ECOWAS Court President Discourages Appeal Plan by Ja’neh’s Lawyers, Aggrieved Senators

ECOWAS Court of Community Justice President, Justice Edward Amoako Asante addresses a press conference in Monrovia. The president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court has publicly clarified that the court does not have jurisdiction to reverse any judgment (opinion) of the Supreme Court of any of its members states.

Justice Edward Amoako Asante’s clarification came against the backdrop of persistent threats by some senators and lawyers representing Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh, but are now aggrieved, wanting to challenge the result of Ja’neh’s impeachment trial at the ECOWAS Community Court.

Justice Asante’s clarification comes following a recent visit to the country by his team of justices on a sensitization campaign on the work of the ECOWAS Court. His statement was in response to a question posed to him during a press conference as to whether his court has jurisdiction to review judgment of its members’ highest court. He replied in the negative.

“Our court is not empowered to review the judgment (opinion) of the highest court of any of our member’s states,” Justice Asante stated. “We only have the jurisdiction to examine cases involving an alleged failure by a member state to comply with community law, a dispute relating to the interpretation and application of community acts; dispute between community institutions and their officials; community liability and human rights violations.”

He revealed that up to now, 14 cases of human rights violations have been filed from Liberia to the court since its establishment in 2001.

With this clarification by Justice Asante, it clearly puts some of the senators, who opposed the idea of the amended Senate Standing Rule 63 that they argued were intended for Ja’neh’s impeachment trial in a very difficult position, because they had earlier threatened to seek further redress at the ECOWAS Court over the procedure adopted by their majority colleagues to impeach Justice Ja’neh.

Senators Armah Jallah, Daniel Naatehn, Conmany Wesseh, Oscar Cooper and Nyonblee Lawrence had threatened to take the matter before the ECOWAS Court for final settlement, although the Supreme Court had denied their argument against “the Constitutionality Amendment of the Senate Rules to provide for impeachment.”

The senators had contended that their majority colleagues’ adopted the procedure to enable them to conduct a hearing on the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh, because there was no such procedure at the Senate prior to the impeachment of Justice Ja’neh by the House of Representatives.

The majority Senators recently approved […]

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