Appendix 2, Part 4: Submissions

THE SIERRA LEONE CIVIL SERVICE - A PRESENTATION TO THE TRC ON BEHALF OF THE ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC PARTY) PRESENTED BY HON. WUSU B. MUNU

1. PREAMBLE
      
On behalf of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party, and on my own personal behalf, I take this opportunity to congratulate this Honourable Commission for the work that it is doing for this nation. I want to assure you that as a political party, the APC is ready and willing at all times, and even at short notice to honour your call to assist in your task. My humble and brief presentation on the Sierra Leone Civil Service will be devoid of any political bias. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission such as yours, requires nothing but the truth, the absolute truth, to enable you appreciate more, the wounds, the trauma and suffering inflicted on this nation by the hideous events of 1991 - 2001.

The Rebels who invaded Sierra Leone, in March, 1991 and their god-fathers had one principal aim: to remove the APC led government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh from power and to install a government of their choice. All the atrocities - the killings, amputations of limbs, burning of houses, waylaying and burning of vehicles, abduction and raping of women of all ages, torture and so on - were, it appeared, committed in frustration. The rebels were never able to go near their quarry - the executives of the government they strived to remove. In consequence, they turned their wrath on poor innocent civilians, some of whom have never even set foot on Freetown, the seat of government. There lies the tragedy of the rebel war. Their next target was the removal of Captain Valentine Strasser's and Steve Bio's NPRC Junta, then later, President Kabba's SLPP led Government. They failed in all these.
      
The Sierra Leone Civil Service as an organisation, or individual Civil Servants were never an exclusive target of the Rebel war. Civil Servants may have been caught up in unfortunate episodes as happened to many other Sierra Leoneans. Indeed, the work of the Civil Service was disrupted all over the country when the rebels and the numerous Civil Defence Forces that sprang up were virtually in control of the country, and many light hearted people fled the country as a consequence.

Having made these brief remarks, I want to turn my attention to the fortunes of the Sierra Leone Civil Service as an organisation. In doing so, I merely want to dwell a bit on how politics and the politicians before the Rebel war, during and after the war influenced the fortunes of the Civil Service as an organisation. Important and relevant as they are, I do not intend to talk about the structure, the organisaiton, remuneration, Financial Orders, the General Orders, and other operational guidelines of the Service. Time will not permit me to go into all those issues. That apart, more competent and authoritative Reports on those aspects are to be found in documents such as the Hugh Clarke Commission on the Sierra Leone Civil Service, and in many others.
      
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is primarily about the events, atrocities, violations of human rights, and the sufferings unleashed to this nation during the Civil (Rebel) war year - 1991 - 2001.

2.    THE COLONIAL CIVIL SERVICE
To be able to give an insight from my own perspective into the Sierra Leone Civil Service during the war years, I will have to go back to an earlier period in the history of this country.   

On the 27th of April 1961, Sierra Leone became an independent Sovereign State. At Independence, the departing Colonial Administration left behind a well established and professionally trained Civil Service on the White Hall model in the United Kingdom. The concept and definition of the Sierra Leone Civil Service was the same as that adopted by White Hall based on the popular formulation of the British Royal Commission (The "Tomlison Commission) on the Civil Service in 1929 - 1931 which I reproduce below: The Civil Servant
". . . the Servant of the Crown other than holders of political or judicial offices, who are employed in a civil capacity and whose remuneration is paid wholly and directly out of monies voted by Parliament".

In addition, certain principles, regulations and characteristics marked out the operations of the British Civil Service:

(i) Merit - The appointment to public positions of the candidate best qualified for it.
(ii) Neutrality - Civil Servants should be politically neutral.
(iii) Competence - The government will be served with trained skill and intelligence
(iv) Impartiality - The economic opportunity of government employment should be accessible to all citizens without favour.
(v) Anonymity

These were some of the guiding behavourial principles of the Colonial Service which Sierra Leone inherited at Independence. At that time Administration was still Colonial in everything - concerned with the maintenance of law and order, perpetuation of the Colonial Policy of Divide and Rule, taxation and tax collection. Development Administration i.e. the formulation and implementation of socio-economic programmes for national development as we know them today were still things of the future. It was only in later years that the Civil Servant was expected to be an agent of change and development. Specialist training in Socio-economic disciplines was not yet a must in the Civil Service.

Most of the Sierra Leonean Civil Servants in those early days were not University graduates and, so also were the Political Ministers they served but they were men and women in whom a culture of hard work, discipline, dedication to duty, and personal integrity were imparted by the departing Colonial administrators. They were a capable and competent generation of civil Servants highly respected by all.

THE CIVIL SERVICE IN 1960 -1967
Between 1965 and 1967 certain momentous political events took place. These events were to dent the image of, deprive for good, and infact change the status of the Civil Service and the Civil Servant from that of a highly respected, dignified, impartial and independent institution to that of a lame-duck organisation. By these events the impartiality and neutrality of the Civil Service were lost. Instead of being chief advisers on policy to the Minister, Civil Servants were reduced to only receiving instructions. They became pawns in the political game of politicians.

What were these political events? The new APC party was gaining nationwide support and popularity. Within a relatively short time of its formation "APC;" became a household name throughout the length and breadth of Sierra Leone. School children, teachers, market women, the elderly and motor drivers were all singing APC songs of praises.

The SLPP party was in power, and with the ever-rising tide of popularity of the APC, the then SLPP led government of the Late Sir Albert Margai became jittery, uneasy, perplexed and confused. Within a very short time the APC had scored resounding victories in succession at local government elections. In October 1964, the APC won the Freetown City Council Elections. That election made Siaka Stevens the leader of the APC become the 39th mayor of the City of Freetown. In the District Council Elections of 27th May, 1966, the APC won 72 out of the 95 contested seats in the North. The SLPP was disoriented.

Determined to win the General Elections scheduled for April 1976, the then SLPP party resorted to using Civil Servants all over the country to employ their best endeavours to return the SLPP to power as the majority of them were in key positions to serve as Returning Officers. I will reproduce below excerpts from the Report of the Dove-Edwin Commission of Inquiry which investigated the conduct of the 1967 elections, and from Siaka Stevens' book "What Life has taught me", to buttress these allegations:

Dove-Edwin Report
On the conduct of the 1967 General Elections, the Report states in paragraph 12 inter alia, "the evidence disclosed that the Presiding Officers in this election were persons selected by the SLPP candidate in his own Constituency and their names were vetted by the Prime Minister Office..." In paragraph 13, the Report states "Before the Returning Officers were appointed in February, 1967 there had been convened a seminar for Administrative Officers in or around July, 1966 in Bo. At the Seminar the Secretary to the Prime Minister... presided and we were told this seminar was to acquaint Returning Officers with their duties during the Election". In paragraph 14 of the Report we were told that "Early in 1967 another Seminar was held in Kenema presided over again by the Secretary to the Prime Minister and Head of the Civil Service. In paragraph 17 the Report states: "The first opportunity the Returning Officers had to show how well they understood the lessons of Bo and Kenema was to get six SLPP candidates returned unopposed..."

Siaka Stevens - What Life Has Taught Me
Page 248 - first paragraph: Writing about the 1967 general elections states "... the name of every Returning Officer was first vetted by the Prime Minister before being officially appointed by the Commission. Two seminars of administrative officers had been held, one in July, 1966, and the other in February, 1967 at which the Secretary to the Prime Minister and Head of the Civil Service had left no doubt in the minds of Returning Officers about what was expected of them during the coming election, namely, to see to it that the SLPP Government was returned to power".

I have decided to raise up these issues not because I want to score a political point, but to let this Honourable Commission know that the partisan role played by Civil Servants in that election of 1967 was to cost the service dear thereafter; for some of the active players were reduced in rank by subsequent governments, others dismissed, others resigned of their own free volition on reading the writing on the wall. These events also brought the hitherto highly respected Civil Service into disrepute. The politicians lost faith in its impartiality and political neutrality. That was the genesis of the demise of the Civil Service as force to contend with.

THE CIVIL SERVICE 1968 -1990
As stated in the preceding sections the APC government that succeeded the NRC in 1968 inherited a Service in which there was no love lost between them. The new government was apathetic to and suspicious of the Civil Service. Rightly or wrongly, the new government entertained the fear that the Service still maintained lingering ties with the defeated SLPP government. But the problem of the APC at the time was that it was forming a government for the first time. It had no experience in governance, and a good number of the material it had for Ministers were just Secondary Schools leavers. So the government had no choice but to work in sensitive Ministries and Departments with the officers they met there. Contrary to popular expectations however, the freedom and respectability of the Service was restored during the tenure of the APC as a Government.

No dramatic development took place in the Civil Service until the promulgation of the Republican Constitution and the One Party Constitution of 1978, when it was decided to politicise the Civil Service. Certain grades of Civil Servants hitherto prevented from taking active part in politics were allowed to participate. That policy of politicising the Civil Service was severely criticised and condemned by many. Personally, I regarded it as an unfortunate development. Civil Servants should remain civil servants if conflict of interest in their job was to be avoided. The justification of the APC government which introduced that policy could have been that as a One Party State, all the players in governance of the state should be seen to tow the party policy, act in unison, and thereby rise or fall with the fortunes of the Party. At that material time also  (1968-1990), the country witnessed serious lapses in the official conduct of many Civil Servants.   

A series of  investigations on financial malpractices were conducted and a sizeable number of those investigated were found culpable and suffered, some by dismissal, and others by imprisonment.   

That was the time of the so-called "Vouchergates" and "Squandergates". That policy of politicising the Civil Service was however short lived. It disappeared officially when the APC government reinstated Multi-party politics in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

REMUNERATION AND TRAINING

(i) Remuneration:

Inadequate and poor remuneration have been, and still are the perennial woes of the Sierra Leone Civil Service. The Civil Servant is expected to work diligently, and to dedicate his entire working life to the service of the State. Unfortunately, however, the State does not reciprocate by paying him well to enable him meet some of his basic personal and family obligations. We live in an environment and culture of the "extended family". The Civil Servant is perpetually in search of ways and means of supplementing the pittance he receives at the end of the month. The future of his children is bleak. He cannot educate them adequately, and the question of building a shelter for them is as remote as chasing a mirage. Any meaningful future reorganisation of the Civil Service should look into the important aspect of remuneration based on the cost of living index. A mere revision of salaries and allowances without reference to the cost of living will be futile and unproductive.

(ii) Training:

Early in 1960, a Civil Service Training College was established to provide sandwitch courses for junior clerical and accounting staff. Accountants were taught the rudiments of government accounting, and Clerks were taught Office Management. At a later date, Induction courses were introduced in the College Curriculum for Senior and Administrative Staff. The induction courses for senior administrative officers was usually for a period of three months. The training served a very useful purpose at the time. The trainees were taught human management skills, the format of official correspondences, case studies of critical past issues confronting the Administrative Officer in his official duties were analysed so as to develop his judgement skills. The Sierra Leone Civil Service Training College was closed down for want of logistics support, the absence of adequately and appropriately trained and qualified personnel to staff that institution. Also, because a more academically oriented institution - the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) was set up by the University of Sierra Leone. The IPAM was well suited to provide the training needs of both a modern Public and Private Sector.

THE WAY FORWARD FOR THE SIERRA LEONE CIVIL SERVICE
"MEDIOCRITY" - that was how the Sierra Leone Civil Service was once described by an official of the IMF when he visited the country on one of their supervision missions. Whilst I do not subscribe to that arrogant view of the service, I hasten to say that a lot needs to be done to update the Sierra Leone Civil Service for it to be able to meet the technical nature of modern Administration. The days of the Generalist in Public Administration, i.e. people who read exclusively for their University degrees the humanities such as history, theology, Greek, Latin and philosophy,are over.

For far too long our entrants into the Senior cadres of the Service were single University degree holders. It should be a policy of Government to encourage single degree holders in the service, especially the young, to secure a second degree in relevant socio-economic subjects in readiness to meet the challenges of national development. Today, the Civil Servant should not be content with maintaining the status quo. He has to be innovative, he should be a development and economic planner as well as an implementor of his plans. The Civil Servant is his Ministry's ambassador and the first point of contact with International Organisations. He should be able to participate intelligently with his peers at negotiations and discussions.

The plight of the Civil Servant is highly recognised and appreciated by almost everybody in this country. His Excellency the President, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in his Presidential Address on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament on Friday, 20th June, 2003, whilst thanking ". . . those civil servants who have rendered selfless service to the country in its hour of need" lamented the plight of the Civil Servant as follows:

"Unfortunately, after many years of neglect caused by political intrusion, lack of resources and a decade of conflict, the public service in Sierra Leone has suffered from a decline in its effectiveness and self-esteem. Now is the time to re-build and modernize the civil service".

The other paragraphs on the Civil Service in the President's address referred to above make pleasant reading for people who care for a modern and professional Civil Service in Sierra I,eone. I am constrained to reproduce further another excerpt of HE's the President address:

"We must now build on this work in order to rapidly develop a cadre of top public servants who are exceptionally competent, highly motivated and appropriately remunerated. They should be well trained in the management skills that are commonly used by the public service in other parts of the world. At the apex of the public service we must groom a leadership group capable of helping this country take on the challenges o f the 21st century, encouraged and empowered to exercise their professional competence, confident that their careers will not be jeopardized by unwarranted political interference".

CONCLUSION
Honourable Commissioners, you will please excuse my inadequacies on the Civil Service in this my presentation. I retired from the Public Service in April, 1991. New developments in the Service may have eluded me during my twelve years break from it. I may be wrong, but my personal assessment of the Rebel war was that the Civil Service as an Organisation was not a target. It remains as it was before the war. I thank you all for your patience.



STATEMENT DELIVERED BY THE MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION ON THE EFFECTS OF THE REBEL WAR ON THE CIVIL SERVICE AND THE MINISTRY

Due to the vital role the Civil Service is expected to play in the administration of the State, it is essential that the Personnel constituting the Civil Service function as efficiently as possible when carrying out their mandate. An inefficient Civil Service creates problems for the effective administration of the State. These problems may range from giving ill advice to the government, the ineffective execution of policies, the misappropriation of state funds and the undermining of political leadership. Inefficiency in this case, is the inability of the Civil Service to render optimal service to the nation, a situation in which the Sierra Leone Civil Service finds itself.

Since the 1980's, the Civil Service has been plagued with a variety of problems and vices including inadequate budgetary allocation for programme delivery, lack of timely follow-up action to vital proceedings, poor quality personnel, misappropriation of state funds, waste of limited allocated resources, delays or failures in the implementation of policies, nepotism and tribalism, slow development of capacity, poor monitoring of use of resources and above all, a lethargic attitude to work.

The difficulty of attracting competent recruits to the Civil Service is mainly due to the poor remuneration within its present reward structure. In addition, the attractions of subsidized housing, hire purchase facilities for cars, furniture and some household equipment that no more exist has all reduced the attraction to offered positions. Even the basic entitlement of Civil Servants like overtime for junior staff, medical, car allowance, to name a few, are totally inadequate and based on old calculations. Even where they exist on paper, the amounts claimable are so derisory as not to warrant the bother. This has made the Service very unattractive and puts it at a disadvantage against other competitors like Non Governmental Organizations, parastatals and the private sector.

The low remuneration offered causes the Service to attract rejects from the other sectors or where it is fortunate to attract capable new entrants, they simply use the Service as a waiting point for more attractive offers. This invariably leads to the problem of the Civil Service being incapable of retaining its better qualified staff.

With low remuneration, Civil Servants are prone to suffer from personal or logistical distractions. By personal distractions, the worker has to divert his attention from the job to seek means to address his personal problems such as family commitments and the like. In a situation wherein the official remuneration received by a worker could not meet his basic needs, such an official would be compelled to seek other means of supplementing his income. This invariably leads to corruption in one form or another. With corruption, the state loses a lot of resources due to misappropriation.

Corruption, as caused by poor remuneration, could take several forms. Some workers convert state resources to their own personal use. Some, especially those dealing with the public, demand bribes before performing their duties. Thus, it is common to see that persons who offer bribes are served much more speedily than those who refuse to. In other cases, corruption takes the form of misuse of government time. This is demonstrated by officials who, within their official hours, leave their duties to attend to private business. Sometimes government equipment is often put into commercial use. This could be seen in the numerous cases where photocopiers, computers or even vehicles are used as sources of income. To justify their actions or attitude towards work, most Civil Servants would remark, "wusai den tai cow nae dae I go it" or "Government wok nor get tenki."

Another cancer troubling the Service is the poor time keeping and absenteeism of personnel thus creating undue delays in service delivery. The reluctance by Senior Administrators to enforce compliance to disciplinary codes is worrying.

Delays in effecting retirement rules and the practice of some workers to alter their official birth records are unacceptable practices that exist.
The general poor supervision of the personnel of the Service has sometimes led to payroll improprieties, which is a thorny issue for Government. The failure to follow-up outcome of meetings, agreements, protocols etc. leads to loss of opportunities and sanctions against Sierra Leone.

Another disincentive that causes inefficiency is the lack of equipment and logistics to carry out the business of Government in the Ministries. Staff are not properly trained to handle sensitive equipment thus within a short time costly equipment develops faults that are rarely put right. The maintenance culture is poor within Ministries and this leads to wastage.

The monitoring of assets is almost non existent as most Ministries don't have assets registers and personnel at all levels convert Government assets for their personal use; by even moving these assets to their homes or trading them.

The moratorium on recruitment that was in force for over ten years until two years ago seriously affected the capacity of Ministries especially when the war had caused a significant manpower loss through Immigration, deaths, old age, resignations and abandonment and other wastage. Even now that recruitment and replacements have commenced, the rate has been slow to catch up with the personnel complement before the start of the war.

The decision by Government to expunge daily wage and temporary workers from the payroll was welcomed as it reduced the possibility of payroll fraud. However, the delay to settle the end of service benefits of workers when leaving the service causes undue hardship and erodes the value of these benefits when eventually received.

Personnel development through training is vital for efficiency within the Service. There has not been a coordinated approach to capacity building which has adversely affected service delivery.

In the Service, Administrative officers, especially the Permanent Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries, are subject to transfer through periodic postings across Ministries. My concern of this practice is that these postings occur too frequently sometimes as to disrupt the smooth operations of Ministries. Transfers within a year or two, sometimes six months duration, upset the programme momentum of a Ministry. There have been instances where the transfer of a Permanent Secretary coincides with the new appointment of a Minister thus creating an unknown territory to both Minister and Permanent Secretary. No doubt this adversely affects the efficiency of such a Ministry.

Before the rebel war, some of the policies of Government to regulate the Trade and Industrial sectors e.g. the industrial Development Act of 1983 and the Non-Citizens Trade and Business Act of 1969, amongst others caused concern to the various stakeholders, leading to directives within the structural adjustment programme for the deregulation. These concerns are believed to have contributed to the slow-down in economic activity, job losses and poverty creation. Some of these are:

i. The concept of public responsibility by Government to create jobs and regulate prices. This led to the creation of Parastatals with part Government ownership thus justifying Government's influence in market decisions. The records of the Parastatals show that Government's direct involvement affected the efficiency and business efficacy of these entities. Thus the decision for Government to disinvest its holdings.

ii. Too many regulations such as import/export permits, price controls, the enactment of the industrial Development Bill which were all later considered to be counter productive to the development of Trade and industry

iii. The levying of high duties and taxes for revenue generation is a disincentive to private sector operations thus militating against competition and encouraging smuggling

iv. The non-implementation of important laws and regulations, like the Non-citizens Trade and Business Act, failed to address a fundamental concern of the indigenous businesses.

v. Some financial policies, like the establishment of the "pipeline" at the Bank of Sierra Leone, and the interference to the exchange rate mechanism through the setting of artificial rates, the declared foreign exchange control which affected free transfer of capital, eroded confidence and led to closure of established businesses.

vi. The concentration of the ministry's administrative machinery in Freetown neglected the needs and concerns of the majority of commercial and enterprise operators

vii. Some of our business laws were out-dated e.g. the Companies Act, whilst others, like a Bankruptcy Act were non-existent. Other instruments like the industrial Development Act, the Non-Citizen's Trade and Business Act and the Cooperative Act were thought out-dated and needed review.

viii. There was failure by the Ministry to link budgetary allocations with credible action plans for programme delivery. Thus the impact of budgetary expenditure was not evident.

ix. The structure of the Ministry has not been responsive to its current demands, for sometime the need for restructuring the Ministry has been mooted.

x. Finally, the lip service by previous Governments to encourage the development of the business sector had not been matched with coordinated policies to enhance Trade and industrial development.

The combination of the above factors is believed to have contributed to the disgruntlement and dissatisfaction of both Civil Servants and members of the public which precipitated the hate and feeling of hopelessness that led to the war.

The Ministry's activities were adversely affected during the civil war. There was structural damage to its few provincial offices with loss of furniture, equipment and vital records. Some personnel were either killed, displaced or ended up as refugees. The plans of the Ministry such as the restructuring of its operations, the formulation of a Code for the Promotion of Investment and the review of the Trade and Investment Laws were derailed. The Ministry failed to meet its obligation to international institutions thus accumulating a debt burden which is adversely affecting our capacity to access support from these organizations.

We were badly affected as a country by the non-functioning of the rural areas that had the bulk of micro and small industries and institutions like the National Industrial Development and Finance Organisation and the Growth Centres located in the Provinces, which are skills training centers for micro/small enterprises development were adversely affected. More significantly, the Small and Medium Scale Industries mostly located in the Western Area had to close down through reduced activities or damage and loss to structures, machinery and stock. Also obligations of debtors and to creditors could not be met.

The National workshop which served as a production facility for fabrication of tools and equipment was functioning on a reduced scale, despite the withdrawal of the Yazbeck Management. However, when this Complex was occupied by displaced war affected people, the services offered immediately ceased. Since then, serious damage has been done to machinery and equipment and some structural damage observed. This Complex is still occupied by people some of whose claim to displaced status is suspect. Despite the interest expressed by a donor agency and a bilateral partner to establish industrial activities within the Workshop that will create jobs and develop our export base, these occupants have stilt not vacated the premises.

The deterioration in power supply over the years drastically affected industries in the western Area through reduced production and high unit cost because of the use of private generating facility.

Funds earmarked by international Organizations for industrial programmes formulated were never disbursed and had to lapse. Also initiatives, for which studies have been done, to aid the development of medium and small enterprises were put on hold. As a Ministry, we are trying to convince the donors to reopen interest in these areas.

Local commercial activities were affected in varying degrees nationwide. The provinces, which were the sites of rebel activities, were most affected. Though the scale of individual businesses in the provinces is smaller than in the western Area, the total capital value is much higher. Also the exposure to bank financing on short term, is not easily available as opposed to the western Area. Therefore the loss of capital suffered by the rural operators during the war has added significance. The general problems that arose were the inability to settle creditors claims, the difficulty to recover debtors obligations, the burden of loan servicing despite trading inactivity and the loss of stock holding through theft and damage. The restoration of civil authority was significantly helped by the provision of micro credit finance to reactivate small businesses. One entity, nationally dispersed, that was engaged in significant trading activities was the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board. Despite its cessation of operations about 1986 the assets were still on hold, supervised by a Caretaker Team. The liberalization of the produce trade created problems of quality and eventual sanctions for Sierra Leone. The protection of the assets has always been a serious concern to Government especially when it is realized that the bulk of these assets were located in the rural areas in the provinces, the concentration of rebel activities.

COOPERATIVES
The activities and programmes of this Department were also adversely affected by the war.

a. Offices and structures in the provinces were vandalized and records, furniture and equipment destroyed.
b. Staff were displaced, killed or lost to other organizations.
c. A large number of cooperatives ceased to operate, especially in the rural areas.
d. The planned restructuring of the Department and the review of its outdated Act was derailed.
e. The Cooperative Bank drastically reduced its operations due to non-recovery of loans given to customers. Contributions of societies ceased as loans to societies could not be repaid.
f. Lack of accessibility and mobility hindered our operations in most areas of the provinces.
g. Some assets of the Cooperative Societies were destroyed whilst some are being illegally occupied.

Action Points For Government

  1. To provide structural and logistical support to reactivate the various Cooperative Units and the National Council.
  2. To retrieve the Cooperative Training Center at the Kenema polytechnic.
  3. Support to Cooperatives to help rehabilitate their farms and businesses.
  4. Use of Cooperatives as an effective medium for channeling support to rural communities and the alleviation of rural poverty.

THE STANDARDS BUREAU
Up to early 2000, this outfit was the weights and Measures Department in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. During the war, the Department escaped rebel destruction because it was operating only in Freetown and it was only in 1999 that it lost two of its three sets of Standards instruments through destruction by rebels who attacked the home of the Director who had just returned from trek from the provinces and had cause to take the standards instruments home.

More serious damage and loss was experienced by stores and trading centers that were obliged by law to have approved measures within their establishments for verification. Most of these Measures were lost during the war, especially in the Provinces, and these have mostly not been replaced. The absence of this vital tool of trade is causing undue hardship to customers. The Bureau of Standards has now been instructed to enforce this regulation.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE BY GOVERNMENT AND THE MINISTRY

  1. To review the remuneration of Civil Servants including allowances
  2. To provide for the training of Personnel and the filling of vacancies
  3. To effect promotions and upgradings based on competence and not contacts or years of service
  4. To institute proper assets management, from acquisition to disposal of assets.
  5. The provision of basic working equipment and tools.
  6. Budgetary allocation and disbursement to be programme linked
  7. Improvement in monitoring the use of funds allocated to the Ministry.
  8. Settle outstanding financial obligations to international Organizations.
  9. Resume contacts with donors and development partners for programmes support.
  10. Clear assignment of roles and responsibilities to officers in the Ministry
  11. To restructure the whole Ministry to make it more responsive.
  12. To cause the vacation of the National Workshop facilities to enable interested donors to access the facilities for programme formulation.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO DATE AND PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE

• The Commission for Privatization has already been established to address the issue of divestiture of Government Shareholding in Parastatals. My ministry had carried out a nationwide survey on the assets of SLPMB and an assets register compiled. In addition recommendations for the way forward was submitted by my Ministry to Cabinet and I believe this document has been passed over to the Privatization Commission.

• Import and export license obligations for most products are now removed. There are no more price controls, exchange rate is now determined by market forces, and the industrial Development Act which was once described as draconian was repealed in 1992 to remove the barriers to investment.

• The decentralization programme of the Ministry is ongoing though not fully implemented.

• A Promotion of Investment Bill is soon to be submitted to Parliament after final discussions with the world Bank. This will address some of the taxation and duty concerns of investors in addition to steps already taken by the Ministry of Finance to reduce some rates. The enactment of this Bill cannot, on its own, attract all the investment needed. There are other requirements that should complement this instrument such as continuous and reliable energy supply, dependable communications, a secure environment, security of tenure of land, competitive rental for hotels and other accommodation, investor friendly legal environment, etc. Other Government Ministries are addressing these requirements and my hope is that very soon most of these will be in place if we are to encourage production activities for job creation, value added, import substitution and export promotion which will all impact positively on poverty alleviation.

• A review of laws relating to business operations is being undertaken. The Bank of Sierra Leone already reviewed the Companies Act.

• Restriction of transfer of capital and profits has been removed by Government.

• The Medium Term Expenditure Framework process now links allocation of funds in the budget to programmes and the Public Expenditure Tracking Survey does the monitoring of Development allocations to Ministries.

• The Ministry of Trade and Industry/Donors relationship is very healthy and many areas of interaction identified plus other initiatives are being explored. The Ministry has commenced the payment of outstanding financial obligations to international Organizations of which we are a member.

• The Commonwealth Secretariat has already proposed a restructured plan for the Ministry, which has been examined by our officers, amended ands sent to the Establishment Secretary's Office for consideration and approval before requesting donors to help us implement.

• My ministry and donors are in the process of mapping out an integrated plan of action for Micro, Small/Medium Enterprises Development that will be presented to donors for funding and implementation.

Sierra Leone has been offered an export window under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a United States of America initiative that will allow Sierra Leone exports to the United States Market duty and quota free. For textiles and folklore, Sierra Leone needs a special visa for which we are now processing our application. It is my hope that the Private Sector Operators will take full advantage of this facility so that they will create wealth for themselves.

• Other initiatives already embarked on include:

  1. Engagement with the Government of the People's Republic of China for product development and the establishment of industries in Sierra Leone. Government has already allocated a site at Grafton for the establishment of an Export Processing Zone.
  2. My ministry organized a Trade Fair jointly with the Private Sector of Ghana to encourage Trade Cooperation between the two counties and to give our Private Sector the opportunity for meaningful linkage.
  3. The hosting of the Iranian Trade Fair, supervised by SLEDIC, is meant to open a further window of opportunity for our Private Sector operators
  4. Sierra Leone participated in the ECOWAS Trade Fair held in Ghana to also give the Private Sector the opportunity to display its output and improve trade links
  5. My ministry supervised the hosting of a Homecoming Summit for Sierra Leoneans living in the Diaspora to encourage them make their contribution to our programme of economic recovery and nation building. There are already positive signals of encouraging response.

I thank you for giving me this opportunity to address this TRC Forum.



MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC PLANNING
PRESENTATION IN RESPECT OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION AT THE THEMATIC, EVENT-SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARING SESSIONS OF THE TRC BY THE MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC PLANNING HONOURABLE MOHAMMED BASSIRU DARAMY
YOUYI BUILDING FREETOWN MAY 2003

Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Ladies and Gentlemen

Please permit me to first of all express my profound gratitude and appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and the Executive Secretary of the TRC for inviting me to make a statement at the thematic, event-specific and institutional hearing sessions of the TRC.

Mr. Chairman, this opening address was not included in the document forwarded to this Commission on the 10th May 2003 and other changes have been made to the original document. This fact should be brought before this commission. I pray that the almighty will guide me to say the truth and nothing but the truth before this Commission. My remarks will deal mostly with the institutional component of the thematic, event-specific and institutional hearings sessions of the TRC.

As Minister of Development & Economic Planning, most of my statements will be centered on the various development programmes over the years, compared with the present peopled-centered and integrated-oriented participatory approaches to development programming. This, I hope, will provide an opportunity for an assessment and evaluation of whether past development policies contributed to or did not contribute to the fuelling of the eleven (11) -rebel wars in our beloved Sierra Leone.As Minister of Development & Economic Planning, most of my statements will be centered on the various development programmes over the years, compared with the present peopled-centered and integrated-oriented participatory approaches to development programming. This, I hope, will provide an opportunity for an assessment and evaluation of whether past development policies contributed to or did not contribute to the fuelling of the eleven (11)  year rebel war in our beloved Sierra Leone.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

Sierra Leone achieved Independence in 1961 with great enthusiasm and optimism of a promising future. At Independence, it had all the potential of becoming a wealthy and developed state in the West African sub-region. It had abundant deposits of diamonds, gold, rutile, iron ore, bauxite, a vibrant agricultural sector that met national needs and generated foreign exchange earnings, rich marine resources and a prestigious centre of Western education and civilisation in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, the history of Sierra Leone at post-independence is replete with frustrating paradoxes. WHY?

In the first place, politics in Sierra Leone was built on divisive ethnic and regional foundations rather than ideological convictions that elicit a cohesive outward-looking national agenda and proficient governance.

Secondly, the dichotomization of Sierra Leone by British Colonial masters into Colony and Protectorate with people in the Protectorate grossly marginalized, planted a seed of discontent and subsequently polarized the Sierra Leone society. Sierra Leoneans thus entered independence without a definitive vision of where they wanted the country to go, but as a conglomeration of tribes and interest groups with divergent aspirations. This laid the foundation for the economic, social and political situation that has characterized a greater part of Sierra Leone's 42 years of independence.

On the political front, Sierra Leone has had a chequered history characterized by repeated violent change of governments. After the attainment of sovereignty in 1961, it enjoyed a brief period of multi-party democracy. This started to degenerate into bad governance culminating in a coup d'etat after the 1967 general elections. From then on, it has been a one party political dictatorship interspersed with military interregnum. The era of one party dictatorial rule was characterized by total neglect of social needs, economic mismanagement and bad governance. The impact of this bad governance engendered widespread dissatisfaction and frustration, especially among the youths and the disadvantaged segments of society. The resulting malaise is believed to partly explain the rebel uprising in 1991 and the initial popularity of the 1992 coup d'etat that ousted the one party government. These events over the years have severely undermined the progress of the nation, and to this day, it is still confronted with socio-economic and political problems.
      
