“In accordance with article 14(2) of the INCHR Law, the President may dismiss a member of the INCHR upon impeachment and conviction by the legislature based on proven gross misconduct in a court of law for treason, bribery, misapplication of entrusted property or other felonies. Additionally, article 43 of the Constitution of Liberia provides that the legislature shall prescribe a procedure for impeachment. The SCA notes that Parliament is yet to prescribe the procedure for impeachment which would apply to the dismissal of INCHR members.
The SCA acknowledges information received from the INCHR that there are efforts at national level through the Law Reform Commission to draft a procedure for impeachment. In accordance with Article 14 (1) of the INCHR Law, a member of the INCHR can be removed from office on the ground of incapacity or inability to perform the duties of his/her office.
The SCA notes that there is no requirement that the ground of such incapacity be determined by relevant existing independent mechanisms. In addition, there is no specificity within the law about the procedure to be employed in coming to a resolution for the dismissal of a member on the basis of inability to perform duties of the Commission.
The SCA is of the view that in order to address the requirements for a stable mandate under the Paris Principles, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling legislation of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective dismissal process, similar to that accorded to members of other independent State agencies. The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to only those actions which impact adversely on the capacity of the member to fulfil their mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. The dismissal must be made in strict conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements as prescribed by law. It should not be allowed based solely on the discretion of appointing authorities.
The SCA is of the view that such requirements ensure the security of tenure of the members of the governing body and are essential to ensure the independence of, and public confidence in, the senior leadership of an NHRI.
The SCA recommends that the INCHR continue to advocate for the enactment of law that prescribes for the impeachment process of members of the Commission. In addition, the SCA recommends that the INCHR advocate for amendments to its law that outline an independent and objective procedure for the removal of members of the Commission on the ground of incapacity and inability to fulfil duties of the Commission.”