Over ECOWAS Court’s Order to Reinstate, Pay Jan’neh US$200,000
Monrovia: Amid the recent ruling of the Abuja based ECOWAS Court of Justice, ordering the Liberian government to among others, reinstate impeached Supreme Court Associate Justice Counselor Kabineh Muhammad Ja’neh, and pay him the sum of US$200,000 (two hundred thousand United States Dollars) as reparation for what the Court calls moral prejudice Ja’neh suffered for the violation of his rights, the country risks sanction from the regional body, the Economic Community of West African States.
Cllr. Ja’neh, it can be recalled, was impeached in 2019 under dubious circumstances, with two lawmakers of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Montserrado Representatives Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah co-sponsoring a bill for Ja’neh’s impeachment.
Ja’neh at the time contended that the processes leading to his impeachment proceedings and subsequent removal violated his human rights, particularly the right to fair hearing and impartial trial, right to work and dignity of person guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At the time, Ja’neh argued that his purported impeachment, trial, conviction, removal from office and replacement violated the Constitution of Liberia, with many Liberians at then siding with the impeached Associate Justice, indicating that his impeachment process was “politically motivated.”
Howbeit, the ECOWAS Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of impeached Associate Justice Ja’neh, and gave the Government of Liberia (GoL) a six-month ultimatum to report on the enforcement of the judgment.
Among others, the ECOWAS Court in its 73-page ruling ordered the Government of Liberia to restore, calculate and pay to Ja’neh all his withheld entitlements, including salaries, allowances and pension benefits as from the date of his impeachment to the date of notification of the Court’s judgment.
But Women Voices Newspaper (WVN) has gathered from impeccable governmental sources that the George Weah-led government is contemplating to deliberately flout the order of the Court, something which would land her into trouble, most probably sanction from the regional body.
Legal luminaries, who chose to remain anonymous for this report, have told WVN that if the assertions of our sources are anything to go by regarding the GoL’s intended willful flouting of the ECOWAS Court’s recent order, the Court will this time seek for the sanction regime against Liberia, adding that then this will bring to two the number of times the Liberian government would have disobeyed the orders of the Court, the first being the case with former Liberian First Lady Mrs. Nancy B. Doe.
Last year, the ECOWAS Court ordered the Liberian government to pay the sum total of US$18,130,778.09 being or comprising monies deposited in various banks by former President Samuel K. Doe, plus accrued interests, to Mrs. Doe, widow and administrator of the slain president’s estates.
Howbeit, WVN has been reliably informed that to date, the Government of Liberia has not honored such order from the ECOWAS Court, and Madam Doe is yet to receive full payment of monies ‘legitimately’ due her by the GoL.
The ECOWAS Court’s judgments are under the 1993 ECOWAS Revised Treaty, binding on Member States, Community Institutions, Individuals and Corporate bodies while the initial Protocol on the Court provides that decisions of the court shall be final and immediately enforceable.
A subsequent Supplementary Act of the regional body’s legal arm provides for sanctions against Member States that fail to honor their obligations, with the non-compliance by ECOWAS Member States being characterized as a breach of their obligation under Community law which is founded on the internationally recognized legal principle of pacta sunt servanda, which implies that every treaty in force is binding upon parties and must be discharged in good faith by them.
ECOWAS Treaty is a multilateral agreement signed by the member states that made up the Economic Community of West African States. The initial treaty was signed by the Heads of States and Governments of the then 16 member states in 1975 in Lagos, Nigeria. With new developments and mandates for the Community a revised treaty was signed in Cotonou, Benin Republic in July, 1993 by the heads of states and government of the now 15 member states.
Article 77 of the ECOWAS revised treaty states that sanctions are applicable for non-fulfillment of obligations, with such sanctions including. suspension of new Community loans or assistance; suspension of disbursement on on-going Community projects or assistance programs; exclusion from presenting candidates for statutory and professional posts; suspension of voting rights; and suspension from participating in the activities of the Community.