CORRUPTION:

Corruption in my judgment is a moral and not a poverty issue. In means controlling pecuniary resources disproportionate to your official emoluments and past earnings from all sources that cannot be substantiated by documentary evidence or the testimony of others or both. There is no justification for relating corruption to lack of resources. In our country, both in the public and private sectors, corruption can be systemic or people-induced. The question that comes to mind is, can well meaning people be corrupted by a rotten system? or can a good system corrupt individuals.

Do you reduce or eliminate corruption by changing the system or changing the people who operate the system? Can an n individual change a system for which he or she played a part in creating?

During the era of the One Party system, the Government and the party were one and the same. Party policies and politics dominated every aspect of he national life of Sierra Leoneans. It did not matter whether these policies were in the national interest or not. Corruption was a religion, a way of life, a tradition and corrupt people were admired by the general populace. There was no feeling for the common man or woman. Resources distribution was based on "whom you knew, on connectocracy, nepotism" and in most cases on "tribal and regional sentiments". Public officials were bigger than the law of the land. The police and military forces were rotten to the core because regional, tribal and one party affiliations criterion guided enlistment, assignments and promotions. This explains why at the outset of the war, both the police and the army were not prepared to face the mercurial temperament of the RUF war machinery.
      
Leadership under the one party was not by example. It was not based on a `role model' concept. The concept of executive privilege, that is, there was an implied common saying, "Do what I tell you to do, but don't do what I do". Education was a privilege for the children of the favoured few. While the majority of deserving children and their families walloped in the cesspool of frustration for a wish for education for their children, the undeserving sons and daughters of the `Chosen few" were sent off to the western world.

MINING SECTOR:
      
In the mining sector, the then legal, regulatory, institutional and linkages structure were not effective and efficient in enabling mining activities to have any meaningful impact on the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Economists talk about the factors of production, namely, land, labour, capital and organization. The landowners own the mining lands, labour is provided by miners, capital by investors (majority of whom are foreigners) and organization by the Government. To me, these factors should be taken into account in determining the allocation of the proceeds of diamond sales on an equitable and fair basis.

Mining is a very strategic sector in the nation's economy because of its contribution to the gross domestic product, government revenue and foreign exchange earnings. In the prewar years, the mining sector contributed 24 percent to GDP, 15 percent of total government revenue and 80 percent of total value of exports. Investment in this sector had been dominated by foreign nationals and foreign-owned private companies. The insignificant involvement in the fortunes of the industry by Sierra Leoneans has necessitated the current government mining policy. This policy aims at, among others, promoting the participation of Sierra Leoneans in the mining sector through the restriction of artisanal mining to only indigenes, cooperatives and corporate bodies of Sierra Leonean origin while encouraging local and foreign private investors.

In brief, mining communities paid a dear price for being resource rich. Under the one party state, even appointment to top positions on mining companies was for die-hard party loyalists, non-indigenes outside the mining areas. These individuals cared less about the development of the mining communities. There was no transparent, open system of trade in diamond and gold, hence the return to miners was meager. Mined out areas were never rehabilitated depriving people in the mining communities of precious agricultural land. Miners did not have any bargaining position relative to investors backed by their political masters. Local authorities did not have a say in the allocation of their plots of land. Who dare speak? During the war, those who felt cheated in previous mining proceeds transactions saw an opportunity for revenge against their exploiters. Anger was also directed at the chiefs and landowners for allocating lands to certain individuals/groups who mining communities assumed did not care about the development needs of their communities, while deriving wealth therein.
      
Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ladies and Gentlemen
      
I would now turn to the development agenda over the years in comparison with the present state of our development priorities, strategies and objectives.

In the area of development management, Sierra Leone from post independence, especially in the 1970s, adopted a series of development plans ranging from short to medium term plans, aimed at achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. In the 1980s when the economy experienced severe downturn, these conventional plans were replaced by a plethora of reform measures, notably the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) aimed at macroeconomic stabilisation. While these initiatives achieved some gains they, however, lacked the multi-dimensional character and cohesiveness necessary for sustainable long-term growth and development.

Another major flaw of past development initiatives is that they provided little scope for citizen participation in planning and implementation of development programmes. Yet, there cannot be lasting socio-economic development without voluntary and active participation of the people themselves.

The over-centralisation of administrative powers at the Central Government level has its share of the causes of the conflict in the country. In the provinces, there was a second tier of local government (namely the District Councils), which supplemented the traditionally elected native authorities i.e. chiefdom councils. This system was dissolved in 1967/68. The dissolution affected the Western Area, the Sherbro Urban, Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Koidu/New Sembehun District Councils. In the past, the system had councillors elected on adult franchise. However, the Freetown City Council was later reinstated for a time but was again dissolved in 1972. Government nominated Committees of Management is now carrying out the functions of these Councils.

Therefore, it is very wise to delegate the spheres of economic and administrative activities to local government institutions and communitybased organizations. The transfer of such powers will entail among other things, the power to formulate and implement region- specific development plans taking into consideration broad national development objectives and guidelines; the effective coordination among agencies involved in sub-national development activities and the monitoring of development activities at the local level.

Many problems such as economic, social, political, structural, institutional and inappropriate policies have constrained the development of the country. Inadequate infrastructure, inconsistent economic management reflected in financial imbalances, weak management structures, poor governance, high external indebtedness and difficulty in debt servicing obligations made the development processes very difficult.

The country has also suffered from a serious shortage of high and middle level manpower (professional, managerial and technical), a fact that is strongly related to low remuneration, which has led to high levels of brain drain. This situation was however worsened by the war. In addition, high illiteracy rates, low skills development and lack of access to capital have helped to constrain productive activities.

As the youthful population grows faster, their needs for education, skills training and employment opportunities become insurmountable. The increasing numbers of unskilled school leavers, dropouts and illiterates for whom the job prospects must be created have escalated. Under the one party Government, policies were not formulated to address these concerns. Rather, a subtle method of enlisting these youths into Thuggery became the order of the day.

Consistent with the general trend in developing countries, Government after Independence set up many autonomous enterprises (some of them joint ventures). These were to undertake special assigned tasks in the public utilities and other economic sectors. While few enterprises were functioning with reasonable efficiency, the financial and operational performances of many others were unsatisfactory. The worsening financial situation of public enterprises has led to a decline in the quality of their services. This has also resulted in an increased burden on Government to provide direct subsidies because of the incurred losses in their revenue and dividend bases.

Consistent with the general trend in developing countries, Government after Independence set up many autonomous enterprises (some of them joint ventures). These were to undertake special assigned tasks in the public utilities and other economic sectors. While few enterprises were functioning with reasonable efficiency, the financial and operational performances of many others were unsatisfactory. The worsening financial situation of public enterprises has led to a decline in the quality of their services. This has also resulted in an increased burden on Government to provide direct subsidies because of the incurred losses in their revenue and dividend bases.

Over the last decade, mobilisation and integration of external resources for the developmental needs of the country have necessitated varied and dynamic efforts in the institutionalization of Aid and Aid Coordination Mechanism. Under the one party state, the international community lost confidence in the Government because of non-accountability and mismanagement of public resources.

For nearly three decades the country did not enjoy a truly democratic system of governance. This resulted in a decline in all aspects of state management, resulting in the weakening of all national institutions, poor management of resources and rampant corruption. The deteriorating situation in the country manifested itself in several ways including the inability to protect the economic interest of the country. There were also wide spread interference into the activities of the civil service.

2.0 THE PRESENT FOCUS OF ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES

RECONCILIATION
Reconciliation----4 Groups and Characteristics and way to deal with each:

1    Will Forgive and forget
2    Will Forgive BUT not Forget
3    Will Forget BUT not Forgive
4    Will not Forgive and will never Forget

The Ministry of Development and Economic Planning is a statutory organization established by the Government of Sierra Leone to improve, among other things, the well-being of all Sierra Leoneans by carrying out the following functions:

• Formulation of National Development Policies, objectives and strategies
• Coordination, collaboration and cooperation with Development partners - World Bank, EU, ADB, UN Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations
•    Coordination and mobilization of foreign and domestic resources
• Programming and Planning of Public Investment Programme (PIP)
• Provision of economic Intelligence and National Development feasibility studies
• Coordination of the preparation of the Poverty Alleviation Strategy Paper (PRSP).

Accordingly, the Mission statement of the Ministry is:
       To attain for all Sierra Leoneans a high level of social and economic well-being through a systematic and conscious Development and Planning Process, coordination of sectoral policies and programmes, effective resource mobilization and utilization for stimulating growth, social equity and give impetus to poverty reduction on a sustainable basis.
      
Therefore, the focus of the Ministry has always been to provide the framework for development planning and coordination of donor relations. The Ministry also facilitates the implementation of various sectoral plans and policies within the context of people centered prioritization.

It must however be noted here that, even before the war, the Government had already departed from a national five year planning framework and worked on the basis of a Public Investment Programme. This process gives recognition and acceptance of the common objectives and targets that are apparently of national character and set within the context of funding development projects within the framework of an annual rolling plan. The process ensures that development activities of all Government agencies are executed within the framework of the overall general development strategy.

The overriding focus has been to incorporate the stabilization policies aimed at establishing a low-inflation financial environment that set the stage for recovery of the private sector and contribute to a more viable external position. Structural policies have been directed at removing impediments to growth and improving the allocation of resources including human capital. The medium term development objectives of the Government has been to:

To create macro-economic stability, particularly in lowering inflation, raise real GDP, stabilise economic growth, cut overall budget deficit, raise private and Government savings and hence generate additional resources needed to raise private investment and reduce dependence on foreign resources.

Further to this, the aim has been to improve the physical infrastructure, engender economic recovery, bring social problems and poverty issues to the forefront of national policy agenda and to create a conducive, economic, institutional regulatory environment for private sector-led growth.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR AND OTHER FACTORS

The May 25, 1997 military coup and its consequent effects reversed the gains and severely set back the adjustment and development efforts. The coup resulted in internal and external displacement of professionals and other groups. There was also destruction of factories and business houses, basic social and economic infrastructure including schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. Food production was also severely disrupted which further worsened the food security situation in the country.

These setbacks threw the economy into deep recession with real output fallen by 22 per cent. Government finances deteriorated significantly against the background of loss of official imports, declining levels of industrial production and mounting pressures on recurrent expenditures. Total revenue collected for 1997 amounted to about Le45 billion of which only Le8 billion was collected during the period of the junta. Overall deficit on commitment basis rose to 7.2 percent of GDP in 1997. In the absence of foreign inflow of resources and lack of domestic market for the Government debt instruments, the junta financed these high expenditures through central bank advances.

This interruption however, provided an opportunity for the Government and people to set fresh goals and priorities for the Sierra Leonean society. These national priorities command a consensus through a country wide public discussions and debates on strategic issues relating to medium to long-term goals for the economic development of the country. In a sense, the National Long Term Perspective Study, which culminated in a National Vision, the ongoing preparation of the PRSP and the preparation and implementation of the National Recovery Strategy Document all satisfy perhaps the most important requirement of good planning and peoples' involvement.
      
Government now endeavours to ensure political stability, good governance, accountability and transparency. This will enable the country to fulfill its political, economic and social aspirations. The civil service is being strengthened to better manage social and economic development. An independent judicial system is also being established while support for the effective functioning of the police, military, parliament and the electoral process are being provided. Also consideration is given to strategic public administration that will be more accountable. Also efforts are being made to strengthen pluralistic forces including civil society organizations, women and labour groups and to increase the flow of information on development policies and programmes.

The major problem of Government since the latter part of the 1960s has been its inability to sustain a strong and effective administrative system in the public sector. A Public Sector Reform Programme aimed at improving civil service efficiency and strengthening its capacity to provide essential public services has been initiated. The importance of the administrative system in the Sierra Leone public sector arises from two considerations. First, it is the basic unit responsible for maintaining and evaluating the varied activities of Government and ensuring that they are in accordance with the political, social and economic objectives of the nation. Second, it serves as the primary executive agent for implementing specific programmes and projects within the plan. It follows therefore, that an efficient administrative system will lend its weight to the success and achievement of plan targets and priorities.

LESSONS LEARNT

The past development processes especially as we take stock of our immediate past has taught us many lessons which for brevity are outlined below. The list is not exhaustive and though stemming from the foregone discussion does not attempt to give a conclusive picture of the situation. Put together, the list is a guide to all of us in our endeavour to avoid past mistakes and make present efforts serve the needs of our people the better.

THE WAY FORWARD

The quick restoration of a sound macro economic framework and the pursuance of prudent fiscal and monetary policies have served as prerequisites for the country's economic recovery. The priority should be to reduce the level of bank financing of the deficit, maintain a stable exchange rate, reduce inflation and mobilize additional domestic resources for development.

• An important rationale for planning is that progress would be faster if the nation is motivated in its economic activity by a shared vision. Effective coordination of the development activities of the various organs of the Government is easier when they have the same goal and operate within a common framework.
• The recent experience of Sierra Leone has demonstrated the necessity for a sustained national will to a common aspiration as a basis of national survival. The restoration of democratic civilian rule rather than remove this necessity, indeed underlines its undiminished importance.
• The social-economic decline and inequalities of the past three decades exacerbated by the ravages of over a decade rebel war including nine months of oppressive Junta rule have provided an opportunity for the Government and people of Sierra Leone to set fresh goals and objectives for the future development of the country.
• The basic nation strategy should be to learn from the lessons of the past and to evolve for the country a just society where the Government is guided by the aspirations of the people. Without the spirit of patriotism, enterprise and self-reliance in the individual as well as national and local institutions, it will be difficult to evolve in Sierra Leone, a development oriented society, which is conscious of its responsibility.
• The Government has therefore, sought to lay the foundation for this type of society in the current drive to pursue participatory approaches to development planning and policy formulation. The Government could occupy the leading position in the quest for purposeful national development and provide the leadership and honest administration in matters designed primarily to protect and promote the public interest.
• The rebel war has demonstrated that the path to stability and progress is for the country to function as a united political entity. Security will lead to Peace, Peace to Stability, Stability to Development and Development to Prosperity. Peace, political and social stability must be geared to the objective of national unity and the evolution of a well-integrated national community. The pursuit of a strong and united nation as a fundamental social aim is the very antithesis of armed civil conflict.
• To sustain peace, political and social stability in the very short term, the strategy is to lay a firm basis for the restoration of relevant institutions in both the private and public sectors devastated by neglect and arm conflict.
• Measures should be taken to effect reconciliation and to immediately address the needs of war affected people and areas. All programmes of social action for the restoration of law and order, disarmament and demobilization of all ex-combatants, restructuring and training of new national army and police force must be guided by the over riding commitments of all citizens to the fundamental objectives of building a strong and united Sierra Leone.
• Successful development will require degree of participation of the population at large. An atmosphere should be created in which everybody will be induced to mobilize energies and resources fully for a higher standard of living and increased prosperity for the country.
• The ultimate goal of economic development is improvement in the welfare of the people. The focus of national policy objective will therefore be on the impact of national programmes and projects on poor and underprivileged sections of the population. The process of economic development and social change should create the enabling environment that will create equal access to all facilities and opportunities for the realisation of full potential and personal development of the country's citizen.
• The culture of self-reliance and national pride as worthy objectives for every Sierra Leonean should be encouraged. There is need to create expanding opportunities for employment, education, health and well-being and self-fulfillment.• The culture of self-reliance and national pride as worthy objectives for every Sierra Leonean should be encouraged. There is need to create expanding opportunities for employment, education, health and well-being and self-fulfillment.
• Women, youth and children have been more adversely affected by the war. Apart from the usual problems that have afflicted the population during the war, women have suffered additional gender-based violence including sexual assaults, stress and psychological strain of carrying unwanted pregnancies and widowhood. Special assistance programmes for women and children will go a long way in addressing these problems.
• As the economy emerges from war and is faced with a heavy burden of reconstruction, amidst severe resource constrains, the formulation of consistent policies becomes a necessary condition for economic growth.
• Government employee salaries have been low and urgent action is required to provide living wages/salaries for its workers. However, this may not be attained because of the low revenue base. Necessary supporting logistics as Government's vehicles, communication equipment, office furniture, vital information system etc have been destroyed and are being replaced at a slow pace.
• A viable democratically structured system of local government can serve as a powerful tool for grassroots planning and for meaningful popular participation in the development process.
• At the moment with little or no skills the urban informal sector make up an important source of employment especially for unemployed youths and women. This should be given the support to grow in a desired direction and within set standards.

The way forward for the development process in this country will involve enlisting the total commitment and participation of all sections of the society to ongoing and other development programmes of the nation.

Establishing partnership with donors and our development partners will provide a fertile ground for AID Management, Poverty Reduction and growth monitoring.

Over the coming years, efforts will be intensified to provide in-service training to staff in the Ministry to improve overall production capacity and capacity in planning and development management. A strategic plan, within the context of a vision for the country needs to be developed to keep track of progress and rise up to emerging challenges.

On another note, much pressure is been put on the Government of Sierra Leone and its development partners to ensure that capacity is put in place to run the business of government at all levels, in the aftermath of the war. This is most important given the fact that many professionals had left the country and those who stayed have had to work under circumstances that did not favour skills retention and improvement. To over come the situation, project units have been established by donor agencies, paying special dolarised salaries. In addition, many people have been recruited locally and internationally to fill line positions in key ministries, departments and agencies. As a short-term measure, this approach may work. In the medium to long term, it is not only unsustainable, it weakens the support services further and causes permanent loss of the best and brightest in the public sector.

Government has expressed a strong desire to decentralize in order to help redress any regional imbalance in government-led development efforts. Development activities will therefore have a strong regional focus and a large portion of decisions will be taken at that level. Hence, capacity (both human and material) should be built at that level to enable the decentralization of decision-making and empowering and encouraging community participation in the overall development process.

At the core of this is the need to improve the remuneration of public servants, train and build capacity in policy analysis, management and technical applications, provide logistics and institute work performance measures.

To ensure effective and efficient service delivery, the Ministry and other Agencies should not be left out of the global spread of the Information, Communication Technologies (ICTs). This will be most useful for purposes of planning, aid coordination and development management.

The ultimate goal is to rebuild the Public Service that will respond to the needs of the government and people of Sierra Leone. This will, however, depend on improving government revenues to sustain the system. As a way forward, proposals will be prepared and discussions facilitated with relevant institutions with the aim of instituting measures that will restore the glory of the public service.

CONCLUSION

The above overview has provided a situational analysis of Sierra Leone's past and present development, constraints and efforts at addressing the challenges facing the country. Some of the factors previously mentioned played a part directly or indirectly in influencing the theater of war over the last eleven (11) years. A number of bottlenecks have impinged on the country's prospects for sustained growth and development as depicted here.  Principal among these are bad governance, weak institutional policies and capacities, misguided programmes, corruption and mismanagement, political instability, insecurity, lack of patriotism, lack of commitment, and the vulnerability of the macro-economy to the imbalances and shocks of the external environment.  These issues, and many others, should be given the serious consideration they deserve in order to turn things around for the better and for good in Sierra Leone.

EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION

Let me conclude by expressing once more my profound gratitude and sincere thanks to all members of the TRC for affording me this opportunity to deliver this address.  I stand willing to dialogue with members of this commission to search for truth and lay a firm foundation for the healing of wounds of this nation.

May the Almighty Allah bless all of us.  I thank all of you for your kind attention.



SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE HON. MINISTER OF LANDS, COUNTRY PLANNING AND THE ENVIRONMENTON THE "CIVIL SERVICE" DURING THEMATIC HEARING OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILATION COMMISSION.

Mr. Chairman,

The Civil Service refers to the official arm of Government which on its foundation is normally non anonymous. It was an institution inherited from the British Colonial System and is supposed to serve as a bedrock on which the machinery of Government revolves.

With the declaration of the Crown Colony in 1808 over Freetown and its environs and the subsequent declaration of a Protectorate in 1896 over the hinterland, there was great need to have British Administration felt in the Colony and else where. The Civil Service machinery was organised and supervised by the Colonial Secretary (now Establishment Secretary) with the responsibility of formulating personnel policies and implementing them.

During this period Civil Servants were properly screened by Government before recruitment which was based on merit and not on sentiment. Authority then was legitimated only by competence. With the advent of independence and the subsequent Africanization of the Civil Service however, successive regimes began to make in -roads into the hither to well structured and disciplined Civil Service.

Tribalism and other forms of political interference became manifested in many ways. It reached its climax in the 1970s when political interference became so glaring that the efficiency of Civil Servants was eroded through partisanship and patronage.

This became a recipe for dissatisfaction and disaffection within the Civil Service.

In essence, the then Civil Service Code, which was the General Orders became almost meaningless. It was discovered that the General Orders and Financial Orders were tailored and retailored to suit the convenience of the master at the time.

To compound the situation some senior Civil Servants and Public officials were appointed to offices by sheer reason of their political patronage. The Army and Police Heads respectively were appointed Ministers of Government at one time, and when it became obvious that one had to be seen 'on the platform' for appointment or promotion to higher positions Corruption, Nepotism and Tribalism became the order of the day. This impacted negatively on the population as animosity spread through the ranks of the service and those sympathetic to them especially the young.

Many failed to understand why others thrived while their Kith and kin remained poor. The teaching profession was dragged into politics with the nomination to Parliament of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union scribe. Teachers could no longer express themselves openly. They resorted to "go slow" and classes were severely disrupted. Pupils were angered. So where the parents. But by far the most devastating impact on the service was the seemingly endless grip on power by one party and its refusal to yield to public demand for free and fair elections.

This rebel conflict which forms the focus of my examination of the Civil Service is partly a consequence of the systematic interference negatively or positively of all facets of the Sierra Leone Society. With the prevailing political view at the time of “cow eat usai den tai am" focus was on how much money one could make at a particular job and public interests were relegated to the very bottom of government activities. And Civil Servants became unsympathetic to the nation. This in brief is my own true analysis of the situation that might have caused the deep seated disaffection and consequent loss of faith and trust in state institutions and Civil Servants by the community especially the young. The causes for the civil conflict may not be limited to those reasons I have given above.

For instance, the whole question of social justice and how it is dispensed matters a great deal in the relationship between government and the governed.

In short, government and its various organs must be opened up and be made to respond appropriately to public demands. Civil Society should be involved at every State of Government Policy Directions. It is, in my opinion, the lack of this important touch that may have added fuel to injury. So what do we have? A grossly ill motivated and selfish service, with a core of unreliable service men and an angry public. Every body who had lived in Sierra Leone and had followed closely events in the country would have seen the writing on the wall.
The ten years old rebel war in Sierra Leone continues to manifest its rippling effect as every one both Military and Civil were effectively directly or indirectly involved. The mayhem caused by this war became unquantifiable, many civilians were killed, while others were either maimed or suffered other forms on injuries.

Given the present strides by government there is light at the end of the tunnel for the institution as the first Herculean stride has been taken to revising the General Orders into a Civil Service Code. But the achievement of bright future prospects would depend on amongst others, the abolition of all political interference which gives way to the evils of tribalism, marginalisation nepotism etc.. The Establishment Secretary and the Public Service Commission should not be compelled to place square pegs in round holes. In-service training courses should follow recruitment by merit and more effective and efficient reform adaptable to the Sierra Leone Environment should be introduced to foster effective and efficient Civil Service even better than what had existed in the colonial era to avert what happened during the past decade.

Land and  the manner in which it has been administrated by previous officials of the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment leaves much to be desired.  And yet Land is so crucially important to the Life and wellbeing of the average Sierra Leonean.  Landed property is the ultimate goal of every individual Sierra Leonean and many will kill or die if they are unfairly deprived of this precious commodity,  in Sierra Leone and particularly in Freetown. 

Land management and administrations was conducted in a most unsavoury manner where the rich are made richer and the poor poorer.  On a small scale, this may have contributed to the problem that led to the Civil War.

My Ministry is aware of this discrepancy and we are putting together policies aimed at stabilizing the situation while improving on the Ministry's image.  At the same time we are restructuring the Ministry to reflect the high expectations placed on us by the general public.



THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
THEMATIC EVENT – SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARINGS

PRESENTATION THEME: THE CIVIL SERVICE

PRESENTED BY: MR. EMMANUEL O. GRANT, MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER

INTRODUCTION

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Distinguished invited Guests, I will start my presentation by giving my view on what the Civil Service is. To start with the three arms of government, namely the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary work independently of each other. The Civil Service established by the British colonial masters, in 1808 serves as a chain between these various arms and implement government policies. The Civil Service is a machinery created by the British Colonial Masters to consolidate their rule in Africa. Laws and rules and regulations laid down by the service were meant to put the colonized into a subservient position so that less problems will be experienced. The structure and mandate of the Civil Service has remained virtually unchanged since Independence in spite of moves made recently to review the civil service code. I must say here however that the Civil Service inherited at Independence was among the best in the Sub-region. The system ensured that personnel in the Civil Service were above politics and served the government of the day.

(a) The role played by the Civil Service in the conflict and prospects for the future

The Civil Service played a vital role in the conflict in Sierra Leone. The role of the civil service in some instances exacerbated the conflict and in some helped in salvaging the situation.    It is alleged by some of the main players in the civil conflict in Sierra Leone that the action of some Civil Servants resulting in their unlawful arrest and subsequent detention or imprisonment which affected their entire life and forced them into hatred for the system and hence the desire for revenge. I cannot pass judgment on these allegations but if indeed this was the case then the action of the judiciary and police, both members of the Civil Service must be seen to be partly responsible for the cause of the conflict. Corporal Foday Sabana Sankoh took up arms according to him to correct the injustice, eradicate corruption and introduce good governance which he claimed was absent in the system. The Civil Service with a mandate to implement government policies was at the focus of all of these allegations. Though Foday Sankoh knew the role of the civil service as mere implementers of government policies, the civil servants were in many instances targeted by the various factions in the conflict. As the conflict dragged on, the civil service continued to function in both the Provinces and the Western Area. As the war dragged on however, civil service operations were halted in most parts of the country overrun by rebels.

However, the Civil Service with its mandate to implement government policies found it difficult to draw a line between when it was acting legally or otherwise during the conflict situation.  This could be said from the Junta Rule of Johnny Paul Koroma when he was sworn in as Head of State by the then Chief Justice. The action of the Civil Servant went a long way in attempting to legalize an otherwise illegal situation. Some Civil servants refused to serve the Junta while others cooperated with them on the grounds that Civil Service is non-partisan and should serve the Government of the day. Well either way, this was the argument and the Civil Service became divided on the issue. However, the refusal of some civil servants to serve the Junta rule went a long way in internationalizing the conflict and thereby gathering support for restoration of constitutionality. This was because their refusal indicated the unpopularity of the regime and pressure mounted to end it.

Furthermore, the implementation of policies of government rest with the Civil Service. Government policies should therefore conform to the psychology and customs of the country and should reflect socio-economic values and    ideology of the people. Policies of government which were implemented by the civil servants were in some cases not in the interest of some section of the population. In short people were dissatisfied and disgruntled and therefore supported the insurgency. Some civil servants for personal gains openly collaborated with the junta thereby helping to prolong its hold on power.

It is however worth noting that the actions of some Civil Servants was due to poor remuneration given to them by Government. If this issue is not urgently addressed, it will thwart the government's efforts to improve the quality of the Civil Service and its overall performance thereby slowing down government's service delivery system with its attendant consequences. There is an urgent need for a more ambitious and bolder policies toward improving the quality of the civil service. Lately, there has been a greater awareness among the generality of people as well as decision makers of the need for a more concrete and comprehensive policy in this area. However, this awareness does not appear to be matched by policies on the ground. The question of improving the quality of the Civil Service can only be ignored at great peril to the development of the nation.

In future, there should be a definite policy on what the position of the Civil service should be in a conflict situation to avoid it being compromised. If measures are not put in place to protect the Civil Service in the event of civil conflicts, civil servants will continue to bear the brunt of reprisal from successive governments as a consequence of the discharge of their duties. The civil service stands vulnerable in conflict situation with nobody ready to take position on issues.

B. SOME DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE NATURE OF THE CIVIL CONFLICT AND ITS IMPACT ON THE CIVIL SERVICE

It is widely believed that the Sierra Leone Civil conflict was sparked by many causes. Among these causes are economic, political, social and other factors etc. In fact many people regarded the Sierra Leone civil conflict as an "Economic war" waged on the people of Sierra Leone in order to exploit their natural resources particularly diamonds leaving the rest of the population in abject poverty. To justify this claim, during the period of the eleven years old civil conflict, the rebels managed to take control of the diamond rich areas of Tongo Field and Kono.    These places were actively mined by rebels and were under seige until the process of disarmament was completed in the year 2000.    It therefore goes without saying that an inestimable amount of diamonds worth millions of dollars was siphoned out of this country and sold out during the civil conflict. It is difficult to imagine how the rebels who claimed that they were fighting to improve the welfare of all Sierra Leoneans were instead seen to perpetuate crimes of violence, looting and burning peoples property making them poorer than they were before the war. During the war, thousands of civilians were killed, raped, maimed and displaced.

Another major factor which many believed caused this war is political. Under this factor, one is tempted to say that bad governance coupled with corruption in high places and a huge number of unemployed and marginalized youths faced with bleak personal prospects helped to a very large extent to fan the flames of the war. In terms of bad Governance, the Government in power did little to create appropriate institutions to train our youths, take them off the Streets and create employment for them. When the RUF entered this country in 1991 a lot of this marginalized youths were quick to take up arms to fight against their people.

People also believed that there was widespread corruption in the country. Sierra Leone is a small country with a population of 4.5 million (CSO 1985). It has plenty of natural resources ranging from diamond, gold, Bauxite, rutile, iron ore, chronmite etc. Because of the abundance of natural resources and a favourable climate for animal and crop production, many people say Sierra Leone does not deserve to be classified as the poorest country in the World according to the UNDP human development index considering its resource potential. People say corruption is high and that the people of this Country have not benefited anything from these resources. This many people believed has been responsible for the war.

The impact the civil conflict has had on the civil service is tremendous. When the war broke out, Government functionaries, institutions, offices, Schools, hospitals were targeted for destruction.  By the time the war spread all over the country most of these facilities were destroyed by the rebels.  Civil authority in the rest of the provinces was brought to a standstill.  Most of the paramount Chiefs in the 149 Chiefdoms of Sierra Leone were displaced; Government functionaries manning district offices abandoned their posts and fled to Freetown to save their lives.
      
By the year 2000 Government had completed the process of disarmament and made a pronouncement that the war was over. UNAMSIL was deployed to every corner of the Country and civil authority has now been restored.    District officers and their assistants have now been deployed to their districts to beef up Government administration. It therefore goes without saying that the conflict had a debilitating impact on the civil service as a whole. The civil service was operational only in the City of Freetown when the rebels overran Freetown on 6th January 1999 the whole civil service operations in the country was brought to a halt for two weeks. Almost all Government offices in the war affected areas were closed making civil servants manning this offices redundant until recently when the process of disarmament was completed.

(C) EXISTING SHORTCOMINGS IN THE SYSTEM INCLUDING LEGAL, POLITICAL AND OTHER ISSUES.

Over the years, the civil service in the country was eclipsed with a myriad of problems ranging from legal, political, economic and social. With the emergence of different regimes over the years, the Civil Service was completely diluted.    One of the shortcomings of the service was the legal aspect. The summary dismissal of some civil servants without seeking legal redress from the courts was a major problem. It was illegal according to the Civil Service General Orders for a civil servant to belong to a ruling or governing political party. There was no court injunction that debarred a civil servant from belonging to a party. During the one party era, Senior Civil Servants were members of the governing party and they gave their unflinching support (morally and financially) towards the enhancement and furtherance of the party ideology.

Another shortcomings of the system is political.    Some undue political pressures were being piled on civil servants to do things in favour of politicians.  Appointments promotions, transfers had strong political motivation. Appointments over the years were not based on merit but on one's political affiliation. This subsequently bred bad blood in the institution. Withholding of promotions and undue transfers engendered hostilities, which served as a fertile ground to nurse the civil conflict.

(D) THE PECULIARITIES OF THE SITUATION AND HOW THESE PLAYED OUT IN INTER-GROUP OR OTHER RELATIONS AND AFFILIATION.

