kind of impunity to happen,” such a statement is judgmental, prejudicial and it clearly shows out right bias against the Movant or respondent because all around the world judges are required to render judgment not on what they want or how they feel about a particular matter or party appearing before them, but by the laws controlling in this matter contradict The personal feeling of justice Asante, so he presided over a hearing and ruled on what e wanted and not what was required by law.”

MOJ is further leading with the community court to have justice Asante retract his comments so as not to jeopardize the international image of that court and take further corrective actions to refrain from all and any future media interview only intended to humiliate the republic of Liberia.      

The Country application read further “That the court should issue any order, or mandate indicating that the opinion expressed on the VOA does not represent the official position of the court in the case: “Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, applicant verse republic of Liberia, respondent,  ECW/CCJ/JUD/28/20.

“That this court will grant unto Movant all and any further relief although no specifically sought but which will be adequate and proper enough not just restore the credibility of this court but also to repair the damage which Justice Asante’s comments have caused this court.”

At the moment, the Liberian Government is before the Community Court of Justice on a ‘Judgment for Review’ that is to take a look into its recent verdict against the Country for wrongfully and illegally impeaching Former Associate Justice Kabineh  J a’neh and at the same time mandating the Government to paid the impeached Justice two hundred thousand for damages of wrong as well as violating his human right.

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