''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 9

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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The story below carried on national media in Sierra Leone as well as international outlets confirms that the "New APC" government of Ernest Bai Koroma has indeed sprung former RUF Chief Spokesman and operative Omrie Golley from Pademba Road Prison. The release would be welcomed by those who claim that the man found himself on trial and in prison because of "political reasons". It sounds good as for the first time, a former top operative of the rebels (who should have faced the Special Court to explain his role in our troubles) was not freed in the heat of gun battles.

And this is where the people of Sierra Leone would need an explanation as to why this move was taken in the light of excuses being bandied about that "this was in keeping with the President's promise as stated in his maiden speech in Parliament."

"33. Modern Democracy is underpinned by adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law. This is why judicial reform is critical to my government’s efforts to ensure the independence and integrity of the Judiciary. In line with my desire to ensure an independent, fair and expeditious justice system my government will separate the Office of the Attorney General from that of the Ministry of Justice.

34. We will also seek to improve, as a policy, the quality of magisterial adjudicature by recruiting and retraining those law graduates who may not have wished to sit at the Bar, to serve as special magistrates to dispense justice expeditiously. This policy is consistent with my government’s determination that the rule of law shall prevail.

35. Additionally, and also consistent with my government’s devotion to promote transparency and fairness in our judicial system, and in accordance with the TRC recommendations, politically motivated cases will be reviewed speedily. Never again will the judicial system be manipulated to unfairly silence political opponents."

The above was what President Ernest Bai Koroma said on Justice and the Rule of Law and what the people of Sierra Leone would now need to know without any ambiguity is why was the Golley case given such a swift review?

Can Attorney-General and Justice Minister Serry Kamal please explain to the people of Sierra Leone how he came to such a decision bearing in mind that the matter was not a party affair but was Omrie Golley versus the State (The People of Sierra Leone).

And then would come another question that needs a clear, very clear explanation. The President stated the above and there is no getting away from that by any denial, but should that be an excuse for Serry Kamal to make nonsense of and subvert the entire Judicial system in the country to suit political aims?

By this swift action of freeing Omrie Golley from jail, are we again beginning to see the Executive interfering in the affairs of the Judiciary when the constitution clearly separates the functions of the three arms of governance?

The people of Sierra Leone would like to know what lay behind this swift move and more especially if there is a link between this action and the over-stay of the President when he visited Burkina Faso's Blaise Campaore.

It is no secret that Blaise Campaore was the chief arms supplier for the Taylor and RUF killing machines and at least one UN report has implicated Burkina Faso in the creation of the killing fields of Sierra Leone, to wit the facilitation of arms supplies to RUF rebels.

Soldiers of the Sierra Leone army who resisted the first wave of invaders in 1991 will tell you that among those they killed were men wearing the identity tags of the Burkinabe army!!!

We demand answers for the simple reason that if the Ernest Bai Koroma government is allowed to get away with what looks like a blatant act of trampling upon the judicial process because he had said so in Parliament, this would open the way for more such acts of "terror legislations".

Another question Serry Kamal.

Why do you still carry both titles as Attorney-General and as Justice Minister? This was what your President stated in that maiden speech.

In line with my desire to ensure an independent, fair and expeditious justice system my government will separate the Office of the Attorney General from that of the Ministry of Justice.

The above is an admission by President Ernest Bai Koroma that an independent' fair and expeditious justice system exists where both offices are not separated and that to achieve this aim both offices have to be separated. But here we have Serry Kamal still holding both posts doing just that. This is an indictment on the present administration

So Serry Kamal, why did you not insist on their separation as indicated in the speech that provided what you see as the excuse for the subversion of the rule of law?

We await your explanation to the people in a language they understand and be careful that you do not play on sentiments.

And one last one - Is Omrie Golley the only matter that you can identify where the justice system serves the political party of the day?

By this action Serry Kamal, you have shown that your government too practices what you have condemned.

Was Omrie Golley the only person in prison who could have been in because of political considerations?

The Sierra Herald would want to remind Serry Kamal and the Ernest Bai Koroma government of a part of a UN report on arms trafficking into Sierra Leone for use by the RUF machine of death, rape and destruction.

In Sierra Leone, the RUF depends almost exclusively on light weaponry, although it does have access to more sophisticated equipment. It has captured many weapons during confrontations with the Sierra Leone Army, ECOMOG and UNAMSIL forces. The Panel, however, found unequivocal and overwhelming evidence that Liberia has been actively supporting the RUF at all levels, in providing training, weapons and related mat‚riel, logistical support, a staging ground for attacks and a safe haven for retreat and recuperation, and for public relations activities.

There is also conclusive evidence of supply lines to Liberia through Burkina Faso. Weapons supplied to Burkina Faso by governments or private arms merchants have been systematically diverted for use in the conflict in Sierra Leone. For example, a shipment of 68 tons of weapons arrived at Ouagadougou on 13 March 1999. They were temporarily off-loaded in Ouagadougou and some were trucked to Bobo Dioulasso. The bulk of them were then trans-shipped within a matter of days to Liberia. Most were flown aboard a BAC- 111 owned by an Israeli businessman of Ukrainian origin, Leonid Minin. Details of the flights and dates are included in the report.

Sierra Leone: Former rebel spokesperson Golley released after long detention

APA Freetown (Sierra Leone) The former spokesman of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Omrie Golley, has been released from a twenty-two month detention following an order given Thursday by the Office of the Attorney General in Freetown.

The Presidential Affairs Minister, Alhaji Alpha Kanu, said at a press briefing Thursday that “the Attorney General’s office has established that there is no evidence to substantiate the allegation of plotting to commit a treasonable offence levied against Omrie Golley who holds a dual citizenship of Sierra Leone and Britain”.

In this regard, Alhaji Alpha Kanu said the Attorney General Serry Kamal has therefore signed a “no case order” order for the immediate release of Golley and two others, David Kaitongi and Alpha Bah with whom he has been detained at the Pademba Road Maximum Prison in Freetown for the past twenty two months.

Omrie Golley and the two others were arrested in December 2006 on an alleged attempt to overthrow the then SLPP government led by former President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah.

Omrie Golley and co-accused were facing a two count charge of treason contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone at Freetown High Count number two, presided over by Madam Justice Mary Sei.

Presidential Affairs Minister said his release is in consonance with President Ernest Bai Koroma’s state opening of Parliament address last 5th October.

President Koroma said then: “consistent with my government’s devotion to promote transparency and fairness in our judiciary system and in accordance with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations, politically motivated cases will be reviewed speedily and never again will the judiciary system be manipulated to unfairly silence political opponent.”

Immediately after his release at the Pademba Road Prison, Omrie Golley spoke to the media.

“I am delighted. I feel great. I have been deprived of my constitutional and legal rights for over twenty months. My health situation was never given adequate attention. I never saw or met my family since my detention. Condition in prison was very hard," he noted.



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