Throughout the rebel incursion in Sierra Leone, some groups and institutions because of the nature of their work had to struggle to survive and keep their institutions in place.    It is therefore a matter of necessity that the Sierra Leone Civil Service even though it was greatly affected by the war it still stands today. It is an institution that was greatly affected by the war. However if a critical look is taken into the whole situation it could be seen that there were various peculiarities about it, which affected the Civil Service in their own way.

One peculiarity about the war was that it started in the provinces (far East) and towards the end, penetrated Freetown and its environs. Civil Servants throughout the country, had to continue with their work. This situation greatly affected the provincial administration which before the war was plagued with a lot of problems. Therefore with the emergence of the war in the provinces, the situation was universal. Government no longer had any form of control in the Provinces. This therefore brought about a break between the Central administration in Freetown and Provincial administration in the Provinces.

When war finally entered Freetown and the Military Junta of Johnny Paul Koroma took over those who could not run away had to stay behind and work with the Junta. Some Civil Servants thought that it is obligatory on them to work with the Government of the Day. In the process some Civil servants misused their positions and later suffered for it. Others worked albeit with a low profile. But the questions that one may ask under such circumstances, were these Civil Servants not victims of circumstances then?

THE CONSEQUENCES OF ALL FOREGOING AND WHETHER ANY EXISTING STRUCTURES OR PROCESSES PROVIDE ANY REMEDIES, AND THE LEVELS OF ACCESS THAT EXIST TO THE REMEDIES.

The present set up in the government machinery leaves the civil service vulnerable. There are no protective mechanisms to protect the civil servant in the discharge of duties during a conflict situation.    The Civil Service Union is still not functional and therefore lacks the ability to agitate for the rights of civil servants nor protect them when unduly victimised by government in the process of discharging their duties.

G. RECOMMENDATIONS, REFORMS AND PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS.
In closing I would like to propose the following recommendations, reforms and practical solutions:

  1. There should be a clear policy regarding functioning of the civil service in a civil conflict situation. So that the civil servant is guarded as to what should be done when such situations arise.
  2. Adequate security should be provided for civil servants
  3. Civil Service should be reorganized to conform to present day situations.
  4. Salary and conditions of service should be improved if maximum benefit should be derived from civil servants. I therefore recommend for a speedy implementation of the revised civil service code, which has a lot of hidden benefit for civil servants as a way of encouraging them to give their best.


SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT
THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FOOD SECURITY
THE CIVIL SERVICE
A PRESENTATION TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC) BY DR. SAMA S. MONDE, MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FOOD SECURITY

INTRODUCTION

Sierra Leone used to be called the "Athens of West Africa:" a designation which carried several exemplary qualities of knowledge and excellence. That enviable status had ripple effects on all sectors of society. Looking back at the colonial to post colonial days, Sierra Leoneans enjoyed about the best system of public administration in West Africa. The civil service was easily the best because they were born and bred in what we call in genetics, "the center of origin for Western education and in deed western values in Wes' Africa. Sierra Leone was one of the few African countries that experienced a truly open multi party democracy in representation; governance and accountability to a large extent. But our political evolution was thwarted suddenly by the military coup in 1967. The counter-coup in 1968 reinstated Dr. Siaka Stevens as the Prime Minister.

By my best memory I can testify that Sierra Leoneans enjoyed high levels of prosperity from 1968-1975. Infact Sierra Leone was self sufficient in rice up to `1975. Member-s of this audience can attest to these claims. Most of us who went to school and college then enjoyed free education and free medical services.    We had jobs'. so easily; electricity, transportation including the railway was abundant and efficiently operated. On the whole the economy was strong and    therefore the population was comfortable for the most part. The Civil service was part of that population. They played their role efficiently and effectively to ensure that the government machinery always survived and prevailed insofar as the welfare of their compatriots was concerned. Therefore Madam Senya Lahai could walk into any public office and secure pre.... attention and service without charges.

However, by late 1970s to 1980 "things fell apart"!
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
Things fell apart the center cannot hold were anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dined tide is loosed,
And everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction
While the worst are full of personate intensify.

-Y.B. Yates, The Second Coming.

For Sierra Leone things started to fall apart. During that period and beyond there was overall weakening of state institutions including the civil service. Corruption was institutionalized and the government of the day intensified the vices to good governance-embezzlement, smuggling of precious minerals and agricultural products and the blatant rigging of elections to retain power.

A good number of unqualified and untrained workers were brought into the service as a form of political patronage. This greatly eroded efficiency and discipline. The systems for reward and deterrence became nebulous and the working environment deteriorated considerably within the decade.

By mid 1980s the country was descending into insolvency.  Growing foreign debt, rampant inflation, currency devaluation, budget deficits, declining exports all nurtured in widespread corruption led to chronic fuel, power and food shortages. That experience had an untold effect on the civil service which indeed a major player in the debacle became a victim also. The delivery of basic services to the public by the civil service became difficult and increasingly impossible.

Apparently the civil service started to loose faith in the service and in the country as a whole. So the survival and preservation of the individual over and above the collapsing state fast became the norm. This culture has survived to this day, unfortunately.

By 1991 the APC regime was in serious trouble. Beset by a crumbling economy growing popular agitation and factional turmoil within the government, a multi-party election was scheduled for 1991. Before the election could be held the RUF attacked the country in 1991. Their expressed aim was to remove from power the APC government which had misruled the country for 24 years, to restore democracy and good governance and end corruption in the public service. In 11992 the NPRC took over power from the APC through a military coup. That government fought very very hard to end the war, but it failed. Before the advent of the NPRC the rebel war had spread to most parts of the country. It was clear that for the majority of young fighters Sierra Leone provided them little economic resources and little hope of a better tomorrow such that whatever destructions they wrecked or) the country they stood to loose nothing of substance a sombre lesson for all of us.

The present government which I am serving came to power in 1996 with the promise to end the war and restore Sierra Leone at least to its days of glory by making concrete improvements in the economy and in the quality of life for compatriots, establish democracy and good governance by world standards of accountability and transparency. The ultimate aim is to enable the Sierra Leone again, to accept and take ownership of the land of his/her birth, to have faith that this land can provide everything it takes to live a happy and prosperous life if we manage ourselves properly according to the rule of law, and the fear of God of course.

THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE IN THE CONFLICT
I must hasten to state here that all sectors of society played some role in the conflict. The country in over two decades of APC rule languished under one party government, a political party the APC. But while that was so, on a daily basis and to some extent, even up to this day, the country is governed by two governments running side by side and much so often in competition. There is the government in transit composed of politicians and the government made up of civil servants.

For an elaboration the government in-transit are the politicians who come and go within short periods of time. They formulate policies in their ministries on the advice of the civil servant, the Permanent Secretaries. Once these polices are adopted by government the civil servants implement them. But sometimes a good policy is destroyed in the Implementation stage either due to weak capacity, indifference or downright opposition. This cycle has continued to this day. But I also hasten to add that we are seeing some improvements in these matters.

The permanent government comprise the civil service. They have permanent appointment till the age of retirement. They advise ministers on policy matters, control the budget and finances and are responsible for the general administration of the ministries. This group therefore carries tremendous authority but as we have seen in practice, they are not directly responsible to the wider population who blame all the ills of society corruption, bad governance etc. on the politicians in office.

In hindsight one could surmise that if the members of the permanent government had decided to work properly and rescue the country from the clutches of the APC the country's resources could have been properly managed to cater for most Sierra Leoneans to the extent that any tendency in any malcontents to cause trouble would have been rippled in the bud and averted by the wider public.

But again in all fairness the civil service was hamstrung to do anything. A good number entered into service not so much by merit but by patronage. There is no system of evaluation of performance to date and job security as assured fill retirement. These conditions are fine and protective of the individual but they appear prescribe hard core lethargy and poor performance in service in most instances.

The overriding reality of that time in excuse for the civil service is that the government was so strong and desperate to perpetuate these vices that for any group to do otherwise was suicidal. So indeed the civil service had no choice but to join ranks with the government in transit to do the damage we are all suffering from today. But in all that chaos there were pockets of civil servants who stood taller than the crowd and did what was right in the interest of the country.

I believe that the prospects for better performance by the civil service in future are good because of the new civil service code which puts much emphasis in merit than length of service for career advancement and job security. With these developments the civil service will be more responsive to the needs of the people they are meant to serve.

The Nature of the Conflict and its Impact in the Civil Service
The conflict in my judgment was a violent reaction against the inequities of the state. A large proportion of the inhabitants lost the meaning of our statehood and their citizenship. It was a struggle between the haves and have nots.

The conflict destroyed all economic activities and social infrastructures like schools and hospitals. The agriculture sector - facilities, personnel and farmers were the hardest hit. Over 80% of all the infrastructures built by government and the foreign funded agricultural projects were destroyed vandalized or looted completely. The crises left the civil service in agriculture much more disenchanted knowing that they have to start all over again to rebuild their lives and rehabilitate or build the structures which served them well over the years. This is so also in the f ace of the low salaries paid to workers in service.

The Existing Short Comings in the System
I came into government proper in June last year. Before then I worked as a lecturer in genetics and plant breeding at Njala University College and then as a Research Officer and Director at the rice Research Station Rokupr until my appointment into this position.

These institutions are managed as parastatals - more or less like private companies where incentives are much better, where employment, job security and career advancement are based on merit-mainly performance and conduct, not necessarily length of service.

The civil service is different. It is dominated by generalists who do not quite accord much value to specialists. Scientists; engineers etc. do not quite get much opportunities and responsibilities. Due to the acute shortage of management skills in the systems personnel management is not so good.  Therefore productivity is low overall. There is also a rigid class system which does not permit easy mobility.

But in all fairness to the civil service, the salaries and working conditions are in themselves disincentives to progress. Civil servants find greet difficulty in putting in their level best because the returns to them are very low, they often complain. Also I note that the Civil Service is not specifically trained for their jobs. They do not have on-the job training either to prepare and equip them properly for the responsibilities they are expected to undertake in running the country.

Summary and Recommendations

1. The Civil Service is a very important player in the process of governing the country, in managing people and resources for the welfare of citizens and development of the nation.

2. With more permanent status and their authority over the country's finances and workforce they can easily determine the pace of any government and the quality of services compatriots get from time to time.

3. These points necessitate a civil service comprising of well selected, trained, motivated and dedicated corps.

4. This corps can help any government to adopt good governance practices - like democracy, human rights, transparency accountability etc.

5. Under such conditions the average Sierra Leonean will be served properly; he/she will appreciate the efforts of the government of the day. He/She will be provided basic social services and be afforded opportunities for economic growth and development. In such an atmosphere people will always be happy and they will have trust in the country. Conflicts will hardly find room to emerge in such circumstances.

6. The best way to manage our peace therefore is to work to better the lives of, not just ourselves, but the majority of Sierra Leoneans who rely on pour judgments, our decisions and actions on a day to day basis.

7. The civil service is  in a better position to help governments to accomplish this goal.

RECOMMENDATIONS
I am sure the new civil service code has addressed most of the concerns I raised above. These recommendations are therefore supportive and complementary to this code:

  1. The Civil Service should be established like a parastatal where employment is by merit and career advancement and job security are based on performance and conduct in most cases.
  2. The present Civil Service is too large and therefore impose heavy financial burden on the state to carry especially when performance is low. Therefore the number should be reduced by some informed formula,. Those remaining to serve the state should be properly trained and highly motivated.
  3. With such incentives the elements of deterrence should also be institutionalized.
  4. Training for the job and on the job should be a regular activity of government to sustain the high levels of performance and commitment.
  5. There must be greater vertical and horizontal mobility in the service.



PRESENTATION BY J.C. BOIMA
MINISTER OF WORKS, HOUSING & TECHNICAL MAINTENANCE
TRC

CIVIL SERVICE AND ITS ROLE IN OUR CONFLICT

1. The Civil Service is that staff that is responsible for the formulation of policies, carrying out the decisions of Government and administering public services to the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone. In its complexity it requires a balanced interplay of administrative, professionals and financial sectors, for service to be appropriately delivered. It is a fundamental instrument for governance.  An imbalance in this harmony would lead to disastrous outcomes.

2. The Civil Service Code stipulates the functions of all levels, of civil servants. It regulates their activities, determines penalties for misconduct and seeks to preserve the integrity of that body!

3. By virtue of it being a body that serves government and knowing that governments change in democratic societies; Civil servants are presumed to be loyal to work only in line with guidelines of their Code & be neutral and objective in the dispense of their duties and above all maintain a culture of independence in line with the policies of the constituted Government of the day. Honesty is prime is performing those function.

4. Governed by the Code they are meant to be non partisan, able to work anywhere in a multi-ethnic, multi-sectoral society and to deliver without prejudice to the government of the day.

5. Governments before the conflict had lost all their values. The edifices of civil servants "lost their virtue" and manipulation of the system by dictatorial governments became the game of the day. Allegiance became the driving force and opportunities were never missed by civil servants to please politicians: to retain their posts or for self interest in amassing wealth as evident by the wealth accumulated by same.

6. Disregarding the rules that guided their activity they (civil servants) even overran the system and became by themselves emperors of their own kingdoms. This was most pronounced with the senior cadres of the civil service. A practice that is present even in present day Sierra Leone . Permanent Secretaries are cocooned.

7. Through this, the growing generation of youngsters, some though graduates never had the chance of entering the system. They were said to be radicals, non-conformers, unpatriotic. These characteristics were features of communists and the aversion against this communist system was very high in governments before the war.

8. Thwarting those potentials, the sense of being left on their own and the use of attributes, of degrading nature and utterances by senior or even heads of Government (like education is a privileged, a cow grazes where it is tied) against education all pushed these thoughtful youths into organising themselves to fight injustice. - Expression used by RUF.

9. The change to normalcy is very tiring; bad habits die hard. The system still has this old guard of sycophants who bow to politicians to win favour. The system must revisit the terms of reference for senior civil servants. To enhance output government should move in with their senior cadres and exit, with them. This will avert the notion of permanency and hinge retainership on performance. With the above output will definitely increase and delivery to the system will be improved.

10. The civil conflict emerged out of a complexity of administrative injustices, selfish ambitions, international intensions that give us food for thought as to how we stand in the present global village:
A village of competition, where ignorance condemns and power prevails. The wealthy nations dictate and woe betie you if you go against their dictates. And one must attach oneself to the political giants of this world - accept their views, be prone to their indoctrinations immaterial of the effects these would have on your social structure, the virtues a system stands for and above all even your developmental aspirations.

11. The injustices were related to the way the wealth of the country was distributed. The working people provided for a few rich ones. Diamonds were taken out by a few, SLPMB sales were enjoyed by a few. The government representatives with the mining companies reported only to senior government official. Equity became theoretical.

12. Licences for prospecting were issued instead of real mining ones. The good schools were meant for those who had money, anyone staying in the hinter land would seldom hear about opportunities for improvement of one's own life. A litany of disapprovals that crossed through all tribal barriers.

13. I was once invited to J.S. Momoh's house, (the Chief civil servant) arrived after they had had breakfast and was offered chicken breast as left over! A poor doctor earning less than Le.50,000.00 a month, had problems in feeding his family. What a shame. What did these people have then? I asked myself. (If the tax collectors should have groups of houses, own multiple taxes where as those who work to give the tax sweat for little). What a society then? These failures definitely predispose to de cent and the most important incriminators were the civil servants.

14. This war from the start was manipulated, tribally biased and aimed at a group. Whenever rebels attacked, headmen, chiefs etc are beheaded. Any brave and intelligent individual was not spared. Before places were attacked specific tribes were said to be targeted, these fled - saved themselves! - only indigenes remained and these were maimed or killed. Was this not tribal then! Civil Servants surely must have known this but never reacted.

15. Information reaching the civil servants was never relayed to the common man, people lived on rumours, there was no one to direct them since the heads of departments were the first to run away. At times we thought there was connivance between the rebels and the administrators. Reports reached us that there were sell outs by high placed civil servants(District Officers). Some died in the attempt to run away with information that ought to have been relayed to the people.

16. Society lost faith in the Civil servant one of the reasons why quite a few were targeted by both factions.

17. The Chief administrators were the ones who told us to stand against the rebels: use your slings, your spears and even your catapults to fight. We never know about AK47s, MGs, AAs. We were left at the mercy of the invaders and indeed massacres took place beyond our imagination. If they had left us to decide what to do the better probably it would have been for us.

18. This war was used too, to revenge. E.g. in the process of liberating Pujehun district in 1992, people at Chiefdom level (SOWA) stamped everybody behind the Bandajuma Bridge as rebels, which consequently led to the summary execution of 18 young men on one single day in Geoma Jorgoh. This issue was reported to the Provincial Secretary, but nothing came out of it. We were even prevented from burying them when we returned home! What a trauma, having been wronged with no one to console you! There remains are still together under a palm tree.

19. The role of international bodies, multilateral interests, is indicative by the role mercenaries played in our war. Ivory Coast hosted the rebels, influenced by whom we don't know. I can imagine the diamond magnates in Europe and America, joining hands with the Russian mafia to support the RUF in order to gain access to our diamonds. Using AID Organisations for their means should be seriously looked into. This led to ICRC loosing credence to our government in 1998.

20. In 1990 travelled with some security men from Zimmi who were on their way to report their findings to the Provincial office in Bo. Their revelations were glaring, indicative of imminent war. I was left astounded as to why the borders were not secured then. If they could tell me (a civilian), I believe their bosses were accordingly informed. And no action was taken.

21. It is my conviction that once they felt secured the civil servants never did enough to appropriately inform the government of the day about the happenings that were reported to them.

22. The present civil service is not devoted to delivery, is interested in improving on individual EGOS. Commitment to service is lacking. The go to work late, take too much time to draft letters, cabinet papers prepared by Ministers and presented at times takes weeks in the hands of civil servant before they are presented - what a delay? What a shame! Ministers are then held responsible for laxities (of the civil servants) in their ministry.

23. There are penalties for such but how do we punish them. The legalities are complex, interpenetration ostentatious and take so long that justice if it ever comes, comes delayed. The harm is done and at times forgotten. A review of the legal aspects of the civil service originating from the colonial days should be appraised and probably overhauled to fit into the 21st century.

24. There should be a change in the approach to political issues by civil servants (most of whom are not neutral). The need for decentralisation reduces the workload on those (civil servants) attached to the central government. There does not seem to be an understanding of policies of government by senior civil servants. Man power training should be seriously considered. There must be a consensus of understanding what the government of the day wants to achieve and what is expected of the implementors. Guiding principles about the relationship between output and overall achievement by government must be made clear to civil servants. Those who do not understand or who fail to react should be transferred to other sections where decision making would not be very crucial for policy implementation.

25. There is for example a tussle between two Ministries as to why only files are transferred leaving the people working with the files behind. This has gone even before the highest deciding body but to no avail. How can a group of civil servants hold the government to ransom preventing another group from performing because they issue building permits which are not accounted for to the revenue collecting body.

26. The Executive must take firm decisions and the legal ramifications of implementations pursued. Allowing people to override a common decision spoils the inter-relationship within the executive, debars development thus sending society against the government.

27. Another aspect of punishable offence without penile seauelae is the inefficiency of Senior Civil Servants. These may be refused by political Woe onto the Minister, who brought up the charges, if he is to meet that senior civil servant in another Ministry.

28. There should be a method of disciplining these people to avert repetition and vengeance. All the above implies the urgent need for a shake-up of the service, recruitment of a new breed of well paid and qualified (trained) senior cadre. This should be high on the agenda of the governance Reform Secretariat even if it costs government to finance such reform, the benefits would pay off any - financial looses.

29. Our social settings encourage Model worship. This is a pitfall for not only politicians but even for the higher cadres of civil service. The ingrained perception of vote controller as equivalent to amassing wealth drives people to offices in search of easy money. Hailed as a good person, civil servants would be inclined to steal and give out what they might have stolen from government coffers to their heads, relative etc.

30. Culturally, we would not like to fall once we have reached a peak, and salaries paid are small which means little or nothing is saved. The pension benefit and gratuities are infinitesimal.  This gives the civil servant an urge to go all out to acquire and sustain that standard even after retirement. And where else can they get/take - but from government.

31. Companies are formed at times by civil servants and registered which would not deliver goods for which money has been approved. The state is hit twice = looses money and becomes incapacitated because of inability to deliver. This blatant stealing is omnipresent in all Ministries.

32. There is need to sensitise the populace that high positions carry responsibilities - but mainly to employers and not to extended families: that offices should not be frequented for money - which civil servants/ministers don't have. One would conclude then that:
        a. To build up the capacity of civil servants. The civil service college should quickly be rehabilitated and training of all levels of civil servants restarted. This could be an institution for continued education.
        b. To access intakes in terms of capability. Being educated alone is not enough. Psychological tests might be helpful in choosing the best fit for the job. Moral precepts should be adopted and adhered to in practise.
        c. Review of the salaries should be expedited to accommodate inflation in the (wages) salaries of civil servants.  This might mean considerably increasing salaries.  But this would pay off since it effects efficiency, lower pilfering.
        d. There is an urgent need to send all those who have reached retirement age away to facilitate the breeding of more responsible straight forward and efficient civil servants.
        e. We as a government are creating a civil service reform secretariat to deal with all the above.



Ten Years of Rebel War:
Effects on the Sierra Leone Economy 

Submission to The Truth And Reconciliation Commission

By

J B Duada, Esq
Minister of Finance
July 31st, 2003

Ten Years of Rebel War:
Effects on the Sierra Leone Economy

1.0 Introduction

The ten years of rebel war, compounded by the military junta interregnum of May 1997 to February 1998 and the invasion of Freetown and its environs in January 1999, left this country's economic and social infrastructure in shambles. Every Sierra Leonean and the international community are witness to the fact that the coverage of the destruction includes rural settlements, educational structures and institutions, health facilities, urban dwellings and administrative infrastructure, mines, banks, industrial concerns, roads and bridges, but above all, the very human capital of this nation. The world is witness to the maiming, including amputation, and killing of innocent civilians during this ten-year period. Over 2500 villages and towns throughout the country, and over 6000 private homes in Freetown alone were destroyed. More than 2 million people were displaced from their homes during the war.

Large-scale destruction of economic and social infrastructure, including the destruction of the infrastructure for the production, distribution and marketing of agricultural commodities took place. Official receipts in all its forms from the mining sector, including personal incomes, Government revenue and foreign exchange earnings had come to a complete halt by 1996, and are only now resuming. Exports dwindled and the exchange rate depreciated.

The war, which started in 1991, only compounded the then existing problems of unemployment, low output and productivity. It plunged the population of Sierra Leone deeper and deeper into poverty. By the year 2000, the per capita income stood at only US$140, representing less than half its 1985 value. The dimensions of the war became particularly horrendous during the second five years of the war decade and especially after the events of May 1997. Throughout the decade of war, serious efforts at sound economic and financial management yielded commendable results as the economy stabilized from its turbulence of the 1980's. However, reversals of significant dimension took place time and again as hostilities escalated. Cases in point include the invasion and occupation of Kono in 1992; the siege of Sierra Rutile in 1995; the 1997-1998 military interregnum; and the invasion of Freetown and its environs in January 1999.

2.0  Background to the Conflict in the context of the Public Service

It will be difficult to apportion roles or responsibilities for the conflict to the civil service as a group. The problem was one of bad governance characterized by politics of exclusion, systematic emasculation of the traditional systems of administration, over-centralization and the politicization of the civil service and the army and police. From all of this evolved acute and widespread corruption and lack of transparency and accountability. The end result was that by the mid- to late-1980's, the government could not deliver even the basic services for which it should have been accountable to the electorate. It has often been said that it was this monopoly of power, politics of exclusion and lack of alternative choices that gave some people the opportunity to take up arms against the state. The environment was also fertile ground for the elicitation of support especially from disgruntled youths, most of whom did not see a glimmer of hope or have confidence in the future under the then existing status quo.

On the public financial management front, it can easily be said that it was that same monopoly of power and politicization of the public service that engendered the deterioration in fiscal management, including wasteful expenditure policies, fictitious contracts and corruption at all levels of Government. As a result, public service delivery broke down. Public expenditures burgeoned; budgetary revenues declined precipitously; and consequently, the fiscal deficit widened beyond sustainability with a resultant expansion of the public sector borrowing requirements, accompanied by a concomitant acceleration in interest payments on domestic and external debt. Ultimately, the government budgets capacity to pay for goods and services and pay efficiency wages declined sharply. Thus, as a result of sustained inflationary trends and crowding out of priority expenditures, real public sector wages and the quality of public services declined progressively down the decade of the 80's, resulting in a sharp deterioration of the civil service through attrition and loss of morale.

3.0    Economic Consequences of the Conflict

3.1    Real Sector Developments

Our per capita income was US$210 in 1991. Despite fluctuations during the first half of the 1990's GDP per capita managed to stay slightly above US$200 during the first five years of the decade. By the year 2000, however, our national income per capita had depreciated rapidly to under $140. The deterioration was particularly rapid during the period 1997-2000 when there were escalations of hostilities, including the AFRC junta siege of the country during 1997-98, the invasion of Freetown in 1999 as well as the events of May 2000.

Before the war, agriculture accounted for about 45 percent of GDP, employed about 60 percent of the labour force, and contributed 13 percent of Sierra Leone's foreign exchange earnings. However, the war disrupted this situation drastically, undermining the country's rice food security. Rice importation more than doubled from about US$20 million in 1990, just before the advent of the war, to US$50 million in 1996, and remained high until the end of the war. In fact, Sierra Leone's rice productivity dropped to as low as below 35 percent of the nation's requirements during the war years.

The mining sector, dominated by rutile and bauxite by the beginning of the war, contributed about 8 percent of GDP, 66 percent of Foreign Exchange earnings, 14 percent of wage employment and 8.5 percent of Government revenue at the beginning of the war in 1991. During the first half of the 1990's, before the siege on the rutile mines, rutile alone contributed over half of the country's foreign exchange earnings. Rutile exports deteriorated progressively from US$78 million in 1990 to US$55 million in 1994, and then, came down to an abrupt zero in 1995 with the siege on Sierra Rutile early that year. Rutile mining has since not resumed in this country.

The industrial base of Sierra Leone has been restricted to a few manufacturing industries, in addition to the mining industry. Manufacturing has been restricted to the beverages industry, cement production, the manufacture of a few tobacco products, etc. These contributed to both employment and government revenue. However, as the war escalated over the years, most of these industries closed down, and by 1999, almost all of them had ground to a halt, thus resulting in further unemployment and loss of incomes as well an increase in import requirements to complement lost domestic production.

3.2    Public Finance

As mentioned earlier, sound economic and financial management even during the war situation yielded considerable dividends. These were however, repeatedly reversed by interruptions as hostilities escalated over the years. Domestic revenue, which amounted to less than 10 percent of GDP just before the beginning of the war in 1990, had increased progressively to about 14 percent of GDP in 1993/94, its current level. On the other hand, Government expenditure was progressively reduced to match available resources. Consequently, the budget deficit was progressively reduced from about 12 percent of GDP in 1990 to about 6 percent in 1996. Unfortunately with the disruptions between 1997 and 1999, the situation considerably worsened. The domestic revenue base narrowed down while defense expenditures ate up most of the available resources at the expense of the delivery of such basic services as health, education, electricity, potable water, etc.

During the half decade before the beginning of the war, (1986-1990) defense expenditure as a percent of total recurrent expenditure averaged 4.1 percent. The proportion during the first five years of the war was 26 percent. The implication of this development was that substantial amounts of budgetary resources that could have been utilized for the delivery of basic services and the development of the country's economic and social infrastructure had to be diverted towards prosecuting the war.

3.3    Public Debt and Debt Service

Even at the beginning of the war in 1991, with our total external debt amounting to almost US$1.3 billion, the debt overhang was already posing a serious challenge to the nation. During the war, despite considerable efforts to reduce the debt burden through negotiations for debt forgiveness and rescheduling and debt buy backs, the debt service requirements continued to eat away into our meager resources. The problem was that our foreign exchange earnings had been eroded and our domestic revenue base undermined in the face of steadily rising debt service requirements.

As a result of the erosion of the domestic revenue base and the consequent widening of the fiscal deficit, Government's domestic borrowing requirements increased progressively, especially during the latter years of the war. This led to an increasing domestic debt burden side by side with the external debt burden. Government's borrowing from the local financial market implied an increasing need for servicing the debt through domestic interest payments. This further impacted on government's ability to deliver basic services.

3.4    Balance of Payments

Our official export earnings as a country deteriorated from US$145 million in 1990 to US$42 million in 1995, when rutile and bauxite production were brought to an abrupt halt by the rebel attack on Sierra Rutile. The downward trend continued and reached its lowest levels of US$17 million and US$16 million in 1997 and 1998 respectively, as a result of the AFRC junta interregnum. As a result, our balance of payments worsened considerably, with the balance of trade deteriorating sharply from a deficit of US$9.6 million in 1990 to a deficit of US$95 million in 1995. Meanwhile our dependence on food imports, including food aid increased sharply. Consumer items almost completely displaced investment goods from the import bill, with food imports taking up over 50 percent of the import bill, especially during the latter part of the war years.

3.5    Economic and Social Ramifications on the Population

The education sector suffered demolition, burning down and vandalization of the majority of schools throughout the country, especially in the provinces, displacing droves of school children and their teachers, resulting in overcrowding in the remaining educational facilities, which in turn seriously hindered the delivery of quality education even in safe areas of the country. The restoration of the educational system in Sierra Leone will involve not only the construction and rehabilitation of damaged institutions, but also the provision of the necessary teaching and learning resources - both human (teachers) and material, including classrooms. The task of giving this country's children access to basic education therefore, becomes ever more elephantine, the road to education for all, arduous.

In the health sector over 415 health units, including 150 primary health units and 15 government hospitals had been left in need of reconstruction and/or rehabilitation by the end of the war. Health equipments had been destroyed in some of the remaining health institutions, while medical supplies and laboratory services continued to deteriorate or dwindle. Rural water supply systems consisting of wells, hand pumps and other traditional supply sources, as well as such sanitation systems as latrines were damaged by physical destruction, long periods of abandonment or contamination with human remains.

Thousands of rural settlements were destroyed and their inhabitants, most of them farming families, displaced. These families lost both their homes and their sources of income, and the country's local food production capacity weakened to less than half the domestic consumption requirements. Livestock and fish production severely diminished, thus reducing animal protein supplies to levels far below minimum requirements. The farmers lost their seeds and tools and implements; infrastructure, including feeder roads, service centres, storage facilities and research and training institutions, was extensively destroyed; agricultural social institutions such as farmers' organizations and rural financing institutions disappeared from most communities. This catalogues huge resource requirements for reconstruction and resuscitation of the institutions and infrastructure to put the nation back on a firm footing towards food security.

4.0    Some Lessons Learnt

The most fundamental, though bitter, lesson we have learnt as a nation is that the key to our peace, stability and development as a country lies in good governance. There is an absolute need to rebuild a Sierra Leone in which people have equal opportunities and freedom of choice, in an environment in which service delivery is transparent, accountable and auditable. We need to build an environment in which healthy competition prevails, and aggrieved persons and institutions have avenues for swift redress.

5.0    Remedial Measures in the Area of Public Financial Management

The Ministry of Finance recognizes its role in the process of rebuilding the nation along the lines outlined above. In that regard various reform measures in the area of public financial management and accountability are already ongoing. Some of the areas of current emphasis include the strengthening of the accounting system, the audit service and anti-corruption. The budget process is also becoming more and more transparent and inclusive. Community leaders, including paramount chiefs, members of parliament, civil society movements, all now participate in the budget process. This gives the people opportunities to have a say in the budgetary provision for services of the priority. It also gives them the opportunity to monitor service delivery in their various constituencies and chiefdoms.

Another important institution that will be strengthened to enhance the quality of service delivery is Parliament, particularly its Finance and Public Accounts Committees, to strengthen their oversight capacity.

The Public Sector Reform Agenda also includes public sector pay reforms to enhance the quality of the public service; as well as fiscal decentralization within the broader context of decentralization and governance reforms, which is all about giving people choices and placing the management of their affairs into their own hands.

Finally, in the area of resource allocation, the emphasis will continue to be poverty reduction and the rebuilding of the nation's economic and social infrastructure to deliver quality social and economic services, including health and education.

