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GoL Wants ECOWAS Court Judge Recuse Himself

By Grace Q. Bryant
The Government of Liberia (GoL) has filed an application to ECOWAS Court requesting Justice Edward Amoako Asante, the Chief Judge to rescue himself from any and all cases before him by any applicant or a state party now or in the future.
Citing a number of judicial missteps and debasing comments made against the Government of Liberia on the Voice of America (VOA), the government said immediately after the court’s final judgment delivered in the case: “Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, Applicant v. Republic of Liberia, Respondent,” it was accused of woefully dismissing judges who will not dance to its tune pointing out that said comments are profoundly prejudicial to the interest of Movant/Respondent and is totally incompatible with the objective of the court.
GoL is recommending that Justice Asante be made to retract the said comments so as not to jeopardize the international image of this court and take further corrective actions to refrain from all and any further media interview only intended to humiliate the country.
“That this court will grant unto Movant/Respondent all and any further relief although not specifically sought but which will be adequate and proper enough not just to restore the credibility of this court but also to repair the damage which Justice Asante’s comments have caused this court,” the GOL demanded.
The respondents further considered that since Justice Edward Amoako Asante is conflicted, he should recuse himself from any and all applications to which the Republic of Liberia is a party of.
Far (right) Former Associate Justice Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh

In the 11-count application filed by the respondents stating that a statement of such a grave nature is neither the opinion of the court as contained in the case: “Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, Applicant v. Republic of Liberia, Respondent, ECW/CCJ/JUD/28/20, nor part of the responsibility of a venerated judge of the court; instead, it was perhaps triggered by personal or political considerations, gratuitous emotions exclusively designed, planned and unleashed against the Republic of Liberia by Justice Asante to satisfy a vested interest only known to him which is totally incompatible with the standard of judicial impartiality and neutrality.
The respondent submits that Justice Asante has effectively incapacitated his own ability to preside over the application for judgment review because he has openly gambled and trampled underfoot the cool neutrality of the court because such statement is egregiously prejudicial, demeaning and it 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.
“Speaking on VOA after the judgment was rendered, Justice Asante stated: “reading political meanings into it, we didn’t want this kind of impunity to happen for politician to have their way cause the position of judges should be insulated all the times, such that politicians should not have the pendant of removing them at any time they wish, because maybe they may not be singing their songs.” Movant says a statement of this nature coming from an esteemed judge of the Community Country of Justice on the VOA against a sovereign government is grossly politically motivated, and demonstrates that the Justice Asante can no longer be considered a neutral judge in matters where the Republic of Liberia is a party,” respondents expressed.
The respondent added that this statement by the Justice clearly demonstrates that the judgment rendered against the Republic of Liberia was not based on the issues of law raised by the parties, but was based on the personal feelings of individual Judges who decided this matter.
When a judge said; “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/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, and because the laws controlling in this matter contradict the personal feeling of Justice Asante, so he presided over a hearing and ruled on what he wanted and not what was required by law.”
The respondent explained that judicial officials should be stopped from rendering emotional judgment against party litigants based on their personal feelings; rather, it should be based on the facts of the case and the laws controlling. “To indict the Republic of Liberia on the international media as a country that is thriving on the path of muzzling judges only because they are not dancing to the tune of the government is far fetch and shows how one-sidedness.
“Going forward on the VOA, Justice Asante also said “the Liberian Government has shown a certain posture that it does not actually respect the court’s judgment.” In the mind of the Movant/Respondent, this statement from the Justice clearly demonstrates that were Justice Asante to sit on the review panel during the process of judicial review, the Republic would not get a fair hearing because based on his interview, he has already presented a one-sided view or formed an opinion when he is fully aware that there exists an opportunity pursuant to Article 92 of the Rules of Procedures to file an Application for Judgment Review to review the judgment in the case: “Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, Applicant v. Republic of Liberia, Respondent, ECW/CCJ/JUD/28/20.” respondent added.
Respondent further that Justice Asante further demonized the Government of the Republic of Liberia when he said these words on the VOA: “We will keep fighting and keep publicizing as you have done; now it’s on VOA, it’s going all over the place-Liberian Government is doing this; they are removing judges and all that.” This statement by the Justice has greatly injured the good image of the Liberian Government, and where there is a review process pending, Justice Asante cannot be the same Justice who made these denigrating statements against the image of the Republic of Liberia, to sit and review his own judgment whose enforcement he has openly campaigned on the VOA.
Chapter II, Article 87 1-5 of the Rules of the Community Court of Justice on Preliminary Procedure states: “A party applying to the Court for a decision on a preliminary objection or other preliminary plea not going to the substance of the case shall make the application by a separate document.”
On August 23, 2019, the Applicant in these proceedings filed with this Honorable Court an application claiming Human Rights violation as a result of his impeachment by the Honorable House of Representatives and subsequent removal from office as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia by the Honorable Liberian Senate following a full trial in which he was duly represented by a number of lawyers representing his legal interest.
The Applicant contends amongst other things that his impeachment and subsequent removal from office was illegal and described the process as a “political witch hunt” because of an opinion he claimed to have rendered in an election matter.
In Nimba:

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