SUBVERTING THE RULE OF LAW IN SIERRA
LEONE....OPENING THE FLOODGATES FOR LAWLESSNESS?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.