6.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear from the present submission that the ten years of rebel war devastated a nation that was already in turmoil even before the war started, severely undermined the economic base of the country through wanton destruction of life and property and consequent income losses. The population was plunged deeper and deeper into poverty, with a resultant and progressive deterioration in the standard of living of the population. By the end of the war, after ten years of national agony, our very existence as a nation depended, to a large extent, on an external life-line in the form of grants, loans and commodity aid.

For over the ten years starting 1992, the nation and people of Sierra Leone have remained at the bottom of the global human development ladder, as measured by the UNDP Human Development Index, as a consequence of the war.

As a final note, the present submission will reiterate the point that the key to our recovery from the above situation onto the road to development lies in good governance, transparency and accountability.



GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE REF: MIA/TRC/02
DATE:    26th February 2003
FROM:    The Permanent Secretary - Ministry of Internal Affairs
TO:    The Inspector-General of Police
The Chairman
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Brookfields
Hotel
Freetown

REMINDER ON SUBMISSION TO THE COMMISSION

I am directed to refer to my memorandum of even reference and its attachment, dated 14th February 2003, copy attached for ease of reference, and to inform you that according to paragraph three (3) of the attachment, this Ministry is to nominate an official to speak at the Public Session of the Commission.

It should be noted that the Police is the major internal security apparatus in this country and deals with such issues as arrests, detentions, prosecution and trials, the control of violence, investigations and searches, all of which are pertinent to the Commission's mandate.

In view of the above, you have been nominated or your representative to perform that role at the Commission.

Your usual cooperation in this all important matter is solicited please.

SANAH J. MARA
AG. PERMANENT SECRETARY
48 Liverpool Street Freetown


MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS SUBMISSION TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

According to the Sierra Leone Gazette No. 47 of Tuesday, 30th July 2002, the mandate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is to develop policies and programmes for the maintenance of internal security and safety by undertaking activities under the following major headings:

  • The Police (Internal Security)
  • Immigration control at Sierra Leone's sea ports and airports National Registration Secretariat
  • Public Safety Matters
  • Fire and Civil Defence Services Extradition of criminals
  • Coroner's Office - Burials, cremations, and exhumations Firearms control
  • Dangerous drugs and drug prevention initiatives
  • National Drug Abuse Control and Co-ordinating Secretariat Collaboration with relevant Government Ministries and National and International Organisations/Institutions

However, the National Drug Abuse Control and Co-ordinating Secretariat has now become an independent Government Agency.

The mandate of the Ministry has always remained the same, only that it has undergone a lot of changes in terms of its nomenclature e.g. Ministry of Interior, with Departments linked to or delinked from it at different periods.

From the stated mandate above, the Ministry has decided to single out the Police and the Prisons Department in writing this submission because they are most relevant to the issues to be discussed.

THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE
The S.L.P. is a legitimate, established organization sanctioned by the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, Act No.6 Section 155 (1), which states that, there shall be a Police Force of Sierra Leone, the Head of which shall be the Inspector-General of Police. The SLP is vested with constitutional responsibility of:

  • To protect life and property.
  • To ensure the safety and security of the people.
  • To maintain public tranquillity.
  • To prevent and detect crime.
  • To protect and respect the human rights of everyone who comes into contact with the Police.

To that end, the SLP has always endeavoured to fulfill its obligation to the State and people within the ambit of the constitution and thus uphold the rule of law. The force is currently undergoing radical reforms aimed at enhancing performance standards to achieve its goal, `A FORCE FOR GOOD'. In this vein, Training Programmes locally as well as internationally has been organized to revamp professionalism in the SLP.

Assistance from the British Government and the International Community (UNCIVPOL) has been laudable with logistics expanded to enhance the force's operation. The Government Policing Charter, 1998 clearly states the roles of the police, the Government and most importantly the people. This was followed by the SLP mission statement known `AS A FORCE FOR GOOD' carving out the way forward. New policing strategy has been mapped out based on the concept of Local Needs Policing, bridging the gap between the police and the people. This restructuring drive introduced by the British born Inspector-General of Police has gone a long way to restore public confidence in the police.

Major reorganization of the force has taken place with new departments/units evolving, all geared to revamp professionalism and make the SLP accountable to the people.

Prior to the current restructuring of the SLP, the pre-conflict years of the SLP was viewed by most Sierra Leoneans as the `dark era' of the Police Force which did not only put in a very bad light but also contributed in one way or the other to the outbreak of the decade long civil war. These negative contributions could be classified as remote and immediate.

Under the remote contributions/causes include:

  1. The abuse of recruitment standards into the SLP by the dictatorial one-party Government in order to entrench themselves in power, and using these recruits as instrument in perpetrating state terror against dissenters/political opponents.
  2. Large scale corruption by Police Officers due to poor remuneration and conditions of service, led to the exploitation of the very people they were supposed to protect. This created rancour and disdain on the parts of the public against the SLP.
  3. Political interference by the then ruling clique adversely affected policies and created rancour between those officers with high politi8cal profiles, and those who had not. The latter, in frustration, made no meaningful effort in improving the Force.
  4. The heavy handedness and tyrannic attitudes of most Senior Officers towards their juniors also served as a remote cause to the outbreak of the conflict. This was I the form of bullying, unlawful seizure of junior personnel's rice rations, salaries, etc. Some dependants of these Junior Officers who later became dropouts also swelled the ranks of the rebellion.

This appalling situation was further compounded by the unprofessional behaviour of Police Officers in handling and investigating reports made by the public, extortion of monies from complainants, taking sides in disputes, violation of individuals' basic human rights (especially Suspects) like unlawful incarceration, brutal torture in order to get `confessions' from them, the brutal suppression of anti-government demonstrations, the lethargic attitude of Senior Officers in investigating complains made against certain officers, and above all the lack of democratic control and public accountability on the part of the SLP further widened the already existing gulf between the public and the police.

It is also worthy of note that the Sierra Leone Police was politicised. The Inspector-General of Police was appointed by the President to be a member of Parliament thereby denying the SLP its autonomy to handle issues objectively. Evidences were fabricated against people on treasonable offences eventually leading to their wanton execution. This created a serious rift between the police and the public.

The organization was therefore widely viewed as a citadel of corruption, instrument of tyranny and obstacle to the socio-political and economic progress of Sierra Leone. As a result, the advent of the rebel war saw the brutal and cold-blooded murder of hundreds of Police Officers and their families. This was systematically done by all the warring factions, and even by peacekeepers. (ECOMOG Forces). Available statistics indicate that between 1991 to 1999, a total of two hundred and ninety-three(293) personnel of different ranks were killed and total of thirty-seven (37) personnel were mission in action. These figures show the magnitude of human loss incurred by the SLP and the effects it has on the overall police operation.

With the cessation of hostilities and President Kabbah's declaration of the end of the decade - old civil conflict on the 18th January, 2001, there has been a gradual and systematic witness in return of police primacy to all parts of the country.

The SLP welcome the establishment of the TRC by Government of Sierra Leone in pursuant with Article XXVI of the Lome Agreement, 1999. The TRC mandate to address impunity, break the cycle of violence, provide a forum for both the victims and perpetrators of human rights violations to tell their stories and get a clear picture of the past in order to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation is seen by the SLP as not only being timely but a means to an end of the horrendous passage in the history of this country.

To this end, the SLP gives it fullest support in every form to ensure that the TRC succeed in its mandate by safeguarding the principles of humanity in all situations.

Furthermore, the SLP shall endeavour at all times to fulfil the duty imposed on them by laws by serving the community and protecting all persons against illegal acts, consistent with high degree of responsibilities required by their profession.

THE PRISONS DEPARTMENT

Prisons exist because society, expressing its will through the Courts, finds it expedient to have place in which it can from time to time segregate some of its members suspected or convicted of breaking the law.

In this regard Prisons, are institutions with clearly defined aims and tasks. In Sierra Leone there are statutory provisions, namely the Sierra Leone Prisons No.2 Rules of 1961 and the Sierra Leone Prisons Ordinance of 1961 respectively which spell out the aim and tasks of the Sierra Leone Prisons Service. Everything is done in Prison institutions are ought to be done in furtherance of these aims and objectives.

(1) The role of the Prison Service is first under the law, to held those committed to custody (whether or remand, committed for trial, convicted and awaiting sentences or lawfully detained by court order to executive action) and to provide condition for their detention which are currently accepted to society. Secondly, in dealing with convicted offenders, there is an obligation on the service to do all that may be possible within the occurrence of the sentence to encourage and assist them to be law-abiding on their discharge.
      
The stock of Prison accommodation was severely depleted during the war. The war led to the destruction of many Prison facilities in the country and the loss of the equipment on which the Prisons Service was dependent for its operations.    Some of the key facilities destroyed were the Magburaka Central Prison (Mafanta) in the north with a 400 inmates capacity, Kambia Prison (also in the north) and the New England Prison 340 inmate capacity, which is now been ceded to the special court. In addition, the war resulted in the killing of numerous prison staff members, the destruction of staff quarters in different parts of the country and the flight of many qualified officers.

Since our Department is the custodian of some of the perpetrator or victims of the war we welcome the idea for the commission to visit the Prison Institutions all over the country to take statements from prisoners and detainees in regard to their experiences and roles during the civil war in this country or the violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law which they witnessed or suffered.

In addition to statement taking we will also welcome the idea to effect a collaborative mechanism between our Department and the Police and the Judiciary. In that effort should be made to prevail upon the judiciary to seek ways and means of reducing the number of Remand and Trial Prisoners awaiting decision on their fate by trying their cases more speedily. More so adequate provision is to be made for the use of alternatives to imprisonment including Pre-trial, release on own recognition, conditional release, restitutions, community service, fines to be paid by instalments and the introduction of system of suspended sentences. These prescribed methods will help to reduce overcrowding in the Prison Institutions.

(1) To ensure that the management and organization of the establishment is such as to:
- Encourage and develop free and open communication between inmates and staff.
- Provide opportunities for staff to contribute to the assessment of inmates.
- Establish procedures for the maintenance of document and for the making of decisions which effect the inmates treatment and his progress towards release.
- To organise and maintain any specific treatment and training task approved by Headquarters and to promote good relationship with people in the neighbourhood, to maintain the trust which the public at large should feel in the public institution.

The Sierra Leone Prison Service welcome the establishment of the TRC by the government of Sierra Leone in pursuant with Article XXVI of the Lome Agreement, 1999, the TRC mandate to address impunity break the cycle of violence, provide a forum for both the victims and perpetrators of human rights violation to tell their stories and get a clear picture of the past in order to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation is appreciated by the Sierra Leone Prison Service.

(2) The aim of these responsible for custodial care are ensure that:

  • The treatment of the inmates is such that to promote and preserve their self-respect.
  • The harmful effects of removal from normal life are minimized.
  • The organization of the institution is such that inmates are encouraged to learn from staff and each other how to adjust in an acceptable way to the demise and pressure of society at large.
  • The organization of the institution is such that inmates are encouraged to learn from staff and each other how to adjust in an acceptable way to the demise and pressure of society at large.   
  • The inmates are prepared for and assistance on discharge

(3) In achieving these aims each institutions has the following tasks:

  • To hold each inmates in those conditions of security and supervision, which are appropriate to their location and legal status.
  • To ensure that all inmates are able to exercise their rights and enjoy the privileges appropriate to their location and legal status.
  • To ensure that all inmates are protected from their own hostility and that of others are protected from them.
  • To ensure that treatment of inmates makes the most effective use of accommodation provided and that the scales of food and clothing are used to the greatest advantages.
  • To ensure that there is available the means of relieving pain and suffering: a system of medical care for the diagnosis and treatment of both physical and mental disorders: and specialist knowledge and expertise as required either from within the service or be reference to the National Health Service facilities.
  • To provide for religious needs of inmates of all denomination.
  • To ensure that inmates are, so far as the provision work allows, suitable employed: and that the organization of work in the institutions fulfills the requirement set by Headquarters.
  • To provide support for welfare work in Prison and to ensure inmates have ready access to social work resources both during sentence and in respect of their needs after their discharge.
  • To provide, within the scale approved by Headquarters and as far as local resources allow, a system of education appropriate to the need o the individual inmates.
  • To provide as far as resources allow a full and varied programme of leisure activities.
  • To ensure through the organization or the institution and through staff training the staff understand the nature of the opportunities, demands and conflicts which my arise in institutions so that they are enable to use them positively in the treatment and control of inmates and at the same time to tolerate the hostility within the situation.
  • To conclude the Sierra Leone Prison Service is ready at all times to give its fullest support to the TRC in order to succeed.



SUBMISSION AND TESTIMONY AT THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THETRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BY MR. J. P. K. LAMIN, SECRETARY TO THE CABINET AND HEAD OF THE CIVIL SERVICE ON THURSDAY 24 JULY, 2003, AT THE Y.W.C.A. HALL, BROOKFIELDS, FREETOWN

Mr. Chairman, Esteemed Members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am extremely delighted for the opportunity you have given me to say a few words to this very important Commission on behalf of the Sierra Leone Civil Service.

Please allow me to first of all express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Government and the International Community as well as individuals who have contributed towards the setting-up of this Commission and making its work possible. Let me observe from the outset that the setting-up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which is intended to compile a historical record of the highlights of the  Ten Year Civil War (1991-2001) in our beloved country, which will also serve as a medium that will contribute towards the post-war healing process, is generally acknowledged by all as a step in the right direction.

THE CIVIL SERVICE
The Civil Service as you know -is an organized body of men and women with different educational and training background, various expertise and skills employed by a government to assist it in the governance and development of the country. The purpose of the Civil Service is to assist the Government in the formulation and implementation of -its policies, decisions, programmes and plans to the governance and development of the country and for the well being of the people in the  country.  The Civil Service thus has the  responsibility of managing and operating the machinery of Government -the Ministry, implementing Department and agencies (MDAs).
Civil Servants are required to discharge their duties reasonably and in compliance with the laws of Sierra Leone, as well as the codes of conduct, rules and regulations of the Service. They must deal with the affairs of the public sympathetically, efficiently and without bias; and in doing so should at all times act with integrity, honesty, impartiality and objectivity.

I joined the Civil Service as an Administrative Officer on the 7rh of December, 1971, and was appointed as Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service on the 23rd of March, 2000. My key functions include:

a.    Having charge of the Cabinet;
b.    Responsibility for arranging the business for, and keeping the Minutes of the Cabinet, and for conveying the decisions of the Cabinet to the appropriate persons or authority, in accordance with such instructions as may be given me by the President;
c.    Co-ordinating and supervising the work of all Administrative Heads of Ministries and Departments in the Civil Service;
d.    Keeping track of infer-departmental issues and advising when they require Cabinet collective consideration;
e.    Arranging Meetings, setting agenda, and circulating memoranda;
f.    Ensuring the safety of Cabinet archives and custody of constitutional documents;
g.    Vetting and shaping draft Cabinet Papers, conclusions and correspondence in the interest of good decision taking.

The Civil Service inherited from the colonial regime was relatively small. Its objectives were to maintain law, order and good governance.  The colonial masters were the principal officers of the Service until independence when Sierra Leoneans took control of the Service of the country.  It is said that the Civil Service before and at Independence was acclaimed as a beacon of excellence and a shining example of an institution that provided a dependable support to Government.  It provided technical assistance and support to some sister states within the West African sub region and instances abound in which Sierra Leoneans ascended to positions of prominence and authority in those States; that it was the finest Civil Service in Africa.

The Civil Service in post independence has changed both in structure, personnel number and functions.  Apart from managing the machinery of Government, it has increasingly become the vehicle of social and economic change and development.  The present personnel strength of the Sierra Leone Civil Service is 17,000 (seventeen thousand) workers.

SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
One of the critical elements impacting negatively on the performance of the Civil Service is the inadequate incentive system.  Low remuneration packages and unattractive conditions of service have caused the departure of Civil Servants for greener pastures both within and outside the country.  Indeed low Civil Service salaries is a critical element of the inadequate Civil Service incentive system that contributes inter alia towards low morale, disappearance of work ethics, brain drain, and the proliferation of corrupt tendencies in the Civil Service.  The salary issue is aggravated by the disparity in salaries between Civil Service levels and those in parastatals and the private sector.  The total average compensation paid by these organizations is comparatively higher.  Although Sierra Leone has a reservoir of qualified and experienced people in the diaspora and even in other sectors within the country, the poor remuneration and incentive system makes it difficult to attract highly qualified people particularly in certain professions into the Civil Service.  International finance institutions and donor agencies have had cause to recruit Sierra Leonean specialists as contracts officers and pay them competitive salaries to deliver certain services.  This has become a contentious issue particularly for contract officers occupying established line management positions within the service.

However, between 1993 and 1998 a lot of work was done on initiating a process of long term pay reform, conducting job evaluation exercises, developing a revised grading structure and procedures to implement the revised salary structure and to administer salaries. In 1998, the structure of the Service was reviewed; salary scales were rationalized and reduced to 14 levels for the entire Public Service including Teachers, the Police and the Military.

THE CIVIL SERVICE AND THE CIVIL WAR IN SIERRA LEONE
It is an undeniable fact that conflict in any country, whether political, social or economic has the tendency of impacting on institutions in the country.  The conflict in Sierra Leone has had negative impacts on the Civil Service.  The ten year rebel war directly affected virtually everybody in Sierra Leone.

During these ten dark years of our history, therefore, the mayhem and destruction unleashed on this country destroyed whole communities, left hundreds of our compatriots maimed, permanently disabled and traumatized.  Suffice to say that the material losses occassioned by the war has been so colossal that it cannot be quantified in monetary terms.

My personal experience during the infamous rebel invasion of Freetown on the 6th January 1999 with the attendant wanton vandalism and destruction if life and property, was that my official government quarter at No. 24 Hospital Road, Kissy Dockyard was set ablaze by the rebels; we barely managed to escape with our lives while the house with the property therein, including my degree and other certificates together with personal effects of myself and those of my family were all destroyed in the ensuing inferno.

There has been massive brain drain in the Civil Service, as many personnel who left the country have still not returned.   Offices and vehicles were vandalised and equipment looted.

The survival of the Civil Service  as an institution was largely as a result of patriotism, and resilience of its personnel.  Consistent with the role of the Civil Service as the group of men and women that assist  Government in  the formulation of its policies and the timely implementation of its decisions and programmes, during the war, Civil Servants despite severe deprivations and constraints helped to maintain the general administrative machinery of this nation and were thus able to salvage the institution from total collapse.  In the same vein, Civil Servants are currently playing a pivotal role in the post war resettlement and reconstruction of the nation. The rapid restoration of civil authority throughout the country after  the war is a clear testimony of this.

The conflict situation also created institutional constraints of the Civil Service.  There were and have still been inadequate budgetary allocations to Ministries and Government Departments occassioned by poor revenue generation, attributable to insecurity of revenue generating areas; there were inadequate logistics; all these have been debilitating for the Service.

Notwithstanding, the difficulties and problems the Civil Service helped to stabilize the conflict.  It co-operated with the peace mission for example and contributed tremendously in fostering peace and stability in the country.  The entire state machinery would have been vandalised and broken down had the Civil Servants not  played their role.

THE CIVIL SERVICE IN DEMOCRATIC SIERRA LEONE
With the re-birth of democracy in 1996, the Civil service is once again in the process of recuperation from the morass it degenerated into over the years.  As democracy takes firmer roots, the Civil Service is moving away from those vices that characterized it during a period of bad governance.  It is with renewed hope that the Sierra Leone Civil Service marches into the future.

CIVIL SERVICE REFORM PROGRAMME
The concerns of the new democratic Government of Sierra Leone is that there are continuing problems in the Civil Service, which have not kept with the requirements of democratization.  In addressing these challenges, Government in 1996 secured donor support from UNDP through which a three-man team of local consultants prepared a National strategy for Good Governance and Public Service Reform.  The reform measures were aimed at providing a clean, effective, properly rendered professional Civil Service, a cohesive and enabling policy and legal framework with qualified and trained personnel with strong and enlightened political leadership.

In October 1998, a pilot diagnostic study was completed in the Ministries of Education, Youth and Sports, Energy and Power, Works and Technical Maintenance, Internal Affairs, Local Government, Trade and Industry, Transport and Communications by a joint team of British and Sierra Leonean Management Specialists to determine the dimension of the problems faced by the Civil Service with a view to making preliminary recommendations for restructuring of the Miniseries concerned.  Specific reform initiatives implemented since then include:

  • The Office of the Establishment Secretary was identified as a target for reform and is in the process of conversion to a Personnel Management Office
  • Formulation of a new Personnel development and Training Policy for the Civil Service
  • Formulation of a new human resource development strategy covering performance, training, promotions and rewards
  • Resuscitation of the Civil Service Training College, which has been moribund for decades...
  • Establishment of a pay and grading unit of the Establishment Secretary's Office to review the pay and grading system in the service
  • Introduction of information technology – based Civil Service i.e. the whole personnel record system in the Civil Service is being overhauled and computerized.
  • Development of a new operational manual / revision of the General Orders and other rules  to facilitate effective financial, administrative and personnel management
  • Introduction of a new Personnel Appraisal System for the Civil Service to replace the outdated and stereotyped Annual Confidential Reports
  • Enactment of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust Act in 2001 to make provision for Civil Servants who have not attained 55 years to continue until the new statutory  retirement age of 60 years, and to cater for them after retirement
  • Restructuring and re-organisation which are still in progress of the Ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Education, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Health and Sanitation and Local Government and Community Development to make them more efficient and effective. The revamping of the Cabinet Secretariat to facilitate the improvement in the functioning of the office as well as the introduction of the Monitoring and Oversight Unit.
  • The establishment of the National Inland Revenue Authority by merging the Departments of Income Tax and Customs and Excise, for improved revenue generation.

VISION OF THE SIERRA LEONE CIVIL SERVICE
The Government of the day no doubt has ushered in a number of reform programmes with a view to building the capacity of the Civil Service so that it can cope with the complexities, trends and challenges of managing a large bureaucracy in contemporary times.  On my part and for many Civil Servants and citizens of Sierra Leone the Civil Service should have the following characteristics:

i. an effective, efficient and properly rendered professional Civil Service, with supportive and enabling policy and legal framework

ii. a Civil Service in which people have clear career paths, and promotions such that there is a distinct and separate foreign service where officials pursue their careers and rise up to the level of ambassadors

iii. a Civil Service with a well-defined and co-ordinated training policy.  There should be a training programme for the Civil Service, which should be designed around the county's developmental aspirations

iv. a Civil Service that is completely decentralized in its service delivery.  The traditional bureaucratic practices characterized by excessive and high level of central control and direction should be done away with

v. a Civil Service that is customer-driven and customer focused

vi. a Civil Service which recognizes achievement of its personnel. Incentive packages which ensure that skills and in particular, personal achievements are recognized and rewarded

vii. a Civil Service with Performance Management System (PMS).  This is perhaps the key reform that is expected to considerably change the way things have been done in Government.  The introduction of the PMS in the Civil Service is to ensure that Civil Servants deliver on set and agreed plans and budgets.

viii. Subjected to the evaluation process to determine the level of responsibility and related grading.

On this note, I thank you all.




REF. NO.    OP/PSF/    22nd July 2003
The Executive Secretary
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Block A Brookfields Hotel
Jomo Kenyatta Road New England FREETOWN.

Dear Sir,

INVITATION TO THEMATIC, EVENT - SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARINGS

I write with reference to your correspondence No. TRC/FBK/20 dated 29t" April, 2003 inviting me to make a presentation on the theme: "The Civil Service", on Thursday the 24th of July.

I am pleased to forward a copy of the Statement that I will be making for your attention.

Kindly accept my sincere regret for sending a copy of my Statement late.

Yours sincerely

SHEKA MANSARAY
SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT
      
STATEMENT TO THE TRC EVENT-SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARINGS ON THE THEME “THE CIVIL SERVICE

MR. CHAIRMAN

I am very pleased to be invited to make a presentation at the hearings of this very important Commission on the Theme "The Civil Service". In this presentation I have tried as much as possible to address directly the questions and issues that have been presented to me in the sequence in which they have been listed.

The Civil Service represents a key component of the governance structure of the State. Since, as it is now widely accepted, failure of governance contributed greatly to the breakdown of civil order and the unset of the conflict and its aftermath, the significance of the subject areas that I have been asked to address by the Commission is therefore not lost on me.

However, under the circumstances, I can hardly do more than share with you my reflections on the various subject areas in the hope that this will at least create the necessary interest for more indepth investigation or inquiry.
      
( a )    Your understanding of the role played by the Civil Service in the conflict and prospects for the future

Let me state that by the Civil Service I will refer mainly to the Administrative arm of the Public Service excluding such public sector agencies as the police and parastatals, but including the Public Service Commission, the Cabinet Secretariat and the Establishment Secretary's Office.

As I reflected on this sub-theme I have been increasingly confronted with the difficulty of isolating the precise role of the Civil Service (members of staff of Government Ministries and Departments) in the conflict from the roles played by other entities. The reasons for this are as follows:

Firstly, the forces that led to the war and shaped its dynamics over the years were numerous, complex and intricately connected.

Secondly, the Civil Service in Sierra Leone, and probably in many other countries as well, does not represent a single homogeneous group with a unified relationship to the State. Rather, in practical terms, it is a conglomeration of members of ethnic, political and/or regional groups whose loyalties and allegiances are sometimes divided along these lines or along lines of coalition of these groups. Although strenuous efforts were made to portray the way asnon-ethnic and non-religious, there have been at times some discernible ethnic or regional undercurrents. Therefore, Civil Service personnel, at one time or the other, either covertly or openly allied themselves to one or the other party to the conflict based on group allegiances or other personal interests. It can thus be said that different elements or groups of individuals in the Civil Service played different roles in the conflict either as collaborators with rebel elements or as loyalists to the elected Government.

For this reason, it may be misleading to categorically state that the Civil Service as an institution played one role or the other in the conflict.

Nevertheless, certain general orientations on the part of the majority of Civil Servants were also discernable. Among these was the significant civil disobedience that many Civil Servants adopted during the 1997 coup d'etat. In this respect, the Civil Service can be said to have given their allegiance to the legitimate Government and thus justify the claim that the institution played a constructive role in the conflict. It is also remarkable that the Civil Service was able to reconstitute itself quickly and has been functioning relatively effectively as an institution soon after the conflict.

However, at a more philosophical or abstract level, since the war is now widely believed to have broken out largely as a result of poor governance over the years, the Civil Service which is a key institution of Government, can also be assigned some responsibility for the war. The Civil Service together with other state institutions, failed to sustain good governance, including the failure to effect the efficient delivery of public services such as law and order, and the efficient management of the resources of the state. Its ability to fulfill its role became seriously impaired by the corrosive effects of political intrusion, nepotism, corruption, poor conditions of service and inertia. The ten-year long war caused the exodus of many of the key personnel of the Civil Service from the country and further compounded the problems afflicting the institution.

The prospects that the Civil Service can play a consistently constructive role in the future, regarding the promotion and maintenance of the peace, stability and prosperity of the nation will depend on a sustained national commitment to the reinculcation of the values of diligence, honesty and a commitment to the promotion of the common good.

On the basis of ongoing public sector reform programmes embarked upon by the Government, with the support of the donor community, there are reasonable prospects that the Civil Service will in future be able to meet this expectation and to make an important contribution to the development of the nation. However, considerable risks of failure to accomplish this goal exist and must be overcome.    These risks include the tendency of donor agencies which normally provide larger shares of the funding for public service reform and other programmes to impose their views on the design, implementation strategies and other aspects of these programmes. Their reluctance in some cases to collaborate or support the development of comprehensive or holistic public sector capacity building programmes must be addressed if meaningful progress is to be expected. The severe and widespread capacity weaknesses and poor moral of the Civil Service also presents considerable risks.

( b )    Some detailed discussion of the nature of the conflict and its impact on the Civil Service

From reports of statements already made to this Commission, much has been said about the origins of the war and the manner in which it was waged by those who either directly participated in it, or were more direct victims of the war. There is, therefore, very little of any significant value that I can say on the first part of this sub-theme. However, with regard to the impact of the conflict on the Civil Service, I can say that in addition to exacerbating the already perilous state of the institution prior to the onset of the war, the conflict may have also sharpened the ethnic, regional, and other differences between groups and thus further complicates efforts to develop a more cohesive and efficient Civil Service with a common and strong allegiance to the State.

(c)    Existing shortcomings in the system including legal, political and other issues

One of the major shortcomings in the system is the absence of a clear demarcation of the roles and powers of the four main bodies responsible for the management of the Civil Service. This has led to recurring conflicts among the Office of the Secretary to the President, the Office of the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Establishment Secretary's Office and the Public Service Commission, especially in the areas of promotion, postings and discipline.

Other shortcomings include cumbersome disciplinary procedures and the procedures for the processing and payment of terminal benefits. There have been several cases where it took years to process and pay terminal benefits. The issue of poor record keeping also needs to be highlighted. On average about fifty percent of the service records of public service personnel may be seriously defective.

( d )    Social, economic, cultural and other considerations which perpetuate and entrench existing structures and practices

Indeed several considerations or forces have contributed significantly to the perpetuation of inappropriate structures and practices in the Civil Service.  For example social, economic and cultural conditions such as extended family responsibilities, poor remuneration, widespread poverty and limited opportunities for individual advancement create pressures for the perpetuation of corruption. Moreover, those who insist on proper conduct at the work place and try to enforce discipline rigorously are invariably regarded as bad or wicked people and are usually despised not only by those directly affected by such measures but also their relatives, friends and acquaintances. This undermines efforts to eliminate or minimise undesirable practices in the Civil Service or entrench existing undesirable structures by making it difficult to effect change.
      
(e)       The consequences of all the foregoing and whether any existing structures of processes provide any remedies, and the levels of access that exist to the remedies
      
As far as the Civil Service is concerned, the direct consequences of the foregoing include the general under-performance of the institution and the negative impact on the ability of Government to deliver public services efficiently or solve pressing social and economic problems. At the individual level there is considerable frustration among progressive elements in the Civil Service as a result of the burden of operating in an environment heavily contaminated by the perpetuation of inappropriate structures and practices.

With regard to progressive elements in the Civil Service and the problems they face, the available remedies or options for the time being appear to be limited to circumspection and tact. A Civil Service Code, Regulations and Rules of the Civil Service have just been developed. These provide a clear definition of ethical standards and sets out general principles governing the operations of the Civil Service, based on modern personnel management concepts. There are therefore prospects that significant remedies will be available and accessible to all categories of Civil Servants in due course, as far as administrative procedures and processes are concerned.

( g )    Recommendations, reforms and practical Solutions

I will limit myself to only those proposals that I consider critical in ensuring that the Civil Service fulfills its role as both a source of innovation and effective implementor of Government programmes in a more demanding (post conflict) local environment, and in a world that is becoming more integrated, complex and highly competitive. In this regard I believe that we should first and foremost aspire to raise the standard of performance of our Civil Service to the levels of some of the best known Civil Service institutions in the world, of which Singapore and Malaysia are examples.

In the context of what I have stated above this requires a comprehensive reform of the Civil Service not only in terms of institutional and organizational changes but also in terms of structural changes within the Civil Service in particular, and the public service in general, including the judiciary.

Significantly, the Civil Service must be made to assume a leading role in directing and managing these reforms if they are to have the desired impact and sustainability. However, the current severe capacity weaknesses and poor morale at the leadership corps of the Civil Service, will require firstly that there must be conscious efforts to create a public service leadership that can lead the reform process and implement it efficiently and consistently.

In this regard, permit me, Mr. Chairman to refer this Commission to the broad policy statement on Civil Service Reform contained in the President's Address to Parliament on the 20th of June this year. Among other things His Excellency the President stated as follows:

"22. We must now build on this work in order to rapidly develop a cadre of top public servants who are exceptionally competent, highly motivated and appropriately remunerated. They should be well trained in the management skills that are commonly used by the public service in other parts of the world. At the apex of the public service we must groom a leadership group capable of helping this country take on the challenges of the 21st century, encouraged and empowered to exercise their professional competence, confident that their careers will not jeopardized by unwarranted political interference.

23. This goal cannot be achieved within the confines of the present civil service structure. The top echelon of civil service posts must be re-profiled to take account of the post war need for managerial competence and professional performance. We shall do so in a transparent manner. My Government therefore intends to embark on extensive consultations on how we can move quickly to introduce such reforms that will enable us to promote the ethos and practice of effective public service that is the foundation of a modern State."

This no doubt appears to be the best approach to take at this point in time in preparing our nation for the 21" Century.

In order to minimise conflicts and confusion in the Management of the Civil Service the roles and powers of the Secretary to the President, the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Establishment Secretary and The Public Service Commission should be further clearly defined, demarcated, and rationalized.

It will also be helpful if current and planned support for public sector capacity building by the various donor agencies can be widely discussed at critical stages, at higher levels in Government, including the Cabinet since such support often involves large amounts of money and can have perceptible impact if properly targeted, after wide and effective consultations rather than the limited and poorly structured consultations that have governed the process. It must be noted, however, that changes are underway.

Mr. Chairman,

Since I have also been invited to raise other issues of interest, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge the pioneering role of Ambassador Berhann Dinka, the first Special Representative of the UN Secretary General assigned to Sierra Leone in 1996 as a mediator in the peace process.  He laid the foundation for the UN's constructive contribution to the attainment of peace in Sierra Leone. Ambassador Dinka was ably assisted by Kathryn Jones who has been back to the UN Headquarters in New York.

I know many Sierra Leoneans are confused by roles played by Mr. Amara Essy, former Foreign Minister of the Cote d'Ivoire and his Government at the time, as well as that of US Ambassador Joseph Melrose. I can testify that the sincerity and sacrifice of these individuals, as well as the Cote d'Ivoire Government at the time were nothing less than impeccable. In this group of relatively unknown unsung heroes should also be added the names of Messrs Moses Anafu, then of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Paul Harvey of the British Foreign Office and Ms. Sylvia Fletcher then at USAID.

I felt compelled to make this acknowledgement to complement the rightful recognition that our nation has already given to well known heroes of the peace like Peter Penfold whose contribution can never be measured.

I thank you.

22nd July 2003




TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC)
FOR DEMOCRACY, GOOD GOVERNANCE AND PROBITY

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has ably demonstrated its efficiency in handling the colossal problems of corruption and governance in the on-going and about-to-be-concluded aimed at highlighting the ills of our society and their destructive consequences. Its efforts in this direction can make giant strides in the march to sustained democracy and good governance throughout this Republic. Indeed, the total acceptance and appreciation of the institution by the people is a clear indication of the faith citizens have in its programme.

It has enabled traumatised citizens to vent out some of the pains and grievances they had harbored in their hearts since the inception of the troubles, which were avalanched on them by the rebel war. This state of unconditional acceptance of an institution whose worth has accepted by all and sundry ought to be maintained to address the apparent shortcoming, of the institutions (Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman, etc, etc) that have  been put in place by the Government to address negative practices that affect state governance. While these institutions are absolutely necessary at this time of our development, it is also extremely expedient to have a special institution that will act as a clearing house to expedite transparency and justice. These factors are presently bugged down in soggy grounds of bureaucracy or red tapism. Justice is not served by the long duration it takes for the truth of any matter to come to light. The establishment can from an independent standpoint, take up any matter that may be held up for a long time, and expedite reaction to and redress of wrongs.

This institution. I humbly submit, has already been identified and established as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This commission, within the short space of time that it has been in operation, has covered an extensive area and dealt with droves of people of diverse emotional states and has successfully brought victims face-to-face with perpetrators in an atmosphere of brotherhood and forgiveness without incidents. That success underpins the confidence citizens have developed in its operations and the integrity of its officers. I believe this is an advantage the government can exploit most profitably in eliminating corruption and abuse of power by state functionaries.

T.R.C AS A GOVERNMENT ORGAN
Truth and Reconciliation are a necessity in a war-torn country such as Sierra Leone where corruption has been institutionalised and made the order of the day rather than the exception. Indeed. the inherent danger here is. unfortunately, non-corruption or honesty. The preponderance of corruption has eroded any semblance of integrity in this country. Only an institution that has a constitutional sanctity to investigate all forms of corruption and/or bad governance in the actions of state functionaries can arrest and ostracise corruption from this society. Bad governance is the result of corruption and is, at the same time, the highest form of corruption. An empowered Truth and Reconciliation Commission can adequately and appropriately address this malady and act as a panacea for all such social ills. Where corruption is exposed and dealt with, reconciliation follows immediately since the culprit will be reconciled with the reality by that exposure. This is a system that should go on all the time and at all levels throughout this Republic.

HOW DOES IT OPERATE?
The base of most instances corruption is the unnecessary bureaucracy inherent in the handling of information to and from offices and departments. This action is intended to cause frustration through which sealed envelopes can act as keys to open files. The TRC will be very handy to help any frustrated individual who may feel that he/she is being unduly harassed an unreasonable delay. This matter will be handled without delay by the TRC, which will quickly invite the head of the institution or the functionary (or both) to state cause why such a situation arose. Should the official be culpable the TRC must be empowered to take the following actions without recourse to any other authority.

a.    Correct the anomaly immediately
b    Suspend the guilty party and/or
c    Recommend immediate dismissal on misconduct

PERSONNEL
The Personnel must be of proven integrity such as those presently engaged in its programmes and must, as it is presently, be diluted with independent commissioners chosen, periodically, from the international community. They must have the required qualifications for such high office -and have security of tenure for the contractual term. They must be independent and adequately protected by the constitution. Their appointment must be ratified by Parliament.

MOTIVATION
To fight corruption, a very high level of motivation must be set so that officials engaged in the TRC program will be able to meet their domestic and social obligations. In this regard, remuneration and other benefits must be related to the magnitude of the work expected of officials and the high moral standard that goes with it.
And therefore, the TRC must be given the powers of a High Court. This will grant the guilty party the right to appeal.

DECENTRALIZATION
In the beginning; the TRC will operate from Freetown and must be well located in a secure environment for easy access to all. Eventually there will arise the need for decentralization. When this occurs, suitable recruitment of officers must be effected by the TRC as an institution without any external interference. In recruiting officers, the integrity of the present ensemble must be in focus to prevent mediocrity and sycophancy from creeping into its fold and thus reducing it to disrepute.

FINANCE
This project is capital-intensive and can hardly be managed by the Sierra Leone Government. Its nobility, however, will make it an attractive venture that will win international support and investment. It has the advantage of proving to the world that Sierra Leone is serious about democracy and human rights. Since the TRC will enhance human rights and democracy, it is my view that any move made in the direction of attaining this goal will be globally lauded and financial support for its realisation will flow in without much effort from the TRC.

SUBMISSION
I humbly submit my observations and recommendations stated herein above for the perusal and consideration of your noble institution in the final deliberations and compilation of your report for Government, please.

Yours Sincerely
.................................................
Retired Major Abu Noah
MANAGING DIRECTOR – MESA



THE SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES
AND
THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE FORCES
A Presentation at the hearings of the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone
By
Major (Rtd) Abu Noah
Managing Director
Mount Everest security Agency Limited
No. 8 Liverpool Street
Freetown – Sierra Leone

22nd July, 2003

THE SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES AND THE POLICE
Honourable Commissioners, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, my subject today is "The Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Police," embracing their involvement in the conflict and the consequences of that involvement, with a view to finding remedies, where necessary, for their acts of omission and or commission, institutionally and collectively, prior to and during the crisis.

I would like to address this topic from the background knowledge that all the nations of the world made mistakes at one time or the other in the past. No nation is free of that charge and I strongly believe that a developing nation, in contemporary times will, as a matter of must, get a dose of it. These mistakes have led to many socio-cultural disasters all over the world. I will advocate that sleeping dogs be let alone. My reason will unfold as I advance my argument. But foremost in my catalogue of events is the fact that things are changing fast these days: changes in attitude, in relationships. indeed, general societal changes. These, I humbly submit, constitute a positive and conciliatory trend for people who have been greatly traumatized by our senseless war. We are witnessing the break of a new dawn. It is my honest view that we should all endeavour to foster the acceleration of this trend in order to realize true patriotism.

What we have been through is nothing new in the growth of a nation. It is a necessary phase in man's development within the context of the changing schemes of nature. It is a righteous struggle to identify and define our identity as a people. It was an exercise, bloody and all consuming in its wake, which tended to make our country, if I may use the words of President Wilson of the United States "safe for democracy." I am very sure that there is no Sierra Leonean here this day who will be such an abominable liar as to state that our country is not in a more democratic state today than ever before. She has achieved this status through both the natural processes of evolution - slow but steady growth, and revolution - violent and fast change. The disadvantage of the latter is that in its wake it skips over many necessary details and that creates hiccups for its administration.

Almost all settlements of peoples or nations had that sad chapter in their history. Let us take a quick look at the history of some of those countries that experienced the crisis we are discussing today, to see how they got over it and reconciled with the new state that emerged after their warriors had settled their scores. Let us peep into the recesses of antiquity and trace the steps of this ugly visitation, which no nation has been able to evade.

Britain, between 1399 and 1485, went through a very devastating period of internecine war, which was named 'The War of the Roses'. If we were to examine the basis of that war today, we would be tempted to define it as the schizophrenic reaction to the infantile acts of bad and reckless administration and irresponsible corruption in high places. If that opinion had been expressed during the heyday of that war, a third faction would have developed without Ado. That war was ignited by cousins, friends, brothers, wives; yes! kith and kin. It went on for one hundred years before reason kindly intervened and abated the fury. Are the causes (bad administration or mismanagement of the state and corruption) of - developing nations today, any better? I wonder! Human nature will rare its head no matter what we do

The next will be a look at the American scene and I will take the war of cessation or the tragic conflict. Thomas Pressely, in his book Americans Interpret their Civil War, states: "Historical events have not had fixed, unchanging meanings to onlookers over the centuries, but have but have frequently appeared in different lights to successive individuals and areas. Thus historical understanding has been relative, in the sense of the word rather than 'absolute' or completely objective to the particular individual in question."

Frank Freidel and Henry N. Drewry, 1970, said that the price of the changes in the state after the American war was high. "It was," they state, : terrible war of staggering cost in dead and wounded, economic waste human suffering. It was as though the old America had been melted down in a fiery crucible and recast. It led to years of bitterness, but in time, the bitterness would give way to nostalgia."

Now, relating that situation to ours here, can we claim that ours was more devastating, painful and wasting? No, the same experience in a different environment and setting - our share of nature's violent change of a system that had long outlived its validity. The pain is shared by all of us varying degrees of intensity.

We may bring in as many analogies as we can, the story will be the same - new wine in an old bottle. Nothing changes but change itself. Let us now take one or two more examples; I would like to look at the Nigerian war of cessation or, borrowing the term from Thomas Pressely, "The Tragic War"
 
On the 6th of July 1967, a war culminated out of a disagreement between two military officers, Gowon and Ojukwu. The war, which became known as the Nigerian war of cessation, or the tragic war, raged on for a very long time between the Federal Forces led by Gowon, and Biafra, the secessionist state led by Colonel Ojukwu. Many Nigerians died and many became homeless and destitute. Good judgment silenced the barrels of the generals' guns and there was peace. Some of those affected were not happy over the way it ended, but they sublimated their anger and grievances and translated their mental and physical resources into profitable exploits Nigeria changed for the better. No matter what some may say, Nigeria today is superior to the Nigeria of Abu Bakarr Tafaw ; Belewa, Nnamdi Azikiwi and Awolowo -no insult intended. The disintegrating causatives of the war were aptly described by Ojukwu in his statement that, "There is nothing more counter-productive in leadership than corruption." In that statement Ojukwu inherently insinuates the destructive structures of governmental mismanagement, corruption and graft. As I have just given two situations on the evil nature of this vermin (corruption), you can now easily affirm that all civil wars are provoked by nothing else but mismanagement and corruption due to greed; and it does appear that they are mutually supportive in order to achieve a cohesive front.

From Nigeria, I will now invite you to look at South Africa where Nelson Mandela, because he stood for the just cause of racial integration, was molested, humiliated and incarcerated Many people lost their lives; many women and girl children were raped, homes devastated and droves of people jailed just for the humane desire for social integration of the whites and blacks. Time, the great leveler, having been satiated with the smell of rivers of blood, established reason to reign and there was peace
 
Mandela called for truth and reconciliation. Well, it was necessary thought Mandela, to heal the gaping wounds of decades of oppression of the blacks by the whites. The causative agents remain the same and the effects all over the world are the same old story. In fact it is now a cliche to suffer in the course of a war. Every one suffered similarly equally and, in fact, some are still suffering. Are we all agreed to start crying now? The cumulative sea of our tears, added to the already existing sea, will, without doubt, induce another flood. Only this time, there will not be a boat like Noah's, to salvage anyone.

It could be noted that of all the examples cited above, only South Africa had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). That was because the struggle was between whites and blacks. A bridge had to be established between the two races, who are living within the same polity. What could have been more suitable to be used as basic material for that structure than the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? "But why?" one may be tempted to ask. To that question I will make bold to reply that it was necessary for the entire population of South Africa to know that the myth of racial segregation had been demystified. . That there was nothing wrong with the Blackman, contrary to what had hitherto been propagated by a blind and ignorant racial prejudice. I believe that the exercise will succeed. I say, "will succeed" because success in such a situation will be slow and of long duration. But the good thing is that they live together and gradually will become brothers and sisters.

One thing stands out in the foregoing demonstration and that is "La Pera Matura Cade Sola" (Italian for `The ripe fruit will fall by itself'). A perfect state of maturity is the necessary stage for change either by evolution - going through the natural theory of elimination by substitution until a perfect new state is realized, or by revolution - a violent and immediate change that fuses the factors of elimination and substitution into a unity to achieve the new state. The emergent state being violently induced is divested of the necessary enabling values that should form the hallmarks of the new. But, as we have seen, change is a phenomenon that is present in man's varied forms of existence, development and growth via the processes of elimination of the undesirable and substitution of ennobling values, and it goes on all the time without cessation

It is against this backdrop that I wish to look at the topic at hand: 'The Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Police' - the forces for both the civil and martial protection of the state. The involvement of these forces in the conflict of a nation is the necessary indication of the fact that the members of the forces are themselves part of the nation. They are of the people and therefore of the state. The government is also of, for and by them. They all have vested interests in the administration of the state and are also part of the administration, but subject to the supervision of the governors. They cannot do anything outside the declared or tacit collaboration of the governors and or the governed. Whatever action they take or fail to take is instigated and facilitated by the governors and the governed, or by some members of either party. Therefore, I humbly submit, we should examine the abuse of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Police by politicians and the consequences thereof.

Let us examine the root cause of the demise of values in the Royal Sierra Leone Army of 1967. The Army was an honourable, efficient and loyal institution which was generally respected by both the governors and the governed. What brought about the change for the worst? In this regard, please allow me to quote a very successful General in the Nigerian Army in the civil war era, and now President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo. He observed that, "A successful operation can only be built on good administration and discipline." From this observation can be gleaned the wisdom that order and hierarchy are the noblest traditional foundations of any Army; when that structure is destroyed, chaos is bound to follow. Unfortunately, that was the path the Army and the Police were forced to follow; hence, my postulation that the Army and the Police cannot justly be blamed, but the politicians who abused them that way. And please do not tell me about resignation as a way out, in a poverty-stricken country like ours!
 
AFRICANISATION IN THE ARMED FORCES AND THE POLICE
The programme of africanisation in Sierra Leone started way back in 1964. The reason for the premature escalation of the africanisation of the military command was political and therefore deficient in professional judgment. The recipient of such political largesse was not given the time to mature in any of the new commands he had been given. I say, "given" because he had not merited them outside the criterion of the unnecessary need for africanisation. It appeared then as if the programme were designed to put the most senior Sierra Leonean Officer in a position of trust as political insurance for the politician who introduced the scheme. In 1964, for example, the speech of the Governor General lauded the elevation of Lieutenant Colonel Lansana to the substantive rank of a Colonel and, in 1965, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. Those were the salad days of Sir Albert Margai's reign and he was popularly hailed    `Albert of Africa'!    The image of Sierra Leone in the international arena became brighter (E.D..A. Turay and A. Abraham, 1987). At home, Sir Albert was fondly christened Akpata' - Waterside Bed Rock or the Rock of Gibraltar, and was loved. As the time for elections drew nearer, the political atmosphere took on a new dimension. Tribalism was clothed in negativity and this led to the alienation of tribes: the south and east from the north and the west. It was a very disastrous divide, which systematic demise of values and finally culminated in the crisis the merits and demerits of which we are currently investigating. It was that unfortunate phenomenon (negative tribalism) that catapulted the Force Commander into politics and consequently, led to the erosion of his grip on the army, as the alienated segment in that same army fossilized into a counter-poise to safeguard stability and continuity of sanity in the force.

The seeming innocuous tribal and regional divide assumed a very catastrophic political dimension. The political parties eloquently exploited it to the extent that sycophancy became the order of the day. Professional promotions and other considerations that were hitherto meritorious were politicized. The primary criterion for promotion, merit, became redundant and ostracized The main criterion became 'The right tribe and the ability to pass on intelligence on fellow officers and men'. This system automatically made square pegs in round holes extremely prominent in telling abominable lies and calumnies about innocent, hardworking, more qualified, and competent colleagues. It completely negated and alienated such virtues as easy camaraderie, sharing, mutuality and permissiveness, which were the cohesive factors of the norms and traditions of the officer corps

The slogan became "Survival of the fittest", meaning `the most depraved liar was King'. Thus, depravity wedded the Army and as mediocrity assumed importance, the schism in the great tribal divide widened, and determined opposing actions and reactions soared. By 1967, the army stood apart in the divide, ready for a showdown. The showdown was not, from the collective view of the northern and the western area officers, political, but a determined stance to reinstate the military values that had eroded. That was, essentially, the acid that ate the spinal chord of the army and reduced it to the moral cripple that perpetrated the catastrophe that engendered the present investigation. The anti-climax of that phenomenon was the erroneous arrest of seven senior military officers, includmg this author, in 1967. That arrest signaled the start line of the decline and fall of the Army.

IN 1966, COL. AMBROSE GENDA WAS CASHIERED
The disintegrating forces enumerated above continued to spread their tentacles far and wide. By then, the Commander had become a veritable military dictator within the Army, without even a political leash. He gained that privilege through the realization that Sir Albert believed in and depended on him for his (Sir Albert's) security and political victory in the fast-approaching election. He was gradually indirectly groomed to become a temporary political figure that should, eventually (in the event of a seeming loss of power), restore power to Sir Albert. Thus, Brigadier Lansana became 'the Force' to reckon with. His first error was with Colonel Ambrose Genda. Genda was slow in speech and an easy-going Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Royal Sierra Leone Military Forces. He was interested in wildlife, and went out to find small forest animals like chameleons, lizards, monkeys, snakes, etc., etc. for -a children's television programme entitled 'Uncle Ambrose'. That programme made him very popular both in and out of the Army. He was a real socialite. His popularity did not go down well with Brigadier Lansana; the fact also that Genda hailed from Moyamba District gave Lansana the chill In January 1966, Brigadier Lansana left Sierra Leone to attend an O.A.U. Defence Commission Meeting in Accra, Ghana (A.D.A Turay and A Abraham). On his way out, Lansana appointed the British Paymaster, Major Frank West, to act as Force Commander. That action was a martial mortal sin because it violated the sacred tenets of order and hierarchy. Genda was not prepared to let it go unpunished    He made a lot of noise about it and indeed he never recognized Major West as Commander.
On Lansana's return the sycophants relayed to him all that transpired in his absence and he took offence at it and described the action as insubordination. Eventually, Genda was cashiered. That was not all, the information given to him (which included me, the author), charged that both Genda and I had affiliation with the All Peoples' Congress party. Therefore while Genda was kicked out unjustly, I was banished to Daru with a letter to the Foreign Commanding Officer that he should observe me, and if he found out that I was associating with politicians, he should arrest and send me down to Pademba Road Prison. That, however, did not materialize as the Commanding Officer, on the contrary, found me extremely loyal and dedicated to my job as Training Officer. It was he (when he discovered the truth) that told me what the Brigadier stated in a letter and showed me the letter. He however refused me the permission to have it copied. That was the first politico-military blunder and it shook the foundation of discipline in the Army.

After a little over six months in Daru, and as a result of the recommendation given to me by my Commanding Officer, I was recalled and posted to the now-defunct Military Academy as Adjutant.
The election by then had gathered momentum and electioneering campaign galloped at break-neck speed in the efforts to catch floating votes, and also in the attempt to attract supporters from both parties. The politically transformed Force Commander too was concretizing his loyal troops into a formidable war machine for the election. He had succeeded in perfecting the alienation of the western and northern segment of the Army: those who factored as individual parts of his assemblage became arrogant and reckless in their speeches and actions. Their position was rendered formidable and seemingly impregnable by the systematic disarmament of the alienated segment to reduce them into a castrated lot that could not stand in the way of Lansana's tribal war machine. A lot of threats were made against the disenfranchised lot. But that action was counter-productive, for, the troops whom they ignored were taking stock of the events and were, individually, preparing their minds for any contingency that might offer itself. The last straw that broke the camel's back landed when the Brigadier invited me to his flagstaff house in a bid to recruit me. I went and listened to him. But I soon discovered that the whole exercise was truly tribalised and regionalized. I became disillusioned, and when he left me to have a quick word with his group of officers, the majority of whom I had seen entering, I walked out of Lansana's house and never returned. The Brigadier executed his plan at 5:55 pm on the 21 St of March 1967 by a declaration of martial law and the detention of Siaka Stevens, Sir Albert and the Governor-General, His Excellency, Sir Lightfoot Boston. This exercise was short-lived as one of Lansana's proteges, LT. Col. Jumu, arrested him and set up the NRC government together with Majors Kai Samba and Augustine Charles Blake. That action of the Brigadier's was the cruelest blow to our constitution and the catalyst of the APC's dictatorship. If Sir Albert had accepted defeat at the polls and gone into the opposition, Siaka Stevens would have found it very difficult, if not impossible, to establish his dictatorship.

Here again, we see the extended effect of the appointment of Frank West as Force Commander over Col. Ambrose Genda and Genda's subsequent discharge from the Army. The cohesive structure of discipline, which was based on order and hierarchy, had been destroyed and things were falling apart. The anomaly perpetrated against Col. Genda by the appointment of Maj. Frank West was beginning to tell its own story, and it took a long time telling it.   

The soldiers in Power
Two days after Brigadier Lansana's coup, Jumu the Battalion Commander overthrew him and invited Blake and Kai Samba to join the coup. They formed a military government and named it the National Reformation Council (NRC) and invited Juxon-Smith, who was on a military course in England, to head it. Again, another bad example had been initiated and this was to be replayed to the depth of absurdity. Promotions were extravagantly dished out among themselves (NRC members), thus setting an unfortunate example, which was again copied and exercised by all and sundry within the rank and file of the Army. Subsequently, private soldiers rose to Captains and Lieutenants, flew over to Colonels and BrigadiersGeneral overnight.

The NRC lasted for almost thirteen months and established many institutions in the hope of salvaging the fast eroding values of both the Army and the State. I was a member of one such institution, the Beok-,iBetts Commission of Inquiry, whose terms of reference included the investigation of the administration of the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board (SLPMB) and of the purchase of a feed mill machine for Moyamba District. The machine was to be installed at Moyamba to service all animal farms in the entire country. Disgruntlement and machinations did not allow the NRC to go far. Political machinations spearheaded by downright calumnies and lies were peddled to the junior officers to the extent that the politicians succeeded in inciting the other ranks to rise and overthrow the NRC. It was mooted that Juxon-Smith was to have been removed by a palace coup; that was a manufactured story peddled as an apologia by someone who was trying to portray himself as a liberator. There was an attempted coup by Col. Ambrose Genda and other senior officers, but it was nipped in the bud and all the officers embarrassingly exposed. But to say that the NRC members were going to overthrow the chairman was a spineless fabrication that was intended to deceive.

On the 17th of April 1968, the NRC was overthrown by the other ranks and this action led to the arrest of all senior military and police officers including my humble self. In its place a military council was established and named the Anti-Corruption Revolutionary Movement (ACRM). The council immediately appointed both Brigadier Bangura and Col. Genda. Bangura assumed the leadership role while Genda took over command of the Army. It must be noted here that the NRC first initiated the Police and Army marriage in Government, when Mr. William Leigh, the Commissioner of Police, was appointed as Deputy to Juxon-Smith, and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Alpha Kamara, member. The new formation availed itself of the idea after its transformation and invited Mr. Malcolm Parker, Commissioner of Police, as Bangura's deputy. The marriage, however, was limited to the top brass and did not percolate to the rank and file. The ACRM was immediately transformed into a National Interim Council (NIC), which eventually returned the nation to civilian rule, and left the scene -a very commendable action, which did not earn the architects the accolade they deserved. Rather, they were all eventually detained in the maximum-security prison and some were later executed by the recipient of their favour -Siaka Stevens.

The return of Siaka Stevens and his rise to power ushered in the final assault on the values and traditions of order and hierarchy in the Army. His first gratitude to the Army was the inundation of the officer corps with an avalanche of 21 Warrant Officers, mostly illiterates, who were granted administrative commissions. Those officers could never have risen beyond their station, as the soldiers knew their limitations. They were regarded as embellished Warrant Officers with whom politicians socialized in the evenings.  But Shaki, who also knew their limitations wanted it that way, since it was easy for him to use them.

Siaka Stevens
Siaka Stevens was appointed Prime Minister on April 26, 1968. After tidying up his table, Stevens turned his attention to the military and police officers in detention. His first reaction was to bring charges against the NRC members. All of them were in jail with us except Col. Jumu who had deserted his battalion and fled to Ghana. Our colleagues were charged with High Treason and condemned to death. All these happened under the nose of Bangura, who handed over power to Siaka Stevens and could have prevailed on him to release every one of us. He did not do it. He forgot the principle of camaraderie of the officer corps. He himself paid the price for his grave mistake.

After a period of nine months, Siaka Stevens released some of us and still held some others. We came out and Bangura invited us to meet him at the Army Headquarters at Murray Town Barracks. On our arrival (my friend, Fara Jawara and I), Bangura informed us that we were to return to our quarters in the Barracks and I went to 'A' company and Fara to Headquarters Company. I approached Bangura on behalf of my colleagues in Pademba Road Prison and he promised to do something about them. He did something but did not get all of them out. When I cornered him, he explained to me that the Prime Minister was opposed to their release. I told him he- was the Force Commander and the officers and men, both in the condemned cell and ordinary detention, were his colleagues and brothers. He replied that he could not do anything about it because all of them in jail were guilty of the conspiracy that led to our detention and sent him out of the Army. I did not pursue it because I believed he had been struck by the blind prejudice of negative tribalism too.  We laboriously managed the Army when another coup struck

1971 coup d'etat
You might recall that I stated earlier that the Army and the Police were subjected to the supervision of the politicians. That was another flaw that contributed to their reckless abuse by a dictator. I am aware of the fact that the full independence of these institutions is a thing of mere conjecture. But if the constitution can be strengthened by moral support from the legislative body instead of being undermined by immoral sycophancy, it will help to curb the political excesses in the use of the Army and the Police.

Africanisation in the police walked a smoother path because William Leigh, who got to the top as Commissioner of Police, rose through a long but beneficial apprenticeship under the colonial administrators. Thus, his administration in the police was a continuation of the old. There was no noticeable change until the marriage between the police and politics.

The `bachelor's eve' of that marriage was the invitation of the Army and the Police to a political convention in Makeni. The marriage was finally consummated by the APC in the Republican Period (A.D.A. Turay and A. Abraham). It is thus clear that the complete demise of these institutions was caused by their marriage with politics and the only cure now is their depoliticisation and realistic professional re-orientation. They are, as a political necessity, to be divorced from politics in all its negative dimensions, so that they return to their constitutional functions. This will have the effect of banishing, for good, the negative practices of sycophancy clientellism and mediocrity, and returning honourable reward for good work to the noble status of merit.

Several events preceded the coup of 1971. These events were related to the abuse of both the Army and the Police by the politicians. Let me here cite two pertinent examples!

The first was in the creation of an Army/Police mechanism – AMIPOL in September 1969 to address violent crimes of armed robbery in Freetown; it indeed extended its frontier to the provinces. The idea could have been brilliant if it had not been tainted with prejudice in its functions, which included persecuting other political parties. Things came to a head in 1970, when the Prime Minister ordered Amipol to arrest and send to Pademba Road Prison, all UDP members including Dr. Sariff Easmon. The Unit's command base was elevated and the Brigadier became the ground Commander of the operation. The operation was billed to take place at night, on the evening of 8th October after the Prime Minister (Siaka Stevens) had announced the banning of the United Democratic Party (UDP), a newly formed political party. The police and Army Commanders assembled at the Myhaoung Officers' Mess at Wilberforce Barracks for the operation: and it kicked off without delay. We had not gone far when senior police officers started complaining about the illegality of the operation They called the attention of some senior officers to the constitutional flaws inherent in our collective action and its repercussion, which our colleagues, the members of the overthrown National Reformation Council, were paying for in the condemned cells. No one had the guts to take the matter up with the Commander, and apprehension was all around. My friend, Major Fara Jawara, was informed about the illegality of the operation and he immediately passed it on to me. I asked him if he was sure and when he told me that he was, I asked him to take me to his source. We went first to Major Ben Amadu Kargbo (deceased), who was later kicked out of the Army on the false charge that he and Major Yankay Sesay were in league with the American CIA to overthrow the APC Government. He took us to some police officers. The officers expressed their concern about the operation on constitutional grounds. I bought the idea and went to the Commander to find out whether the operation we were engaged in was constitutional. Bangura told me that he did not know and none of the other senior officers had any salvaging knowledge. I, there and then, told the Commander that I was calling the operation off and requested that we went to the Commissioner of Police in the morning to be advised on the matter. I asked him to get in touch with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jenkins Smith, to request a meeting of all senior officers of the Army and the Police. I dismissed everybody with the information that the operation had been suspended till further notice.

The following morning, at about 10:00 a.m., the Army segment of the unit, comprising all senior officers without exception, left Wilberforce Barracks for Police headquarters at George Street. We found all the senior police officers in the conference room awaiting our arrival. The Commissioner chaired the meeting and the force Commander tabled our concerns. All the senior police officers confirmed the statement of the Commissioner of Police that the operation was illegal. We proposed that we should go over to see our Commander-In-Chief, the Governor-General, Sir Banja Tejansie, at State House, to seek his advice on the issue. It was unanimously approved. We left Police Headquarters and went straight to see the Governor-General. After the matter had been put to him, His Excellency was quite surprised to learn that we had been ordered by the Prime Minister to arrest UDP members. He said the Prime Minister never told him about it. We requested that he invited the Prime Minister to advise him to drop the exercise. We did that because we did not want the Prime Minister to feel that we meant to subvert his orders. It was only meant to be for our future protection against prosecution. The Governor-General thanked us profusely and promised to invite the Prime Minister and his cabinet to a meeting in his office. He asked us all to be there. The Brigadier thanked him and we dispersed. The meeting was fixed for 12 noon.

At 12 noon, all the senior officers of both the Army and the police, together with the Prime Minister and his team, met in the office of the Governor-General. I was ten minutes late, fortunately. While the meeting was going on, some APC thugs who had been organized for the occasion, were moving up Independence Avenue towards State House, brandishing a variety of weapons which ranged from machetes, revolvers, shot-guns to sticks, chanting songs supportive of their leaders and condemning the army. I was luckily just arriving. I went over to the gate at State House, drew my revolver and held it above my head for them to see and then ordered them to stop their noisy song and disperse without delay. They obeyed and the area was once more quiet. As I turned to go into the hall of the meeting, both Hon. S.I. Koroma and Hon. C.A. Kamara-Taylor were coming out to meet their thugs. I stopped them and explained that the men had been dispersed by me. "Oh, thank you Abu, because those boys could have caused a lot of damage around here," said S.I. Koroma. "Sir, there was no way they could have attempted it as they would have met determined resistance from the Army. The destruction might have been against them," I replied.

They turned around and went together with me, sandwiched between the two of them. They asked me not to join the others already at the meeting as, they told me, they knew what they (the Police and Military officers) were up to. I replied that I could not tell them whether I would join or not  join  as I did not know what was going on inside I assured them that whether I joined or not, my action would be supportive of the Government. They thanked me and we entered the hall.

I saw all the officers seated in front of the Governor-General, while the politicians were to his left and Brigadier Bangura was on stage. I did not readily apprehend the import of the unfolding drama; but after I had saluted Sir Banja, the Governor-General, and taken a place by the door, as there was no vacant seat, I discovered that the Force Commander was laboriously trying to rationalise our joint action to a belligerent group of politicians and the Governor-General. We were not supposed to be actors but spectators. The situation had changed dramatically; the Commander was then the accused that was being prosecuted by both Siaka Stevens and Banja Tejansie with the corps of Army and Police officers acting as spectators. Even when Bangura was turning to them for support, no one had the guts to support the betrayed Commander. His colleague officers abandoned him. Very disgraceful indeed!

The traitorous behaviour of both the Army and the Police officers and the Governor-General dissipated all caution in me. I moved into the middle of the hall and asked the Commander to take his seat. I turned to face the Governor-General at close quarters and asked him whether it was not he who told us that the operation was illegal. He did not answer immediately; I suggested that he told the assembly whether it was not his idea that the Prime Minister and his cabinet should come to his office so that he could inform them that the operation was illegal. He finally admitted that it was indeed so. This got the Force Commander off the carpet, and the matter was resolved quite amicably. The operation was called off, fortunately.

The next incident was the 1971 coup, which necessistated a meeting among the military, the Prime Minister and his ministers.
Let me say a few words about the coup. This coup had been long in the making. The signs were blatantly obvious. A sizeable number of officers had been recruited and bribed. Bangura was my friend but he did not bring me into it, as he knew I would never approve of it and that I would oppose it most vehemently. I had seen the signs in the air but did not know where it was coming from. Major S.E. Momoh, who turned out to be the coordinator, came to my office one morning to inform me that the Brigadier wanted to see me. I asked him what was up, and he said he did not know. I there and then accused him of plotting a coup with the Brigadier and that they should leave me out of it. I warned him that if he ever attempted it again, I would land a solid blow on his face. I told him that I was going to meet the Brigadier to warn him too.

I went down to the headquarters at Murray Town and found the Brigadier in his office. I asked him whether he told Major S.E. Momoh that he would like to see me; he confirmed it. As he attempted to explain, I cut him off with a direct challenge that he was planning a coup d'etat with S.E. Momoh. He denied vigorously, but I insisted that he was, and that he was playing a dangerous game. I advised him to think of his two wives and children and save them the embarrassment of his action. I warned him that the coup plan was no longer a secret. He continued denying, but I told him that he could never say that I did not warn him. "The coup will fail, Brigadier!" I told him and left.

They continued with their plans until the night of the 23rd of March 1971, when they struck. I never knew that my friend Fara Jawara was involved. He had once met me at the now-defunct Coconut Jazz Club at Cline Town in the company of four people, three of whom were ex-military personnel who were wrongfully dismissed and as a result disgruntled. The following morning I went to his office; he was the Adjutant of the Battalion, and I found him behind his desk. I directly accused him of being involved in a coup plot. He denied and that infuriated me to the extent that I slapped him very hard across his face and he rushed at me from behind his table. I was ready for him. We engaged each other in a boxing bout. It was a real explosion of anger both ways. The affray attracted the attention of the Commanding Officer, Joseph Saidu Momoh, who was also our common friend. He came out and separated us. He then asked me why I had attacked Fara. I told him that he, Fara, was my friend, and that I had accused him of involving with a group of disgruntled ex-soldiers. Fara continued to deny this. His refusal to admit the fact and drop the idea was what angered me. Joe, as we called our Commander, advised him to drop out of any coup plot he might be involved in. "The voice of the people is the voice of God. Abu is trying to save you from trouble, and that is because you are his friend. Please listen and drop the idea," Joe said. I thanked him and left. What I had suspected in both instances (Bangura and Fara's involvement in a coup), materialized and my attempt to save them by asking for Amnesty landed me in jail for ten years and eight months, while they lost their lives. Also, the other four people I had accused of plotting to overthrow the government were arrested and detained at the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons. Fara was livid with them and was going to rope them in during the trial. I saved them by describing his intention as infantile and derogatory to his rank. I reminded him that I warned him but he refused to heed my warning.

The fatal coup was ignited at midnight by which time I was fast asleep. At about 1:00 a.m., the Battalion Commander, Joseph Saidu Momoh (later President), woke me up by the persistent ringing of my phone. I picked it up angrily (as I was not expecting such a late call), only to learn from him that there was a coup at the Battalion. "How did you know and who are the architects," I asked. He told me that someone telephoned him from the Battalion to warn him that Fara Jawara and Major S. E. Momoh had dispatched a team of officers and men, led by Captain Akibo Harding, to arrest him. I asked him why; he said he did not know. I advised him to deploy his guards all round his quarter and issue them with ammunition, giving them orders to shoot at anybody that crossed into his compound. I also advised him to take command of the deployment. I said I was going to the Battalion to find out. He did as I told him and, during my trial later, he testified to the veracity of the above in court, as my witness.

I left for the Battalion after passing on the information to both Majors Tarawalie and Sam-King, who were my neighbours at Spur Road. On my way to the Battalion, I took my batman, Osman (who is presently a Staff Sergeant in the Military Police) with me. I got him to move in front so that he could warn me of any movement from that end. We were going up Spur Road in the direction of the Battalion. As we approached the entrance to the Battalion Commander's residence, I heard vehicles, a car and a lorry (personnel carrier) stop just outside the entrance and saw soldiers descend. When they started moving towards the Commander's drive, I came out and challenged them in a strong voice. They took to their heels and ran helter-skelter in various directions, away from the axis of their advance, to safety. The vehicles sped off down Spur Road. I saw the leader, Captain Harding, running back towards the Battalion.

I gave chase and when I was about five yards to him, I ordered him to stop or receive bullets from me. He stopped suddenly and faced me. I asked him what was going on. He told me that Majors Jawara and S.E. Momoh had assigned him the arrest of Colonel Momoh. I asked him why was that; he said he did not know. I then asked him to load his gun. He was shocked and asked me why. I told him we would have to eliminate one opposing loyalty of the two we represented. Since he was with the coupists and I with the Battalion Commander, only one loyalty would walk out of our position. "That, I said, "will be achieved in one of two ways: either we resolve it by gun or you come over to my side." He opted for the latter. I then told him that we should go back to the Battalion. He did not believe that it was a wise move at that time as the soldiers were all drunk from the drinks they had stolen from the Officers' Mess. He advised that we waited till daybreak.

The coup was eventually reversed and we, a handful of officers including Major Tom Caulker, Captain Spencer, Major D.D.K. Vandi, decided to dissociate ourselves from the announcement and pledge our continued support for the government. Major Tarawallie later joined us as we drafted a speech to counter the broadcast by both Brigadier Bangura and Major Sam-King. Sam-King and Momoh drafted the speech of the Brigadier. The three of them went to do it, and the Brigadier and Sam-King made the announcement. Sam-King introduced Brigadier Bangura. I was very disappointed when I learnt that Sam-King was prosecuting Brigadier Bangura. That must have been the most painful blow to Bangura. He must have died during the trial and lived only in spirit. We had decided that Tom Caulker should go and make the announcement when SamKing came beaming with the smile of mission accomplished. When we informed him that we were not a party to their action, his countenance changed suddenly. He appeared very scared and begged us to allow him to go and make the statement. He looked so pathetic that we agreed to let him go, though I later learnt that he claimed the credit for the counter action. Immediately after the second announcement went out, the soldiers who had been fooled that the operation was to counter an attack by Guinea on Sierra Leone, became disillusioned and angry.

They knew all the officers who were involved in it. They arrested all senior officers and detained them in offices and at the Myhaung Officers' Mess, with the exception of Major Tom Caulker and me. We dispatched vehicles to collect all the soldiers they had deployed in various areas in pursuance of the coup. That exercise met with irritating obstacle from Guinean troops who had been imported by the Prime Minister, Siaka Stevens, to put down the already aborted coup, and this was not to our knowledge. The Guinean soldiers were taking pot shots at our troops and playing `Red Indian war game' with us. The situation was gradually developing heat and our soldiers were getting angry and ready to hit back. We decided to have a meeting with the Prime Minister and his cabinet at the town hall. The meeting took place at about 12 noon and all the parties were present. I was again late, fortunately.

When I arrived at the venue, I found, to my surprise, a Guinean Lieutenant at the foot of the steps leading to the hall. I was actually shocked to see him there. As I approached him, he asked me to surrender my gun. I considered his request an insult, and I told him so in very strong terms. I pushed past him and, when I had gained a stand, two steps above him, I turned around and told him that I was going in with my gun, to the meeting, and that he could only stop me by a shoot-out. He did not make any move; I continued to the hall. My shock was profound when t saw the entire room cordoned by armed Guinean troops while ail our troops were completely disarmed. Tom Caulker, whom I had nominated to be the spokesman, was painfully endeavouring to let the politicians realize that we were still loyal to the Government. But I was still angry within because of the conquering stance of the Guinean soldiers.

They stood as if they had salvaged the government from us and that they  were superior to us. I took one look at their faces and my anger exploded. got up and asked Tom Caulker to sit down. I told the Prime Minister in strong and unequivocal terms that if we saw the Guinean soldiers in the streets of Freetown again or should they fire a single shot in this country after that meeting, it would be regarded as a declaration of war. We would seek them wherever they were concealed and deal with them mercilessly. I invited the Prime Minister to take his team out of the room with his Ministers and give us five minutes; I told him that within that time we would disarm and tie all the Guinean soldiers in the room. Siaka Stevens believed me and accepted my terms; he asked all his ministers, who had Guinean soldiers as guards, to restrict them to their compounds and restrain them from shooting. My next request was general amnesty for all those who were involved in the coup attempt. My reason was that there had been a lot of bloodshed in the country and our colleagues (NRC members) were still incarcerated at the Pademba Road maximumsecurity prison. I told him that those actions (trials and executions) had not achieved the desired goals (peace and stability); rather, one failed attempted coup had led to another. I said that we were loyal to the government of the day and that we had derailed the coup. He said that was a question they would have to resolve in cabinet; therefore, I should give them time to go and meet on it. I disagreed on the grounds that they the cabinet) were all present, and could as well meet in the room. If they desired, I would take my team (military delegation) out to enable them take a decision there and then. He agreed and I took my team out.

After about ten minutes; we were invited in again. Siaka Stevens announced to us that they had accepted our proposal in principle. A general amnesty was granted to all without exception. It was also agreed the architects of the coup would be retired and given diplomatic appointments abroad. I thanked him and we left. But that was not to be, some of our senior colleagues, who had been arrested by the soldiers,but set free by us, as a result of our achievement at the meeting, joined forces with some politicians to betray us and the coupists for promotions and other considerations. That action eventually led to the execution of Brigadier Bangura, Majors Fara Jawara, S.E. Momoh and Lieutenant Kolugbonda, while the rest of us suffered varying terms of imprisonment, ranging from life imprisonment to seven years in prison. My share was a 15-year term, of which I served ten years and eight months completely, between March 1971 and October 1981 when I was released.

1981 - 2003 ERA OF THE CULMINATION OF THE CRISIS
Between 1981 and 1985, I was a passive observer of the chameleon-like metamorphosis of the political scene, which was dominated by the imposing stature of Siaka Stevens. The only factor that was not affected by that change was Siaka Stevens himself, who effected the changes at will. Siaka Stevens was the next leader after Sir Milton Margai (who ruled from 1960-1964) who actually put into practice a national programme to bring together all the tribes into government through proportional representation with the larger tribes, Mende and Temne, carving a larger share. The good thing was that every tribe, no matter how small, had a share in the government. Indeed, he identified himself with all tribes and attempted to fuse them into unity. He thus was able to hold his power machinery together. That, I believe, was the main factor of his stay in power for so long. On the negative aspect, he institutionalized corruption, clientelism and mediocrity. All he cared about was the maintenance of his power; whatever it took to keep him there. Arbitrary killings, both extrajudicial and quasi-judicial by Kangaroo courts, ensued. His ability to trample under his feet members of the honourable judiciary was fostered by greed for power and wealth in the latter.

Both the bar association and the bench of the judicial system betrayed the honour of their profession. It was under their noses that Siaka Stevens transformed the constitution into his scrap notebook into which he scribbled whatever he felt was necessary for his safety as president. The unfortunate thing was that whatever he had his sycophants to enter into that scrapbook became law. The then Parliamentarians were Siaka's domestic servants who did exactly what he wanted them to do.

A fitting example is the bill entitled `court martial' without appeal. This bill was piloted through Parliament and passed into law. The most disgraceful aspect of the law was that it was passed during the trial of Brigadier Bangura and others, and was made retrospective to get them executed. It was and has remained a law until this day. The nature of the bill violated the inalienable right to life as enshrined in the constitution. How could a parliament have passed such a bill? How could the judiciary have accepted it as law?

Can anything be more segregationist and unjust? Where is the prophet of human rights? What about the rights of citizens who have chosen to serve the country in the Army? Does that service take from them their full citizenship? That is what happens because if foreign criminals are entitled to appeal, why should a soldier serving his people be deprived of his constitutional right to appeal? A lot of us suffered from it.
How could the bar and the bench have participated in something that stank so foul of injustice? Was that not a travesty of justice? That travesty led to the blatant and brutal jeopardy of justice, which in turn led to the indiscriminate, irresponsible and cowardly murder of droves of our decent, intelligent and promising compatriots. I had no objection or ill feeling when there was fair play; but everything in me revolted against naked, shameless and unnecessary wrong. The abuse of power and its attendant evils destroyed our country morally, politically, economically and socially. We need to work extremely hard to redeem these social, political and economic virtues. Negative tribalism must, of necessity, be proscribed for good. Let merit be enthroned and justice be divested of its cumbersome trappings. In this regard, lawyers must be compelled, by a constitutional mechanism, to honour their obligations to their clients and see that they, the clients, get justice in the shortest possible time.

The shortcomings making their interplay in our political system are colossal. These shortcomings were responsible for the crisis that has brought us together here. The first and foremost was negative tribalism: this disease has the mortal poison of blinding the victim to reality and poisoning his mind with unjustified hatred for anything good outside his tribe; he desires nothing good for any one outside his tribe also. Negative tribalism is schizophrenic and injurious to national growth.

The Second was Justice. The statement that, `justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done' has, for long, been merely a cliche in Sierra Leone. It must become a reality. `Justice must be done and be seen to be done'.

The Bench: An ad infinitum adjournment of cases is morally wrong; equally, it is immoral to overload a judge with cases that he cannot conclude within a year. If judges are not enough, please recruit more; judges and decentralize the hearing system. Spread them all over the city, by zones, for expedition.

Remand prison: Accused persons are remanded almost interminably at Pademba Road Prisons for matters in which, in most cases, they are not  guilty. These wrongs need to be righted. Justice must be swift but fair if it is to be worth its salt.  Cases go on almost forever without conclusion – this is not justice.

Job opportunities were very limited and distributed selectively. One had to belong, even if not qualified, to get the job. Appointing a relation to office is not an evil if not recklessly done. Charity, it is said, begins at home. Education was restricted to the class of those that had the wherewithal and the status. The statements of both Presidents Siaka Stevens and Joseph Saidu Momoh concretized this. Their respective statements were that (a) "Den Say Bailor Barrie, you say Davidson Nicol" meaning that "people are talking about money you are talking about education!" and (b) "Education is a privilege and not an obligation." Those two statements from our Heads of State destroyed all the social and moral values of our country and they are responsible for the moral paucity of our functionaries in the Civil Service who became open and shameless robbers of the nation's wealth, which they irresponsibly and publicly displayed. Such ill-gotten riches were flashy cars and rows of huge buildings, which cost a million times more than official emoluments for fifty years. In addition, they used the stolen wealth to compete in business with struggling, honest and hardworking citizens, either as individuals or in partnership with foreigners. The worst effect of the destructive use of stolen money is the distortion of the truth by bribery.

The most destructive of all these ills was the introduction of thuggery in political campaigns. This phenomenon introduced violence as a way of achieving political goals. These thugs were ruthlessly used by the politicians and discarded after the achievement of their goals. These discarded thugs soon gravitated to criminal activities in their own right. Violence continued to multiply and diversify till it culminated in the grand alliance with the war machine, the Revolutionary United Front, which had the intention of fighting the APC dictatorship. That intention was bedeviled and rendered ugly by insane killings, amputations, rape and robbery of innocent citizens who had nothing to do with politics. Besides, it was a cowardly act for them to have attacked poor, unarmed civilians when their targets were in their barracks. If the rebels were that brave, why did they not go directly for the camps? The answer is simple: they were afraid of the soldiers. The lesson here is that thuggery is a curse, though, seemingly, a brief blessing.
  
The evil inherent in the use of thugs for political goals is far greater than its transient good. We must stop to criminalize our youths for political goals. It is a road that will bring no one any good in the long run.

Another area that one needs to look at is the abuse that the Army was subjected to by politicians. The Army was rendered so impotent by a system of subtle but deliberate disarmament through fear, by Siaka Stevens that when it was called upon to perform its constitutional role (to defend the sovereignty of the state), it was in no position to do so. Also, over-politicization of the Army had castrated the higher echelon, and entrenched those whose sole desire to get to the top led to their betrayal of their colleagues. They became Merchant-Generals and sought `Bailor Barrie' as advised by their Presidents. Thus, when war came, there was no officer corps to handle it.

There are many shortcomings that ought to be addressed, but time cannot permit me to do so now. But I must emphasize here that corruption and bad governance (or the absence of good governance) were the seedbed of all the evils of this country.

Finally the remedy to the myriad problems of the republic, I humbly submit, is the establishment of suitable and effective checks and balances at all levels. Institutions must be established to police government's budgetary expenditure at all levels. We now have a few that are in operation, but what institution checks their deeds? Above and beyond these questions, there is the primary question: "Are the functionaries morally qualified to be part of the institution? How can we have an immoral person policing morality?" Time is short. I will end my paper with that question, please.

THE ERRORS OR CATALYST OF OUR CRISIS

  1. The politicization of the Army - 1966
  2. The declaration of martial law to derail the people's democratic choice - 1967
  3. The shameful establishment of a military government, instead of respecting and upholding the election results - 1967
  4. Institutionalization of corruption or rather politicization of it.
  5. Negative tribalism and its politicization.
  6. Poverty
  7. Poor education
  8. Absence of job opportunities
  9. Utilization of the youths as thugs for electioneering purposes
  10. Negative regionalism
  11. Mediocrity
  12. Sycophanc
  13. Political marginalization of minority tribes

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Army must be completely de-politicised and allowed to function as required by the constitution.
  2. Education of the Army on their constitutional responsibility and its correct interpretation must be expedited.
  3. Institutions must be put in place to curb, if not eliminate, corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission is a brilliant idea but it should be aided by independent investigative machinery.
  4. Tribalism must be totally neutralized and banished to achieve national unity.
  5. Indigenous institutions must, as a matter of government policy, be empowered directly by the Government. They must be given priority over all foreign investors, especially in areas where Sierra Leoneans can ably perform.
  6. The current system of education is woefully poor. The education curriculum for all schools, from primary to university levels, must be orientated to address the social, economic and cultural needs of Sierra Leone. The reverse is the case at the moment and this is responsible for the socio-cultural and moral decadence in our school-going children.
  7. The empowerment of indigenous institutions will extend the frontier of job opportunities and take a major load off the government.
  8. The youths are presently idle in the urban centers without jobs, shelter and bearing. They must be sent back to their homes where they can be gainfully engaged in agriculture. In this regard, the government must make provision for agricultural implements to aid them.
  9. Regionalism is good only as a microcosm of holistic nationalism. Every Sierra Leonean should be free everywhere, and job opportunities must percolate to all.
  10. Mediocrity must be eliminated from this system. It must cease to be a political reward for sycophancy. This is the highest form of corruption and its perpetuation is fatal. This is a dangerous weed and must be eliminated from our governance.
  11. Political distribution of equal opportunities must be rational and national rather than tribal and regional.  Prejudicial actions in this regard will lead to disgruntlement and political friction.
  12. It is my sincere view that if the foregoing are implemented, the political atmosphere will be greatly enhanced and the resultant national cohesion will usher in realistic patriotism which is most conspicuous by its absence in our sovereign state.

I THANK YOU.



PRESENTATION BY THE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF, MAJOR GENERAL T.S. CAREW, ON THE THEME: “THE SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES AND POLICE” AT THE PUBLIC HEARING OF THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC) AT THE YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION HALL (YWCA) HALL, BROOKFIELDS, FREETOWN

Mr. Chairman
Members of the Commission
Invited Guests
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

INTRODUCTION
1. I wish to express-my profound appreciation and gratitude to you, Mr Chairman and members of your commission for the kind invitation extended to me to make, this presentation at this esteemed public hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

2. The topic, which you asked me to discuss, "The Sierra Leone Armed Forces and Police", is indeed very fundamental to the people of Sierra Leone. The topic itself is loaded, as both the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Sierra Leone Police Force constitute the main organs of the security apparatus of Sierra Leone and have a significant role to play in the maintenance and promotion of security, peace and stability as well as national development.

3. Though the theme of my presentation covers both the military and the police, as a military man, I would attempt to provide an overview of the main requirements of security forces in general, discuss the RSLAF in detail and leave enough time for discussion, contributions and questions by the audience. In making this presentation, I will use the usual military style:

AIM
4. The aim of this presentation is to discuss the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and the Sierra Leone Police with a view to examining their roles in the maintenance and promotion of peace, stability and development in Sierra Leone.

SCOPE
5. In discussing this topic, I will cover the following:

a.    Definition, composition and duties of security forces.
b.    RSLAF and SLP roles in peacetime.
c.    RSLAF and SLP roles in wartime.
d.    Conditions of jurisdiction of the security forces.
e.    History and constitutional role of the RSLAF.
f.    The decay and disintegration of the SLA.
g.    Training and recruitment in the RSLAF.
h.    Credibility and professionalism of the RSLAF.
i.    Restructuring and current trends.
j.    Forgiveness and reconciliation

DEFINITION, COMPOSITION AND DUTIES OF THE SECURITY FORCES
6. The Security Forces of Sierra Leone comprise of the constitutional body of disciplined and well-trained armed men and women ready to fight for and defend this country by way of enhancing the security of the citizenry against both external aggression and during internal disturbances or uprising. During our role to defend the country from external aggression, we the security forces follow certain rules of engagement in conjunction with the Geneva Convention and other Laws of Armed Conflict.

7. The Security Forces in Sierra Leone are composed mainly of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and its paramilitary wing, the Operational Support Division (OSD), formerly called the Special Security Division (SSD). The auxiliaries or reserve forces also form part of our security forces. They include the Special Constabularies of the Police and the former Civil Defence Forces (CDF), which were referred to as pro-Government militia. The major role of the RSLAF is to protect the nation against external, aggression and to defend and maintain our territorial integrity and national sovereignty. It is also charged with the responsibility of protecting our constitution. The major role of the civil police is to maintain internal security and protect the lives and property of the citizens so as to maintain good discipline, law and order. The role of auxiliary or ancillary forces in security apparatus is to complement or augment the efforts of the regular security forces both in peacetime and in wartime.

8. Both the military and civil police are interdependent and hence their duties are supplementary in the carrying out of collective and individual security functions. For example, during internal unrest or uprising, it is the primary duty of the civil police, who have primacy over Internal Security (IS) operations, to contain it and to restore law and order and so to protect life and property. But when the situation gets out of hand and the police can no longer cope with it, Government can order the military to step in to assist the police to restore calm. In this way, Joint Internal Security Operations, encompassing the police and military are conducted with a common mission. Similarly, the civil police (sometimes in conjunction with customs and immigration officers) can assist the regular armed forces in duties such as border patrols to abolish smuggling, illegal immigration, arms trafficking and cross-border subversive activities. In certain instances, the security forces can also assist in national development by taking part in infrastructure rehabilitation such as building, construction, repair and maintenance of bridges, roads and other public utilities. These activities fall under civic responsibilities of the security forces.

9. As I said earlier, the roles of auxiliary/ancillary/reserve forces in a state security structure are relevant in assisting regular security forces, where necessary. But in our own situation their duties must be clearly defined before committing them into operations. If not, in the execution of their complementary duties, these forces sometimes exceed their limits, thus, doing things otherwise, as our recent experiences have shown.

Hence, amongst the auxiliaries, we have the Special Constabularies of the SLP and the Pro-Government forces.

RSLAF AND POLICE ROLES IN PEACETIME
10. Generally, the RSLAF and SLP perform security duties with the common aim of defending the citizenry, upholding the rule of law, protecting the constitution and the maintenance of state security. Hence, it is vital that we improve and strengthen military/police relationship at all times, as both elements are interdependent. Then, it is but necessary that we create the conducive environment for good working relationship for both forces. This will enhance maximum co-operation and mutual understanding between us.

11. In peacetime, RSLAF mostly embark on training of its personnel at all levels to acquire the professional knowledge, skills and orientation our personnel require. In peacetime, the military also contribute to the development of the state by taking part in development projects such as agriculture, road construction, infrastructural development and cleaning exercises, etc. The Army Engineers, for one, have contributed immensely to the construction and repair of roads in the country. When the nation was preparing to host the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Conference in 1980, for example, our Army Engineers constructed the Hill Station - Wilberforce Road and this road is still in perfect condition to this day. Similarly, in the early 80's, the same Army Engineers repaired the entire road network of Koidu town. The Army Agricultural Unit at Kontobi and the resurfacing of Murraytown main Road, are all examples of the countless ways in which we the RSLAF have contributed towards national development. And currently, through our Civil/Military Cooperation (CIMIC) programmes, Engineer Regiment, in collaboration with NGOs and the civil populace, have constructed or repaired several bridges, ferries, local courthouses and community centres across the country.

12. In peacetime, the SLP put mechanisms in place to ensure that crime rate is minimized. They also enhance the job of the judiciary in the administration of justice and maintenance of the rule of law. Police also ensure that the human life, human rights and the human dignity of every individual are respected and that all citizens and non-citizens are treated equally in the eyes of the law, irrespective of origin, tribe, colour, religion or creed. The SLP also assist greatly in upholding the rule of law for the promotion of peace, stability and security within the state. However, both RSLAF and SLP are expected to be neutral in the politics of the country and must honour, be loyal and subservient to the government of the day. As custodians of the law, both forces must ensure that law enforcement mechanisms and the maintenance of good order in place at all times.

13. The two security groups can also join forces together in joint operations, when, for example, there is a national strike, demonstration, not, any mass civil uprising or student unrest, within any part of Sierra Leone. As I said earlier, the SLP are primarily responsible for the restoration of calm in internal security operations. If and when the situation gets out of control beyond SLP capability, then Government could order the RSLAF to step in to assist the SLP to restore calm, with clear-cut roles and responsibilities. It is done within the context of the rules of engagement as enshrined in the Geneva Convention. Thus with the two forces operating jointly, security plans are worked out, based on the type of operation at hand, with a clear-cut understanding of each other's professional duties so that all personnel involved in the operation can identify the other forces' own roles without undue interference, encroachment or duplication of effort.

14. Furthermore, before the army is involved in such an operation, the relevant documents are brought and signed by the recognized authorities, authorizing the military to go into action. Specific responsibilities are delegated to the officers commanding the troops in such an operation for accountability and record purposes. These documents are kept for future reference. This is because, in the conduct of such operations, if anything goes wrong, (like rioters or demonstrators been shot and wounded or killed in the process of crowd dispersal), these documents will be used to vindicate or prosecute personnel engaged in the operations. There are standard procedures or rules of engagement for forces during peacetime joint operations when handling internal security operations. But again, it depends on the specific mission, experience, level of training and the given situation.

RSLAF AND POLICE ROLE IN WARTIME
15. In wartime, the prevailing situation dictates the role of every security force, be it Army, Police, Ancillary or Reserve Force; depending on the nature of crisis the country is involved in. For example, during the last rebel war, besides the military, there was no clear-cut mission spelt out for any of the other security forces. They were only involved to assist the military to put down the rebellion. That was why in the end, the army took the credit for playing the dominant role. However, the police (especially the OSDs) performed a national duty fighting side by side with the military for a common purpose. The auxiliary forces (CDF) also gave their support in similar manner. Yet they all performed their national obligations to the state with combined effort to fight a common enemy - the RUF, and protect the lives and property of our citizens. A lot was achieved in this way.

16. In wars like nation-to-nation armed conflict, the role of every element of the security forces is well defined; this type of warfare is conventional, as opposed to guerrilla warfare or internal insurrection. In the former, all combatants on the other side are regarded as enemies and are the prime targets of attack. The country would then put its security forces into action to gain all intelligence details about the enemy's disposition, intentions, uniforms, weapons, movements, deployments, and activities. The Army is launched straight into combat; the Police do their police duties out of combat, which include information gathering, law enforcement activities, administration of refugees, displaced persons and interrogation of criminal suspects, etc. Auxiliary forces will operate side by side with the Army to carryout secondary activities like acting as guides and scouts, evacuation of casualties, information gathering, etc. In this type of war, the duties or roles of security forces are clearly identified.

CONDITIONS OF JURISDICTION OF THE SECURITY FORCES
17. The police and Military both have their respective rules and regulations, codes of conduct and standing operating procedures through which they operate. The Police deal with rules and regulations, as they are the chief custodians of the law, while the military, in addition to being governed by civil law, deals with army ordinances. Hence all military personnel are subject to both military and civil laws. The Army and the Police are constitutional forces, whilst, the auxiliary or ancillary forces operate under some loose guidelines to complement the efforts of the regular security forces.

18. Judicial matters involving all forces are dealt with within the ambit of the law of the land. There is a police jurisdiction, which see into it that all parties carrying arms are investigators, prosecutors and executors of the law. The army is seen to defend the land from external aggression. The police deal more with the public/civil aspect; other forces are seen as auxiliaries in support of both the military and the police. Anything pertaining judicial matters with the forces is dealt with under civil law. For example, if a soldier commits a crime that has both military and civil bearing, he is first dealt with in accordance with military law, after which his case is forwarded to the civil police for investigations, prosecution and subsequent trial in any court of law. This is to ensure that both military and civil justice prevail in the end.

THE HISTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL ROLE OF THE RSLAF
19. The present-day Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces traces its history back to British colonial days. From its inception, the RSLAF has had series of title changes and undergone rapid transformation from colonial days to date. The original name was the Royal West African Rifles, which was later transformed into the Royal Sierra Leone Rifles, and subsequently the Royal Sierra Leone Regiment, served with distinction in both first and second world wars gaining the battle honours of Cameroun, in what was then German West Africa, and Myohaung, in Burma in 1944. Popular names such as RSM Farandugu performed miraculous wonders of bravery and courage in the battlefront, which contributed greatly to the victory of our troops in those battles. Following independence, our military became known as the Sierra Leone Regiment and finally, the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces (RSLMF) after the attainment of republican status in 1971. In 1995, the NPRC military regime renamed it the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone (AFRSL). His Excellency the President finally endorsed the current title, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) during the historic inauguration of the new Ministry of Defence Building at Paramount Building, Tower Hill, on 21 January 2002.

20. The RSLAF was founded on a sound tradition of discipline, professionalism, and valour. Needless to say, the RSLAF continues to enjoy a very rich military history from its memorable participation in the Second World War and its peacekeeping operations in Congo and Liberia. From experience, I believe with proper training, leadership and reorganization, as well as the requisite material resources, the RSLAF will, no doubt, come out as one of the best on the African continent. With our current restructuring and reformation process in full swing and with our 10-year war experience, I look forward to the day when we RSLAF personnel will begin to join or even head UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

21. The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces is a primary organ of the security forces of this country. It is an institution that is answerable and accountable to civil constituted authority. Article 165 (2) of the 1991 Constitution clearly defined the constitutional role of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces as follows:

a.    To guard and secure the sovereignty of the Republic of Sierra Leone and its citizens.
b.    To preserve the safety and territorial integrity of the state.
c.    To participate in the development of the state.
d.    To safeguard the people's achievement.
e.    To protect the Constitution.

DECAY AND DISINTEGRATION OF THE SLA
22. However, with the passage of time, instead of building on this enviable foundation, the entire institution deterioted. Things became so bad that the Sierra Leone Military completely lost all semblances of command and control. The appointment of Army Commander to parliament, for example, was enough inducement to selfish, greedy and disgruntled soldiers dreaming to become president or ministers overnight instead of aspiring to become generals by rising through the ranks systematically and by merit. This decay of the military institution could also be attributed to series of actions and inactions by some elite members of our society who sought to use the military to further their own personal ambitions and interests. The decay of the' institution was further compounded by other vices such as tribalism, sectionalism, lip service, indiscipline, loss of command and control and the lack of respect for the chain of command within the ranks of the military. Another major contributing factor to the rapid fall in discipline and standards was the 10year rebel war. In March 1991, Sierra Leone experienced an armed insurrection as an offshoot of the regional destabilization plan from the Republic of Liberia; perpetrated by a Corporal Foday Sankoh who was supported and financed by the now embattled Charles Taylor. This rebel war of 1991-2001 also precipitated the NPRC military takeover of 29 April 1992, because guns were available to every soldier. It was the dawn of the sharp fall in discipline, training standards and professionalism of the RSLAF. During the NPRC era, it was common to Brigadiers and Colonels saluting their juniors (mostly captains and lieutenants), because these people were the coupists and in authority).

23. During the war years also, the cherished gate of the military was thrown open to good citizens, criminals, and hooligans alike in the hope of flooding the warfront with enough manpower to prosecute the war. These undeserved individuals quickly exploited their uniforms and guns for personal, sectional and other selfish interests. The ultimate result was the AFRC disaster of May 25, 1997, which threw the entire nation into turbulence, lawlessness, chaos, anarchy and catastrophe. We are all witnesses to the tragedy of a Colonel persuading fellow senior officers that there was nothing wrong in a Colonel paying compliment to a corporal during the era of the inglorious AFRC. That was how discipline disappeared and the entire officer corps decomposed. We are indeed grateful to ECOMOG for their timely intervention. Their gallantry, sacrifice and professionalism restored hope to us when we thought all was lost. My gratitude also goes to the brave citizens of Sierra Leone who defied the terror of the AFRC and their RUF allies during the brutal AFRC period. Your brave and courageous stand for democracy, for our constitutional Government and for sanity indeed won the admiration of the world.

TRAINING AND RECRUITMENT OF THE RSLAF
24. The efficiency and professional level of any military force is determined largely by training. It is through training that we soldiers inculcate a sense of responsibility, professional pride, dedication to duty, confidence, good conduct, discipline and self-esteem. Through training, our soldiers acquire the requisite skills, knowledge, orientation and experience. It is through training, teamwork that the soldier inculcates military values and undergoes continuous counselling at all levels, and in all aspects of military life, so that he feels he belongs to an institution that cares for proper management of his life.

25. Training is part of our overall strategy to build a professional armed forces, which is respected and trusted by the civil population. We believe that given our recent national experience, the task of rebuilding our Armed Forces requires the involvement of everybody, as it is too serious a matter that should not be left alone to the military. May I also use this opportunity to join you to encourage your qualified young men and women to join the military. Recently a Safari Recruiting System was introduced and the exercise conducted at the 4 regional recruiting centres to enlist young, patriotic, qualified, willing and determined citizens to join the military fold, with the recommendation of civil authorities. To ensure this, clear-cut criteria were introduced for the selection and these state that all applicants must be:

a.    Citizens of the Republic of Sierra Leone by birth.
b.    Between ages 18-25 years.
c.    Physically, mentally and medically fit.
d.    Possess a minimum qualification of GCE O'Level with credits in at least 5 subjects, including English and Mathematics, obtained in not more than 2 sittings. (This is for officer cadet applicants only).     
e.    Identified and recommended by Paramount Chiefs, District Officers, Resident Ministers or other civil and tribal authorities. This is to ensure fair and equitable ethnic, sectional and regional balance and representation.

26. The intakes for both officer cadets and soldiers in that exercise have just been concluded. Another intake using the same safari recruiting method is scheduled to take place in November this year. And the process will continue as routine to ensure that the number of new entrants each year counterbalances the annual retirements and voluntary discharges from our forces. I assure you, ladies and gentlemen that this system is very open fair and transparent. It is left with you the civil populace to cooperate for the benefit of us all. If you hold back interested, educated and qualified youths from joining the Armed Forces, then you have yourselves to blame. We are committed to building a military, which will be first in terms of professional ability, loyalty to civil authority and discipline. In terms of overseas training for our armed forces personnel, much has been accomplished in this field. I am delighted to place on record my gratitude and appreciation for the continued training support our country and military continue to receive from the UK, US, China, Nigeria and Ghana. These countries are offering numerous staff courses to our personnel at all levels on regular basis. These are all geared towards the reformation, restructuring, reorganization and rebuilding of our Armed Forces.

CREDIBILITY AND PROFESSIONALISM OF THE RSLAF
27. We are fully in the process of creating a new RSLAF, which would in every aspect, be disciplined, professional, loyal, patriotic and accountable. We are working assiduously to make the Armed Forces regain its lost pride, one that will be a true representative of the country that all citizens will be proud of. The President has stated on several occasions that the objective of the Government is to have a professional Armed Force, that will enhance career prospects of personnel in areas such as regular promotions, better salaries, pensions and improved welfare facilities within available resources. Maintaining a military of reasonable size, according to the country's needs and ability is what we are currently working on.

RESTRUCTURING AND CURRENT TRENDS
28. We are fully in the process of reforming, restructuring and reorganizing our entire military institution in Sierra Leone. And the backbone of this process is, of course, the UK: This process, I believe, will produce a well-trained, professional, disciplined, and accountable, Armed Forces which will be under the control of the democratically elected civilian government of the day and which will be respected by the people of Sierra Leone as well as the international community.

29. The climax of our reorganization process was the opening in January last year of the newly refurbished Ministry of Defence (MOD). This building now provides a permanent forum where senior military personnel and civil servants of the Ministry of Defence have married up to form the new staff structure of the restructured MOD. In this ministry, civilians and their military counterparts have established good working relationship and on a daily basis meet, interact, work together and jointly handle issues that are crucial to the security and well being of our country. We have created an environment where we are pooling together the knowledge, skills and experience we the personnel have acquired over the years in our respective fields for the benefit of our national security, under one roof. We have now established trust, mutual understanding, maximum cooperation for the promotion of the welfare of our armed forces and the management of our national defence.

30. As I said earlier, with the assistance of the British, our entire security sector is being overhauled with the retraining of the RSLAF. With this new institution in place, civilians have had more confidence, trust and hope that indeed the new RSLAF is a force for good. Thanks to the massive assistance from the British Government and Armed Forces.

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION.
31. As we know, credibility of the Armed Forces is very significant, as the actions of a handful of soldiers should not be used to discredit a whole noble institution. The Armed Forces are aware of the fact that at a certain point, the country's citizenry had totally lost faith in the Army. I admire the statesmanship of the President, who truly deserves praise for his efforts to ensure that national reconciliation and good civil/military relationship take firm root. In this vein, I ask all Sierra Leoneans to heed the President's advice that all should bury the hatchet and turn to a new page. I wish to assure this gathering that there is awareness now in the Armed Forces and most soldiers now know their constitutional role and have fully realized that discipline, patriotism and loyalty form the bedrock of our military.

32. It is my plea, therefore, that this TRC hearing be used as an avenue or platform to accelerate the long process of forgiveness and reconciliation for the terrible wrong done by some members of our Armed Forces. It is an open secret that most of our soldiers have shown remorse and repentance for the past misdeeds of some disgruntled elements in our midst. I therefore asked all civilians to forgive us soldiers in the interest and spirit of sustainable peace, unity mutual respect and reconciliation. It is human to make mistakes but to forgive is divine. With our repentance and your forgiveness, we will all be assisting His Excellency, the President in his committed efforts to achieving the difficult but necessary task of national reconciliation.

CONCLUSION
33. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I have been speaking on the Security Forces. I started by saying that the security forces of Sierra Leone comprise of a body of disciplined, loyal, patriotic and well-trained men and women ready to protect the nation against internal and external aggression. I also said that the security forces in Sierra Leone are composed of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the Sierra Leone Police Force and paramilitary wing, the Operational Support Division as well as the auxiliary or ancillary forces. I further reviewed the roles of the military and police in peace and wartime.

34. In going further, I examined the history and constitutional role of our Armed Forces and dilated on the key issues relating to these. I stressed that the principal role of our military in post-war democratic Sierra Leone is to secure our country's international borders to prevent infiltration into our country of armed elements from neighbouring countries as well as cross-border rebel activities. As both are members of the security forces of Sierra Leone, the RSLAF and SLP should be seen to work together amicably through the spirit of unity, co-operation, understanding, mutual respect and team spirit. Going further, I considered ways in which the security forces, especially the RSLAF can also be utilized by government to assist in infrastructure rehabilitation and other civil programmes when required. In wrapping up, I talked about the recruitment and training, credibility and professionalism, and current trends in the RSLAF before asking, the entire people of Sierra Leone, on behalf of the entire RSLAF, to forgive us for our past mistakes and misdeeds, in the interest of truth and reconciliation. Hence, this TRC is the competent platform that encourages and promotes healing and reconciliation so that we can forge ahead to build a better and peaceful Sierra Leone.

35. Mr Chairman, to crown it all, I wish to heartily congratulate your commission for putting in place such an auspicious event at this time in the history of Sierra Leone. I wish to further thank you for the honour of inviting me as one of the presenters at this close hearing of your commission. The TRC, in my view, Mr Chairman, is timely in enhancing, facilitating and promoting the process of healing,

36. Mr Chairman, esteemed audience, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you most heartily for your kind attention.

Major General TS CARFW, pse, fndu, GUR
Chief of Defence Staff
Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces



SIERRA LEONE POLICE
PRESENTATION
To The
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
BY
Brima Acha Kamara, B.A. M.A.
ON
Wednesday, 23 Id July, 2003

INTRODUCTION
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the men and women of the Sierra Leone Police, I stand here as a proud and honoured representative of our noble institution to present our views to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (T.R.C.).

The views I will be presenting on behalf of the Sierra Leone Police are based on victims' and perpetrators' views. To be frank, the Sierra Leone Police engaged and suffered as both perpetrators and victims respectively throughout the decade of civil war.

My presence and presentation this day is a clear manifestation that we in the SLP honestly believe in the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The healing effect of the entire exercise is primordial and will help to a very large extent in seeing war no more in Sierra Leone.

LEGAL STATUS
The 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone (Section 155 (1) (Act. No.6 of 1991) stipulates what the functions of the police are and its relationship to the State. It is directly under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its main duties are the protection of life and property, and keeping the peace.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Shortly after Independence in 1961, the Police Act, 1964 was passed by the Sierra Leone Parliament. Successive governments used the police to restrain the Army from politics and to stifle opposition. Once Siaka Stevens became Prime Minister in 1967 and the plans to unseat him failed, he began to rely more on the police than the Military to protect him undertake his State functions. A para-military wing was formed inside the police and gradually it became an instrument of tyranny and suppression. This was the start of the drift from its traditional peace-keeping constitutional role to that of a fighting force and its subsequent failure to protect the people from the excesses of the State. This fighting force was used to suppress all segments of society, including members of the opposition party, the Army, youths and others who were perceived as threats to the Stevens administration.

Successive governments continued to use the police to suppress opposition in all forms. However, there did not appear to be any visible beneficiaries. Neither the political nor police leadership cared for the men and women under their command. Police leadership was corrupt and self-serving. They cared only for themselves and used their position to amass as much personal wealth as they could. This was clearly to the detriment of the junior personnel who were deliberately kept in abject poverty.

GENERAL CAUSES OF THE WAR
Many civil conflicts in the past have been blamed on civil grievances against the state, whether they are economic or socio-political. Also, it was known here that many of the aggressors had their own hidden agenda, which in many cases was connected to greed, the acquisition of wealth or their thirst for political power. However, to gain recognition and support, they always advance the grievance explanation as the motivating factor.

We all know that the cause of the rebel war in Sierra Leone varies across individuals and organisations. We may say at the start of the conflict the grievance explanation seemed convincing, but as the war progressed, it became apparently clear that the importance of the self became greater than the good of the state - it was about personal greed and thirst for economic and political power.

ROLE OF THE SLP DURING THE WAR
As I said in my introduction, the SLP, as an institution, suffered as a victim as well as a perpetrator. Several factors were responsible for this dual role and if I may, I will attempt to catalogue some of them so that we get a very clear view of where we were, where we are and where we want to be in the future. The most important factor is that we want to put where we were behind us, our future success, as an institution that is committed to protecting human life and property, lies in where we are today and where the direction we are taking as an organisation.

A. POLITICISATION OF THE POLICE
The decline of the SLP continued as it detracted from its constitutional duties. The police spent less and less time protecting the individuals in society. The rule of law that says that no one is above the law and that all men will be treated equally, regardless of their status, was blatantly ignored. People were arrested and locked up for taking alluvial diamonds found on apparently common land, but the corrupt practices carried on in high government circles diverted millions of dollars away from the State and into private bank accounts and no-one was ever arrested.

To compound it all, the police were demasculated. The checks and balances surrounding the doctrine of separation of the powers where those who have the power to make the legislation are constitutionally kept separate from the upholders of that legislation, were ignored. The Inspector-General of Police, whose constitutional powers revolve around protecting the rights of the individual was key to that process (so far as protecting the citizen from arbitrary arrest), was brought into the political arena. He was given a seat in the Cabinet and invited to contribute to the debates in Parliament. If ever there was a time when the IGP wanted to raise a voice against the excesses of the Government, once inside the Parliamentary machine, he was silenced. Like, promotions, postings had become so politicised that they were done either at State House or Parliament, in many cases without any reference to the IGP, SLP or, indeed, the Police Council.

B. TRANSFORMATION OF THE SLP TO AN INSTRUMENT OF TYRANNY
The traditional role of the Sierra Leone Police is to keep the peace. Previous governments succeeded in transforming the Sierra Leone Police into an instrument of tyranny. It is known that politicians and people in high places used police personnel when they wanted to plant, or manufacture, evidence on people whom they saw as threats. People were tortured at the Criminal Investigations Department and forced to falsely admit their involvement in cases of treason, murder or any other high profile case. Armed SSD (Special Security Division) personnel were used to terrorise the people and regularly used to raid their homes and harass the youths, in fact they terrorised anyone who was perceived as being a threat to their administration.

The SB (Special Branch) was solely used to spy on political opponents of the government. At times it would appear that only personnel who were loyal to the party were posted to SB. They reported directly to the powers that be, rather than to the Inspector-General of Police. In fact, some of the reports certainly contributed to the early demise of some of the former Inspector Generals of Police. There is no doubt that they had good skills, but the intrusive nature of their inquiries were channelled towards what the politicians wanted, rather than what the citizen needs.

The general public, victims' relatives and the youths themselves, did not take kindly to this. When the opportunity came through a rebel war, we saw the army, armed civilians masquerading as members of the Civil Defence Force and some unarmed civilians attacking, maiming, burning and killing police personnel and destroying buildings, vehicles and other forms of police equipment.

C. RECRUITMENT AND PROMOTION MALPRACTICES
It is crystal clear that any well meaning organisation has an objective recruitment policy that is aimed at bringing in good quality people who will support and improve the organisation. The Colonial Masters left a legacy of prescribed entry requirements, with emphasis on educational qualifications. Part of the politicisation process was to engender the affiliation or political patronage of the police to its party politics. Most of the new recruits were deliberately targeted because they were not competent, many were illiterate, and, within a very short time effective service delivery of the SLP was to a large extent diminished. Others were targeted because they had reputations for being able to coerce people to comply with the wishes of the political masters. These political thugs were thought to be useful assets and they were sent to the police for recruitment. We were infiltrated.

The same applied to promotions. Traditionally, promotion was merit based and the selection process was used to fill vacancies with those officers who had earned the respect of their senior officers. However, it all changed, it was from amongst this incompetent bunch that personnel were taken and promoted to higher ranks. This happened through nepotism, cronyism and often as a reward for dubious favours undertaken. These officers, both junior and senior, owe much, not because of their [lack of] ability, but because they had their various "Godfathers". These beneficiaries were prepared to serve these "Godfathers" rather than the people living in the communities. They, therefore, were not working in the interests of safety and security of the state.

Owing to the inhumane ways in which many of the police conducted themselves in maintaining the status quo, the public no longer trusted their local police. They had no confidence in anyone in the SLP to protect them. Additionally, within the police, there were many competent hard-working officers who were kept down, and they too, began to harbour a sense of grievance. One strategy they embarked upon was to "informally" join the rebels by passing on vital information to ensure the success of the rebels with the sole intention of catapulting these "Godfathers" out of positions of influence over the behaviour of the police.

D. POSTINGS AND TRANSFERS.
Postings and transfers of police personnel are done by Senior Police Officers who allegedly have the expertise and competence to objectively assess the suitability of a police officer to perform a task in a given situation, But what happened in the case of the SLP was that people were put as square pegs in round poles. What would regularly happen was that top politicians gave names of, usually Senior Police Officers, with instructions that they should be posted or transferred to specific areas of interest like Kono, Traffic. It was a fait accompli.

E. UNLAWFUL DISMISSALS
Many police officers were unlawfully dismissed on trumped up charges and that is the difference between the leadership then and the leadership of today. Many of these dismissals culminated in the final unlawful dismissals of over 13 very Senior Police Officers by the NPRC (National Provincial Ruling Council). Others were imprisoned and tortured. The entire leadership of the SLP was unlawfully dismissed in 1995 and the relatives of these officers joined other militia units and caused mayhem during the revenge period.

F. EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS
In 1992, as the war progressed, the Army decided to seize power. Some Senior Police Officers, police drivers and labourer who were on a drinking spree at Lumpa, Waterloo were arrested and falsely accused of treason. They were later summarily executed.
Some other officers were brutally murdered by the AFRC (Armed Forces Ruling Council) and other warring factions, an act that caused despair to many police officers and their relatives. This fanned the flame of enmity with the families of the massacred officers, which in turn, led to helping the rebels on their way to success.

The circumstances under which the police officers were killed clearly indicated that the enemy forces ignored the conventional rules of engagement in conflict situation. Our records reveal that throughout the war, a total of two hundred and ninety three (293) police personnel were killed during the war; forty-two (42) wounded and thirty-seven (37) missing in action making a grand total of three hundred and seventy-two (372) personnel short of our previous strength. This is of considerable operational and economic cost to the organisation. Some of these personnel were unarmed, ill prepared to fight a war. The first victims of both the Koindu and Zimmi attacks were police officers. The Civil Defence Forces in Bo and Kenema killed close to fifty (50) police officers and during the reign of the AFRC close to two hundred police personnel were killed.

The killings of these unarmed police officers can be linked to the killing of unarmed civilians. Police officers are citizens in uniform, thus it is tantamount to gross violation of international humanitarian law, for which the perpetrators must take full responsibility for the sake of peaceful co-existence.

G.    THE POLITICS OF RICE
It was during this period that we saw some of our most senior men receiving five hundred (500) bags of rice per month whilst the junior ranks received one bag, regardless of the size of the family they supported. However, according to spectators at the time, it was heart rending to see that at times, even this one bag was taken from some of the most junior officers by the same senior officer who would have received his five hundred bags the same day. Not surprisingly, the end result was the start of a grudge against those in authority and a deep rift set in between the junior and senior officers.

This is so clearly evidenced by the `politics of rice' whereby men and women of the Sierra Leone Police were supplied with sack of rice every month. It was reported shortly after this episode that some of those aggrieved officers began to support the rebels and many swelled their ranks.

H.    PUBLIC ORDER ACTIVITIES AND ABUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The police are constitutionally bound to keep the peace and legally responsible (Public Order Act, Act No. 46 of 1965) to police all activities bordering upon Public Order or outbreaks of disorder. This legitimacy of actions does not extend itself into the hands of the police to suppress dissenting views.

However, the police did use this power to control governmental opposition and those who held dissenting opinions. Processions, demonstrations held by opposition parties, students or persons/groups for which the police had no political credence would always be turned down.

The effect of this public denial, was that the groups chose to go underground. If they could not vent out their grievances in the open they resorted to private clandestine methods. The police, owing to their level of [in]competence at that time, could not effectively put in place any intelligence network to monitor these underground networks, as they themselves were heavily engaged in political intrigue.

Any spontaneous outbursts tended to take the form of heavy-handed violence and, subsequently most of these aggrieved people joined the ranks of the rebels and then targeted the police.

Others, as a result of the tyrannical attitude of the police and treatment they received from the police, stored up anger waiting for the right moment to retaliate. Some were tortured and forced to admit wrongdoings and many of the innocent were sent to prison. When the rebels released them from the prison they were seen as their saviours and they immediately wreaked havoc on the police, or anything that gave them cause to remember what the police had done to them.

HALLMARKS OF THE REBELLION
The rebellion was marred by destruction, terror and violence, the like never seen or perpetrated anywhere before. The atrocities have been well documented elsewhere and those surrounding the amputations and brandings witnessed in Freetown were simply a replica of what was happening in the rural areas.

IMPACT OF THE REBELLION ON THE SLP
With the above scenarios, the organisation was widely viewed as a citadel of corruption, an instrument of tyranny and an obstacle to the socio-politicoeconomic progress of Sierra Leone.

Before the advent of the war, the Sierra Leone Police was confronted with problems of all sorts ranging from a shortage of logistics to welfare issues of personnel. The rebellion brought along its own problems. It hindered effective service delivery; increased the crime rate; any movement of personnel and logistics was a complete nightmare; police personnel became targets for the various warring factions and policing was limited to only government controlled areas. The Sierra Leone Police was also faced with the enormous challenge of maintaining a balance between containing the enemy forces and performing our traditional role.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Sierra Leone Police was not spared in the destruction that followed. Although, I am merely trying to explain the role of the police during the war and we know that many saw us as perpetrators, we need to tell you that we also suffered as victims.

Today we are short of sufficient manpower to effectively police this country and we are now running a non-stop recruitment drive. This is one of the effects of the war that we are now facing. Notwithstanding the catalogue of behaviour I have already listed, many police officers were either killed or declared missing in action at the battlefront. Some of our personnel officially joined the ranks of the Army and were killed in active service whilst defending their motherland. Others were trained by ECOMOG Peace Keepers at Lungi to help remove the AFRC government from power.

In the process, some were killed in battle, others brutally murdered by the various warring factions, and their only alleged crime was that they were Police Officers. To really portray the depth of hatred against police personnel, mere pictures or uniforms of police personnel were considered legitimate targets. Let me illustrate a point, it is known that whenever the RUF rebels entered any town, their first task was to locate the Police Stations and structures and target the personnel, both would be burnt and killed respectively.
The damage to structures and equipment is so enormous that it is difficult to attach realistic cost to it. Just as they saw the service men as legitimate target, so too did they target the SLP infrastructure. The ruthlessness exhibited by the enemy forces during the war always left one with the impression that they were enemies of the state and the people they claimed they were fighting to liberate.

Our encounters with some of them through investigations and intelligence from other sources indicated that the RUF (Revolutionary United Front) in particular was getting support from certain rogue states. Collaboration from within the country was also a worrying problem for the Sierra Leone Police. The internal collaboration became more apparent when the RUF joined forces with some elements of the National Army.

7. THE WAY FORWARD
The guns have now fallen silent and we pray to the Almighty God that the situation shall remain like that some time to come. The question now is how do we maintain this new found peace and what do we do in the years to come to ensure that such a horrible nightmare does not befall this nation again?

The war brought untold suffering to the people of this country, creating in the process deep seated resentment, which can be a real obstacle to peaceful coexistence. One way to overcome such a problem can be through the T.R.C. - and the restorative justice system. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa once observed that an offence injures a relationship but restorative justice, he said, can restore that injured relationship. We could not agree with him more on this. We pray that the Sierra Leone T.R.C. be another success story.

However, to achieve this goal, the perpetrators must muster the courage to confess their misdeeds and beg for forgiveness. The victims, too, for the sake of peace, should forgive. Even psychologists have contended that forgiveness is good for one's health. Such bold and courageous actions can surely provide a clean slate for peaceful co-existence.

At this juncture, please allow me to rest as I feel free.  Free in the sense that as perpetrators of the war and a suppressive arm of the government during the pre-war years, the general public including the various combatants saw the police as an enemy. This battered image alienated the police from the community. We confessed and apologised our misdeeds to the public at large. Today we are policing through mutual co-operation, that is, local needs policing. The populace have once more accepted the police. The cooperation and the appreciation is enormous. I repeat I feel free because today before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we have officially vent out our feelings, our position, the mistrust and misgivings throughout this ten year civil war. I hope all will appreciate, forgive us and we all turn a new page so that we push Mother Sierra Leone forward.

To ensure the police provides an efficient and effective service to the community, we are appealing to the government and people of Sierra Leone and to some extent to the international community to do their best to improve our conditions of service. I have already outlined the functions of the police, and its primary peace keeping role. The constable is the lowest rank of the service. Yes it is at that junior rank that the majority of the service delivery is carried out. It is the constable that has the power to arrest for a multitude of criminal offences. It is the constable who is patrolling the streets at night, yet the pay and conditions of service for a person with so much power is abysmal. The salary that the constable takes home each month is the equivalent of a sack of rice and a sack of onions, with a little left over to buy some loaves of bread. This is tantamount to an abuse of the human rights of police officers.

The challenge to the future policing style came in the guise of Local Needs Policing and Local Partnership Boards. The Government Policing charter and our Police mission statement, came about as the result of the Inspector General of Police asking His Excellency the President about the style of policing he wanted for the Sierra Leoneans; and the Mission Statement tells the public how we, the SLP, will deliver that style of policing. The Local Policing Partnership Boards are the medium where we ask the communities what their concerns are and to help us tackle crime in their neighbourhoods.

The civil society is our focus and in that vein we are establishing local partnership boards nationally. It is part of our strong commitment to providing a service to the individuals who five in a diverse range of communities throughout Sierra Leone.

Furthermore, in the past, programmes meant to overhaul the Sierra Leone Police with a view of improving its service delivery could not be undertaken and even when it did, the instability kept interrupting it and sometimes lead to its abandonment altogether.

We know that to become an efficient service the police have to be free from corruption, political influence and abide by the rule of law. We are now going through a period of time where the community are visibly showing that their trust in the police service is returning to how it used to be. The government and the people are working in partnership in many of the Local Partnership Boards to reduce crime in the community. However, there is a negative to what I have just said, and I want to be realistic. I believe we all agree in the type of police service we need to feel safe in our beds, but we can't expect the police to deliver a professional service on a less than professional wage. If you ask members of our Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigations Department what is the number one reason why police officers take bribes on the streets, they will tell you that it is to feed the family, or pay for their children's school expenses. The majority of our police officers live in poverty. Go to King Tom or Ross Road barracks and see for yourself. There is overcrowding, temporary structures have been built. There are not enough barracks for our new recruits, the ones we need to replace those lost in the war. Police officers are sleeping rough, some are sleeping on the floors of friends houses, others are paying exorbitant rents for one room. Part of our terms and conditions of service include a rent allowance in lieu of accommodation. It is Le1,000 per month: a bottle of Coka Cola costs more.

What we need now as part of our own TRC is adequate recompense for the professional job we do. Good housing conditions and appropriate allowances in lieu of the accommodation. Our welfare scheme is limited. We would like to expand it to include some form of maintenance to support the families of our personnel who were either killed, or are missing, in action. Micro finance opportunities would also be useful for the police wives and their children, to help support their families.

We also need adequate logistics including transport and communication to help us share the burden of tackling crime with the communities, especially, those remote communities in the provinces. At times they feel especially vulnerable, more so in the Liberian border areas.

Above all, what we would like to see is the barest minimum so that we can begin to put the past behind us and ever sleep in peace and harmony. The period of the rebel war needs to be relegated to history books for our descendants to read and understand just exactly what went on in Sierra Leone and why the police suffered the way they did.

In order to build a new Sierra Leone which should be a land of prosperity adhering  to formal democratic practices and the rule of law, it is appropriate that those who are responsible for igniting the machinery of justice should have their terms and conditions of service improved so that they are commensurate with the tasks they are expected to perform.  Not everyone can move dead bodies, but that task if undertaken daily on behalf of the Coroner must be really appreciated. 

We in the Sierra Leone police, on our part, have forgiven all those who traumatised us, killed and maimed our colleagues, brutalised our families, raped our wives and daughters, burnt our houses and Police stations during those turbulent years.

We do, however, hope that none of these will ever recur.  It is an organisation which to all intents and purposes continues to be a force for good.

We in the SLP hope for everlasting peace in the land that we love, Sierra Leone.

Thank you.


 

A THEMATIC PAPER PRESENTED TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC) ON BEHALF OF THE SIERRA LEONE PEOPLES' PARTY SLPP BY PASCAL O EGBENDA
      
TITLE OF PAPER: 'THE SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES AND POLICE
      
Mr Chairman, let me first of all thank your Commission for extending this invitation to the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples' Party. I am here representing the SLPP in presenting this paper titled, "the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and Police".

In putting the paper together I kept in mind the purpose of this Commission (The Truth and Reconciliation Commission) which, on one hand, is for the oppressed to come up and sincerely explain why he/she is aggrieved and to express willingness to forgive and, on the other hand, for the perpetrator to honestly and courageously explain and admit his wrong doing and ask for forgiveness.

Mr Chairman, let me at this point, on behalf of the SLPP, congratulate your Commission for its relentless efforts, so far, in ensuring your target of traum0l healing and national reconciliation. Let me assure you of our Government's continued support in your drive to achieving your goal. It is our expectation that all the testimonies at this Commission will be compiled and made available to our Schools, Colleges, Libraries and Museums for posterity.

Turning to the subject matter of my paper, let me hasten to make an important clarification in the use of terminologies such as the "Sierra Leone Armed Forces" and the "Sierra Leone Police" which for the purpose of this paper is time dependent. As the Commission is aware, what used to be referred to as the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone - cum - Sierra Leone Army (SLA) which is the subject matter of this paper, has undergone restructuring and is now better known as the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. Even the Police has undergone restructuring and now acclaimed as a "Force for Good": The Armed Forces and Police referred to in this paper are those that existed before the said restructurings, excluding those men and women who were loyal to the SLPP Government during the period under review..

THE ARMED FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE (AFRSL) OR SIERRA LEONE ARMY (SLA)
Mr Chairman, Section 165 subsection 1 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone which is currently in operation, makes provision for the establishment of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone.    Subsection 2 of Section 165 of the same constitution describes the function of the Armed Forces as follows:    ".........to guard and secure the Republic of Sierra Leone and preserve the safety and territorial integrity of the sate, to participate in its development, to safeguard the people's achievements and to protect this constitution".

The action therefore, of the Sierra Leone Army to have overthrown the democratically elected SLPP Government in May 1997, replacing it with a Military Junta that was referred to as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the destructions of lives and properties that ensued, was in complete violation of the constitution which our Government was safeguarding. As a party geared up for peace and national development, we are aggrieved by this action especially when we were on the way to carrying out our development plans, already put in place, which I would like to summarise below:

SLPP DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY ON ASSUMING POWER IN 1996

By the year 1996 the Civil war and unrest had plagued Sierra Leone for five years. Since 1991 successive governments were unable to completely defeat the rebel forces and end the way. In the light of a ceasefire brokered with the RUF in 1996, the SLPP Government carried out an intensive needs assessment of war-affected areas as a basis for formulating a national plan for the resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the country.

The plan, referred to as the National Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Programme (NRRRP) was presented to the donor community at a Round Table conference in September 1996. At the core of the NRRRP was an initial quick Action Programme (QUAP) that focussed on 17 different sectors or programme areas considered crucial for the social and economic recovery and revitalisation of the country.

The QUAP specifically targeted short-term priority areas of post-war reconstruction focusing on resettlement of displaced persons, demobilisation and reintegration of excombatants, re-establishment of basic social services and reconstruction of economic infrastructure particularly related to agricultural production. The signing of the first peace agreement between the Government and the RUF in November 1996 gave hope to national and international efforts to begin the recovery in earnest. Commitments made in September began to become project agreements between donor countries, the Government and various implementing partners on the ground. The Roundtable conference yielded pledges of approximately US$230 million, and formal commitments were estimated at 50% of this total by November 1996.

During the same period the Government elaborated a Poverty Reduction Strategy that was anchored on the principle of growth with equity and developed a good governance strategy that dealt with decentralisation of administration, civil service reform, strengthening of civil society, and promotion of transparency and accountability in the public service.

These strategy documents were presented to a Consultative Group of donors in March 1997 resulting in pledges of more than US$600 million. The coup of May 1997, however, effectively put the NCRRP, the QUAP, as well as other crucial programme activities, on hold.
Thanks to the resolve by the majority of Sierra Leone and the International Community in reinstating constitutionality, our Government returned from exile, in 1998.

Having returned from exile, and as we were embarking on putting our development plans in action again, sections of the then SLA together with the then Revolutionary United Front (RUF) fighters stormed the city (Freetown) on January 6, 1999 inflicting damages to property loss in human lives and yet again putting a hold on our development programmes. The January 1999 incursion followed by the occupation of Okro Hill by a renegade AFRC group, sent negative signals to the business world and our donors in particular and did not augur well for the country.

Mr Chairman, in the light of the foregoing, it is clear that by overthrowing our Government in 1997, the SLA thwarted our efforts in carrying out our development programmes for the country and thus creating a negative outlook of our Government in the minds of the people. As a party we saw no reason for their unconstitutional behaviour.

However, in the spirit of reconciliation, national cohesiveness and in the light of what the SLPP stands for, "One Country One People", we as a party have without any reservations forgiven the then Sierra Leone Army. Infact in demonstration of this reconciliatory gesture during the restructuring exercise of the army we allowed the intake of qualified former fighters including the former Sierra Leone Army.
Mr Chairman, while we have forgiven our detractors, it is our expectation that those that are now in the newly restructured army, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, (RSLAF), will in the interest of this nation, adhere to their constitutional functions.

THE SIERRA LEONE POLICE
In the same vein, Mr Chairman, the SLPP, has pardoned those members of the Police who may have taken sides with the then AFRC during those trying times in the history of this nation. It is our hope that the term "Force for Good" now used to describe the newly structured Police Force would be  actualised for the good of our people.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman,I would like everyone to understand that the SLPP is a peace seeking and peace loving political organisation and we will  stop at nothing to bring peace to the people of Sierra Leone.  It is in this that we have pardoned our detractors.  My appeal to all Sierra Leoneans is to follow suit in this process of national healing. Let me assure your Commission again Mr. Chairman of our Party's fullest support and cooperation.

I thank you.




THEMATIC, EVENT-SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARING. UN CIVILIAN POLICE PERSPECTIVE.

1. INTRODUCTION:
My contribution to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) today will not be to state how the GoSL security forces (specifically the Sierra Leone Police) were involved in the ten years conflict in Sierra Leone but rather to positively contribute to what in my view would go a long way into creating a professional and democratic police force. !n support of Sierra Leone Police efforts to turn around the force through the contribution of the SLP officers, UN, and the international donor community, the UNCIVPOL feels much obligated to the Government and people of Sierra Leone and the international community to be part and parcel of turning the SLP into the "Force for Good." To achieve this we are intent on working in close cooperation with the SLP, and the Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project (CCSSP) in recruiting, and training the SLP officers as well as mentoring them on the job. The purpose of which is to enhance the capacity building of the force.
      
2. ROLE OF POLICE:
One of the primary and constitutional responsibilities of any Government is the protection of the citizenry against threat to life and the enjoyment of other fundamental human rights. In any functioning democratic government, the law enforcement organ of the Government namely the police mostly carries out this function. Whereas the armed forces will be responsible for guarding of the state from any external aggression by securing the entire international border as well as the national airspace, the police are primarily responsible for the internal security through maintenance of law and order. The armed forces would in certain specific occasions reinforce the police to re-establish law and order. However, the constitution or other relevant laws of the land would specify when such interventions would be called. Outside such a scenario, the military will normally be confined to the barracks as they discharge their constitutional responsibility of protecting the state from external aggressions.
      
3. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
In order to turn around the SLP into the "Force for Good" which will eventually deliver a professional police service in Sierra Leone without prejudice to the local communities and foreigners settled or visiting Sierra Leone, there is the need to address some of the factors that may have had a hand that placed the SL P where it was before the restructuring and retraining efforts began in 1996 and which are ongoing. These factors are as enumerated below-.

a. Politicization of the force.

In any democratic process, the police service should be left to operate independently and professionally without political influence or interference from the "powers that be." Indications are that the SLP at a point found itself in a position of political patronage. The Constitution and the Act setting a police service and also which stipulates its functions in a democratic environment should guide the police service together with the Government policing charter as well as the Vision and mission of the service. The police service should not be used to trample on the people's democratic rights.

The police should be impartial in the discharge of their service to the people. Justice should not be sacrificed at the altar of those who can buy it at the expense of the principles of natural justice. The law is supposed to be blind to any sort of prejudices with every person being considered as equal before it.

The day-to-day operational running of the SLP should be left to the Inspector General and the Executive Management Board Members while the Police Council should be left to operate at the policy level without interfering with the running of the service.      

b. Human rights abuses.

Strict observance of Human Rights is a cardinal requirement of all law enforcement agencies. Human Rights is well entrenched in the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 and besides, the GoSL is a signatory to the United Nation charter on Human Rights. The Sierra Leone Police force has an obligation to strictly observe issues pertaining to Human Rights in delivering a police service under the new concept of "Local Need Policing." Failure to observe the fundamentals of Human Rights will not only erode the much needed police/public confidence but also the public acceptance on which the new concept of policing is hinged. Every member of the force should be trained and retrained on the fundamentals of Human Rights given that the focus of the SLP change process is the service delivery to the local communities.

c. Run away Corruption.

There are indications that majority of the SLP officers were highly corrupt at all levels. This is exemplified by a derogatory title that was given to the police where they were referred to as the "two block police." Though the state of corruption would be mitigated by the alleged neglect by the successive Governments in Sierra Leone on the police force, this cannot be justified if the force was to remain a dignified one. Any state of corruption erodes any form of public confidence. Without the public confidence, no police service would be able to achieve any major accomplishments. Though corruption in the force can be addressed by improving the welfare and the genera! well being of the members of the force plus their family members, a robust anti corruption campaign for the members of the force as well as the communities will be quite essential. Integrity courses should be developed and implemented with the police officers as the primary target group. Though the improvement of the welfare through better remuneration, medical coverage, better housing or house allowances in lieu of accommodation would address the socioeconomic status of the officers, robust anti corruption campaign as well as integrity courses would address the officers attitude towards corruption and its impact to individuals and the country at large.

d. Recruitment and Promotion.

These two aspects of a police service are normally the first victims where the political caucus would be intent on politicizing a police service. It is by ensuring that those recruited or promoted in the force are politically correct that their (politicians) status quo will be guaranteed. Besides impacting negatively on the performance of a police service, the "cult of mediocrity" is slowly promoted in the service finally becoming well entrenched. This diminishes the effectiveness of a police service, which subsequently looses the public confidence and acceptance. The end result would be a police service that is irrelevant to the people. The SLP was never exempt from this state of affair with the politicization of the organization.

To become the Force for Good, SLP should strictly follow the laid down Force's recruitment and promotion policies bearing in mind the principles of equal opportunity. Merit in promotion should be the hallmark of the force under a watertight system of reward and punishment. Quota system in recruitment should be entrenched in the force's recruitment policy to ensure that all ethnic groups in Sierra Leone are well represented in the service. However, the policy requirements for enlistment into SLP should be strictly observed without prejudice.

4. OTHERS.

Having looked at some of these factors that may have pushed the SLP to the level that the force found itself, there are still others issues that need to be looked into if the force is to be the "Force for Good" in discharging a professional police service. These areas are as enumerated below:

a. Provision of Logistics.

Part of the neglect of the SLP by the previous Governments is in the area of provision of equipments that would have enabled the force to discharge its responsibilities. The Force was left to live "hands to mouth" at the time when its service was in high demand hence could not satisfy the policing needs of the people in a very tangible manner. To turn around the Force in a manner that it can discharge its constitutional responsibilities in Sierra Leone, the need to provide it with the necessary logistics cannot be overemphasized. These logistics include transport and communication. Under the concept of "Local Need policing", there comes the element of intelligence led policing and to achieve this, the force must gain the public confidence through best practice. The provision of logistic will go a long to assist SLP in this endeavour.

b. Improvement of the criminal justice system.

In the rule of law a police service is part of the criminal justice system. The others are the judiciary and the Corrections/prisons. Each of these arms of the criminal justice system cannot succeed in their specific endeavours without the other. This being the case, there is the need to call for a holistic approach in the improvement of the criminal justice system. A lot has been done for the SLP though there is quite a long way to go. However, little seems to have been done on the other two aspects of the system. This creates urgency in ensuring that the other two arms are improved at the same pace with the police.

5. CONCLUSION:
Having talked about all the above, I want to emphasize on the need to ensure that SLIP provides a robust police service to the people of Sierra Leone that would be aimed at ensuring that there exists a very stable environment that would encourage both local as well as foreign investment. Sierra Leone should never again be at war with itself. However, the determinant of whether this is going to be the case or not will the effort of all people of Sierra Leone both within the Government and without. As UNCIVPOL we will play our role as stated in the preamble through:

a. Recruitment into SLP. Working in conjunction with SLIP and CCSSP, we will assist the former in recruiting and training new members of the force according to the SLP strategic plan (2002).

b. In service training aimed at enhancing the professional capacity of the serving officers in accordance with Sierra Leone national standards.

c. Mentoring the SLP officers on the job with a view to improving the service delivery in line with the concept of the "Local Need Policing."

We are determined to assist the SLP to live up to their motto "Force for Good." We hope and pray for an everlasting peace in Sierra Leone.

Thank you.



International Human Rights Law Group
MAKING RIGHTS REAL FOR 25 YEARS

SUBMISSION AND PUBLIC TESTIMONY AT THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION B Y THE INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW GROUP.

Freetown, YWCA New Hall Brookfields, 28 July 2003.

Theme: 'The Judiciary, the Legal Profession and the Rule of law".

1. Introduction and Overview of the situation.
The recent years of conflict have exacerbated the deplorable state of the justice sector in Sierra Leone, which was (and is still) in a very poor state of affairs. Through the Sierra Leone history, there has been a gradual decline in the independence and impartiality of the justice sector as well as in the quality of resources.

Inside and outside the country, some think that abuses in the justice system, impunity and the state's failure to protect citizen's rights were among the causes of the war.

Sierra Leone is one of the most impoverished countries in the world, and the vast majority of Sierra Leoneans lack awareness of both the substance of their constitutional and human rights, and the available means by which they can seek redress if such rights are violated. Moreover, most Sierra Leoneans lack the means to surmount the formal legal systems' daunting barriers to justice. Legal services are exorbitant, and almost all legal professionals are situated in Freetown. Access to justice is characterized by expense, delays, geographical remoteness and cultural distance. The system is not equipped, either in terms of physical infrastructure, or personnel to meet the needs of the poor and marginalized, and in particular women and youth.

While not formally part of the judiciary, both private legal practitioners and state counsel play a daily role in its functions. The Law Officers Department has responsibility for prosecuting and defending on behalf of the state, but its ability to perform this function is extremely constrained. The full complement of legal officers was 38 in the national office in Freetown alone, but at the time of research there were only 10 officers in Freetown and one, serving simultaneously as a customary law officer and state counsel, in the provinces. The deficiency was primarily due to poor remuneration, which made it impossible to attract even new graduates to government service. Although the Law Officers Department is empowered to prosecute cases on behalf of the state at any court level (save the local courts), in practice it had to hire private practitioners on contract for serious cases in the superior courts. It relied largely on the police to prosecute criminal cases at the magistrates' courts level.

Private practitioners, whose situation is not consistently as dire as that of their counterparts in government service or on the Bench, have also suffered from Sierra Leone's general economic collapse. Barristers lost their best source of income when almost all formal, large-scale commercial activity dried up by the latter half of the 1990s. Legal practice in Sierra Leone is to a large extent the domain of sole practitioners. Less than 10 per cent of barristers work in a firm. The result of a legal profession increasingly starved of revenue has been a sharp drop in pro bono legal assistance that barristers were once able to give in addition to their paid work.

The Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) is nevertheless an active body with a fully constituted executive, a human rights committee and an impressive record of service to the legal community. It has campaigned on a number of legal issues, some of which advocate for basic civil rights within the justice system rather than for the narrowly defined "interests" of private practitioners as a group of professionals. The SLBA has, for example, protested the use of police prosecutors in place of independent professional state prosecutors in the magistrates' courts, even though it might be more advantageous for defense barristers to face prosecutors with less specialist legal training than themselves.

The erosion of the machinery of justice is just one of the factors contributing to an altogether more fundamental problem: the general cultural erosion of the notion of criminal accountability and the rule of law. Sierra Leoneans' expectations of justice have been woefully low due to their accrued experience of failed court systems, powerful local militias and a weak police force. There are few parts of Sierra Leone where official courts, supported by policing and facilities for detention, have existed over the past ten years. Even before the civil war, under-capacity, corruption and arbitrariness had hobbled the authority of the courts. However, with the onset of chronic insecurity in 1991, a host of improvised justice systems' emerged to compete with or replace the state judiciary, just as vigilantism in the form of civil defense militias (CDF) filled the vacuum created by the retreating official Sierra Leone Army (SLA). As a result, the authority of the courts has been seriously eroded.

Outside Freetown and the provincial capitals of Bo and Kenema, the police Criminal Investigation Department freely admitted that at that time the local cells of the CDF supplied the sole guarantee of order and possibility for redress in criminal and civil matters. These local bodies were loosely organized but well armed and drew from a largely illiterate rural population. They dispensed an unpredictable brand of summary justice in what the police and members of the Bench refer to as `bush courts'. They were completely beyond the reach of official structures, and therefore of any means of appeal or standards of fair trial and predictable punishment. The CDF militias in some cases did and in some case did not co-operate with traditional authorities - Paramount Chiefs and Councils of Elders - and the local customary law courts, but it is widely reported that both Chiefs and local court Chairmen were powerless to challenge the power of militias. The savage violence meted out by the rebels to civilians is well documented, and has nothing to do with justice, regardless of the claims made by the RUF to this effect. There may be a form of traditional justice administered at the village level by the local courts, but these authorities have been powerless to resist or punish the abuses of the RUF over the past decade.

2. Modest contribution of the International Human Rights Law Group.
International Human Rights Law Group has a longstanding interest in promoting and protecting human rights in Sierra Leone. In June 1999, when Law Group Executive Director Gay McDougall visited Sierra Leone with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the National Forum for Human Rights, an umbrella organization composed of nearly thirty human rights organizations, requested that the Law Group establish a program of support for human rights NGOs in Sierra Leone. During the next year, the Law Group remained involved in Sierra Leone through serving as an expert consultant to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission, while maintaining close relationships with Sierra Leonean activists and human rights groups.

In 2001, International Human Rights Law Group opened its office in Freetown to respond consistently to the local NGO's needs. Examples of our work to date include:

Building the confidence and capacity of the local human rights community, allowing them to participate more effectively in deliberations over the political, security and human rights situation in the country. For example, Law Group support provided local NGOs with the capacity to participate constructively in national discussions concerning the relationship between the TRC and Special Court in December 2001.
Helping set the agenda for prioritizing reforms of the justice sector in Sierra Leone by organizing an important rule of law consultative conference in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Bar Association. The proceedings from the conference form the foundation of involvement by the World Bank and the British Department for International Development in this sector.
The Law Group provided technical support to the National Forum for Human Rights (NFHR), and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), in the production of the organization's first annual human rights report. This was the first comprehensive human rights report prepared by a Sierra Leonean organization in the post-conflict period. Through activities such as this, the Law Group has helped place the NFHR at the forefront of the human rights struggle as the most vibrant human rights coalition in Sierra Leone.

Facilitating the participation of four local activists in the 57th and 58th Sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The participants joined an annual Law Group training program on human rights reporting and advocacy at the UN Commission, which is the preeminent UN human rights forum. By bringing this knowledge and experience back to Sierra Leone, these activists have strengthened the capacity of the local human rights community to include UN human rights language in their engagements with government, thereby improving their skills and general confidence in presenting human rights arguments to Sierra Leonean government officials.
The Law Group was instrumental in the formation of the Women's Task Force in Sierra Leone. The Women's Task Force consults regularly with the Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to create an enabling environment that will encourage the participation of women at all levels in both of these transitional justice mechanisms in Sierra Leone. The Women's Task Force also pushed for the creation of a special unit to investigate gender-specific war crimes during the country's decade long civil war.
Driving and facilitating the formation of the NGO Steering Committee on the TRC that coordinated and organized the sensitization efforts on the TRC to ensure quality, synergy and maximum coverage of the country with funding from the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva.
• The Law Group, in collaboration with the NFHR, established the initial infrastructure for a Human Rights Resource Center at the Law Group's offices in Freetown. The Resource Center is currently equipped with a television, videocassette recorder and two computers with Internet access. With the addition of research materials, the Resource Center will become an invaluable asset to the human rights community in Freetown. The Resource Center also serves as a training center, where workshops are conducted and NGO activists meet on an informal basis. This has become an increasingly important space for NGO activities given poor infrastructure within the NGO community in Sierra Leone.
Advancing discussions around the concept of women's equality in inheritance rights. The Law Group has initiated a training program for two lawyers who will provide advice and information on inheritance issues to returning refugees and internally displaced persons especially in Kono, Kailahun and Koinadugu.
For these two years 2003-2004, International Human Rights Law Group will focus on two key areas of mobilizing civil society on anti-corruption issues and access to justice.
Mobilizing Civil Society on Anti-Corruption Issues: In mobilizing Sierra Leonean NGOs and grassroots communities, especially in Kono, Kailahun and Koinadugu, to effectively combat corruption at all levels, the Law Group will continue to provide formal training in advocacy, coalition building and grassroots mobilization, as well as informal mentoring support to build up strong networks of stakeholders to make the parliament and the government accountable. In particular the initial focus will be on various forms of advocacy, in conjunction with Freetown based networks, to force the government of Sierra Leone to take action on the cases presented for prosecution by the Anti-Corruption Commission that are yet to be prosecuted. In addition, the Law Group will introduce training on Grassroots Budget Tracking in the three geographical areas that will enable NGOs and CBOs to link budgetary figures for specific community development projects in their areas with actual disbursement of the funds to ensure accountability at both the national and local levels. Further, working in conjunction with Freetown NGOs and CBOs in Kono, Kailahun and Koinadugu, the Law Group will help civil society draft bills and mobilize their constituencies on anti-corruption legislation.
Access to Justice: To reduce tension between returnees, refugees, "remainees" and demobilized soldiers, and to encourage mechanisms of alternative dispute settlement and mediation, the Law Group will launch a program of access to justice that trains and works with credible CBOs in the three geographical areas to provide Community Liaison Officers who can act as mediators and settle disputes. This program will also work with the Court Barri in these areas.
Finally, the Law Group would like to reflect with its partners the best ways the Special Court, which is unique in the international criminal practice, could benefit the Sierra Leone judiciary before it completes its work. It would be very unfortunate to see the domestic justice system continue to function inefficiently after Sierra Leone has accommodated an international court for more than three years.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished Commissioners, the Law Group is pleased to make the following recommendations:

1. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen, the Law Group learnt with dismay that there is an unbelievable inadequacy of personnel to deliver justice to the people of Sierra Leone, especially the indigent. One of the factors that might be responsible for this is the deplorable salaries and conditions of service. To salvage this ugly situation, we strongly urge the Government to:

• consider improving the conditions of service and salaries that could be very instrumental in improving the delivery of justice because we believe that functionaries of the judiciary are hugely demoralized because of their low salaries. Although it may not be the solution to the perceived corruption, an increase, we believe must be part of any serious law reform effort. Thus far, we are informed that eighty-six (86) Justices of the Peace have begun work but these usually retired honourable citizens engaged in providing valuable support to their communities need enough legal education and training to be able to fulfill their difficult mission. To this end, UNDP and the Sierra Leone Bar Association and other NGOs could be encouraged to conduct regular workshops to continuously train JPs on the legal issues they are facing. Moreover, the daily sitting fee of Le 3,000 (plus Le 2,000) travel reimbursement is meager and needs to be revisited.
• A grant system for law students be put in place so that it is made obligatory for them to serve the government before proceeding on private practice.

However, for this to be achieved there has to be the political will on the part of the government and an additional indication or willingness of the functionaries to accept change and members of the donor community, human rights and civil society groups to give them the required support.

2. DEATH PENALTY: Mr. Chairman distinguished Commissioners, the Law Group believes that it is becoming increasingly accepted international practice to abolish the death penalty. Sierra Leone should consider the option of outlawing the death penalty for all crimes and thus establish itself at the forefront of international human rights law. It is likely that there will be enough support in the Sierra Leone legal community to lobby on a concerted basis for the abolition of the death penalty. This would be consistent with other ongoing human rights and reconciliation efforts currently occurring in the country and would signal the country's commitment to the value of life. Moreover, the imposition of the death penalty in a country with inadequate legal representation and widespread illiteracy is especially hazardous and unfair. Many impoverished defendants have no resources to appeal their sentences. Thus, from a standpoint of judicial fairness, it would be prudent to repeal the death penalty. A campaign for such could be orchestrated through the Sierra Leone Bar Association and domestic and international human rights groups. These groups could form a committee to study the death penalty and lobby parliament and the executive to consider changes to the current law.

3. HUMAN RIGHTS: The Lome Peace Agreement makes provision for an independent National Human Rights Commission which has to date not being established. It is our hope that such an institution could be set up to monitor human rights developments in the country. Furthermore, the introduction of human rights in school curriculums to make them knowledgeable and aware of human rights. This would obviously require the Bar Association, NGOs and related agencies conducting workshops and providing them with educational materials. Personnel of the courts as well as the lawyers deserve and need to be adequately trained in human rights and other updated international standards of undertaking their duties so that minimum standards are maintained.

4. CORRUPTION:
Internal Leadership and Code of Conduct:
Corruption presents a monumental problem to fair and equal justice in Sierra Leone. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that will take care of this problem. As mentioned, one part of the alleviation of corruption lies in increased salaries for judicial personnel. Nonetheless, more important than any financial disincentive will be principled leadership from within. Therefore, it is imperative that the judiciary be subjected to a binding code of conduct. The Chief Justice of the Sierra Leone Bar Association should draft a code of conduct that sets out clear principles. Thus, the fight against corruption must start from the top - as the saying goes leadership by example.

Corruption Legislation: Parallel to a push for internal corruption measures, parliament must pass and implement much tougher anti-corruption laws. The current provisions are simply inadequate and rarely enforced.

5. Law Reform: The existence of obsolete and archaic laws in the Sierra Leone judicial system continue to render the system retarded and unwilling to adapt to the changes of our times. The preservation of draconian customary laws compounds the problem of discrimination against women and children thereby paying lip-service to several international covenants/instruments especially the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed and ratified by the Government of Sierra Leone. The Law Group therefore strongly urges the Government through the Law Reform Commission and encourages the Law Reform Initiative recently launched by some legal practitioners to continue the nationwide consultations on an acceptable level of harmonization of these laws for them to reflect the views and interests of Sierra Leoneans irrespective of their sex and regions of origin.
Bearing in mind the dramatic increase in the occurrence of sexual and gender based violence throughout the country, the open manner in which the courts prosecute such cases and the consequent stigmatization suffered by the victims as well as the exorbitant amounts requested by medical practitioners to examine victims, the Law Group urges the Government to:

• ensure that SGBV cases are heard in camera so that prosecuting witness are well protected and that the victim is protected from public eye.
• minimal charges are requested from victims of sexual violence
• criminalise the refusal of persons to provide evidence for cases of sexual and gender based violence crimes.
• Include child trafficking, the use of other objects in rape as offences in the laws of Sierra Leone
We also strongly encourage non-governmental organizations that have women and child protection as part of their mandates to collaborate with government agencies to ensure that the public is made aware of these crimes and the negative impact that these acts could have on the lives of the victims.

6. Legal Profession Development and Education: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, The recent history of Sierra Leone demands that today's and tomorrow's generation of lawyers are educated in the area of human rights and international humanitarian law to assist the country in its arduous rebuilding process. This could be made less onerous if proposals are made for the incorporation of these courses into the curriculum. Simultaneously, funding needs to be sought to entice additional professors or lecturers to cover these areas of law.

Diversify Legal Expertise: Coupled with this, the Sierra Leone Bar Association needs to take responsibility on specialized law training. The Bar could form committees of interested members focusing on various topics. Substantive support would be possible through international organizations in Sierra Leone. Furthermore, the Bar Association should attempt to initiate partnerships with international bar associations. These partnerships could lead to mutual exchanges and further assistance to Sierra Leone's legal system.

International Legal Expertise: The currently assembled international legal talent should be tapped for the benefit of Sierra Leone's Judiciary. Workshops in international humanitarian law and human rights law could be conducted by numerous international practitioners and institutions in the country ( e.g. the Special Court, UNDP, DFID). These workshops for lawyers, judges, magistrates and JPs could be jointly organized by the Sierra Leone Bar Association on a regular basis.

7. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, it is also the conviction of the International Human Rights Law Group that the combination of the offices of Minister of Justice and that of Attorney General should be separate to ensure independence and practical separation of powers. We would therefore encourage the Government to consider separating these two offices as an important ingredient in the process of democratization.

I thank you very much for your attention and look forward to continued cooperation with the Commission.




THE JUDICIARY, THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND THE RULE OF LAW (INCLUDING THE SPECIAL COURT AND ISSUES OF AMNESTY AND IMPUNITY)

BY GEORGE BANDA THOMAS
MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

The Constitutions of the majority of modern states have as one of its fundamental principles the ""Rule of Law". This is simply the concept that the government itself, including the president and ministers, the members of the judiciary and the parliamentarians are subject to and must abide by the laws of the state. Central to this issue is the thought that all men are equal in the eyes of the law and must abide by the laws of the state. The rule of law is one of the central guiding principles of the modern state and for any nation to be accepted in the comity of nations this idea should be the bed rock and foundation of its laws.

In the absence of the rule of law, there is tyranny and dictatorship. Paradoxically where the rule of law is present in any state and working effectively, citizens will see the laws passed by government as promoting the good of all in a reasonably equal manner and therefore feel an obligation to obey them. They will not see the laws as merely restraints imposed on them by the privileged ruling class, but as a means of establishing a system of rules and regulations where the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the affluent and the under privileged can coexist. The members of the government must themselves see that they are subject to the law of the land.

Certain criteria must be present for the effective operation of the rule of law. One of these is the existence of a democratic state, where the government of the day is elected by the majority of the people of that state. It is this government that is entrusted with the sacred task of enacting laws for the benefit of the general good of the people.  Laws that will apply generally to all persons in the state irrespective of race, colour, religion or sex. It is submitted that there can be no true democracy in the absence of the rule of law. These two concepts democracy and the rule of law have a symbiotic relationship. The citizens may be more likely to obey the laws passed by persons that they themselves have chosen from amongst them.

The Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991 makes sufficient provisions for the protection of all persons in Sierra Leone. Chapter 3 of the Constitution from sections 15 through 29 contains provisions protecting the fundamental human rights of the all persons residing in this country. Whilst guaranteeing these freedoms, the constitution ensures that in the enjoyment of these rights and privileges the rights of others are not impaired. The constitution secures the right to due process of law, the protection of life, freedom of conscience, association, etc which are the ingredients that make for equality of all persons within this country. It is submitted that the fundamental rights of all citizens and persons within Sierra Leone are adequately secured by the constitution. Incidentally our Ruling Party's Constitution states as one of the aims and objectives of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and I quote ""To promote the rule of law, fundamental human rights, genuine social justice, constitutional rule, and other democratic values, institutions and practices in Sierra Leone as essential prerequisites of good governance;"

Although the National Constitution does not contain any explicit provision which states that the Government, the President and his Ministers, the Parliamentarians and the Members of the Judiciary, are expected to abide by the law, it is submitted that this is implied. One has only to study the oaths of offices of these various officials as prescribed under second and third schedule of that document to see that all officials are expected to preserve, support, uphold, maintain and defend the same constitution and to do right to all manner of people within the sovereign territory of this country. In fact all of them may be removed from office for violation of the constitution. Section 51 of the constitution for instance provides for the removal from office of the President in the event of violation of the constitution or any gross misconduct.

The Anti-Corruption Act No. 1 of 2000 is a very good example of one instance in which the highest officials of this country have been explicitly subjected to criminal prosecution in the same manner as other more ordinary officers of the sate. To date a Minister of State and a Judge of the High Court have been charged and prosecuted under this act. It is also true to say that our criminal code by and large is applicable to and enforceable against government executives as well as parliamentarians. In the recent past a senior Parliamentarian of our Ruling Party was prosecuted for Assault and an opposition MP has been facing a criminal charge.

Some of the factors that are directly relevant for the effective operation of the rule of law in any state are a high rate of literacy and observance of due process by all members of the legal profession responsible for the implementation of the law. The legal profession has a pivotal role to play for the effective implementation of the rule of law, especially in the light of the high level of illiteracy in this country. I should at this juncture note that government and various non-governmental organizations have been of great assistance in the education of the masses of their rights as secured by the law.

Numerous programs over the radio and television have assisted in educating the citizens of this country of their rights under law. Ministers, Parliamentarians, Lawyers Policemen and other public officers have all been over the wires explaining to the public their right on various matters ranging from traffic matters, bail, the rights of women and children etc.

The existence of an accessible and affordable judicial system is also of invaluable assistance to the operation of the rule of law. The legal system must be accessible and affordable by all, from the man in the city to the man in the village in the provinces. The rebel war had the effect of disrupting and indeed completely destroying the system of administration of the law and justice in all of Sierra Leone except Freetown. Even in Freetown the system of administration of the law was greatly impaired by the rebel war. However progress has been made in the reconstruction of the courts infrastructure in Freetown and in the provinces by the government. Part of the reconstruction of the judiciary should involve the engagement of competent Lawyers to serve as Judges and Magistrates. Although government has made numerous approaches to the most qualified practitioners unfortunately most of them have not accepted the offers. The issue of legal aid for the poor is also relevant to having an accessible system of justice.

Let me say that government is committed to continuing to create an enabling environment for the operation and promotion of the Rule of Law. Given our violent and destructive past as a nation, we are faced with increasing challenges. Firstly there is the need to reconstruct legal and judicial frameworks having gone through so much destruction. Secondly the need to weigh the demand for immediate justice against the need for comprehensive legal and judicial reforms.

Thirdly the shortage of qualified and capable Lawyers, Judges and other legal personnel.

Fourthly the total collapse of the institution and destruction of judicial infrastructure. In an attempt to adequately address these concerns government has embarked on several programmes and projects.

  1. It has established a law reform commission
  2. There is now a functioning elected and independent legislative. Government and its partners are now giving Parliament the required support to build its capacity for lawmaking and carrying out its oversight functions.
  3. In an effort to deal with transitional justice issues, there are the TRC and The special Court. Our aim has been to allow the country to move forward within a system that fosters national peace and reconciliation.
  4. With regard to the Ministry of Justice, Judiciary, Police and Prisons. Government policy has been geared towards rebuilding their facilities and restructuring and building or enhancing the capacities of these institutions. In sum let me emphases that the Rule of Law is not a rule. It is not a law rather it is an expression that signifies a concept. The following are a number of broad principles underlying the concept of the rule of law:

    (i)    The right of every nation to representative and responsible government including protection of civil liberties;

    (ii)    The need for proper control of delegated legislation and the provision of adequate remedies for the protection of the individual's rights

    (iii)    The strengthening of the independence of the judiciary as well as the ensuring of an organized and autonomous legal profession. I pause here to say that in this jurisdiction there exists a very organized and hopefully autonomous legal profession.

    (iv)    The right of an accused person to a fair hearing before an impartial and independent tribunal constituted by law; the adoption of the presumption of innocence, and the right of an appeal as part of the criminal procedure of every country and the avoidance of cruel, degrading or inhuman punishments.

There is no doubt as to the immense assistance of the Judiciary and the legal profession to the application and promotion of the rule of law in this country. It is my considered view that in order to enhance their role, there is need for code of ethics for both the Bar and Bench. The Legal Practitioners Act No. 15 of 2000 is a step in this direction regarding the provision of a code of ethics for the Bar. Section 4 (2) (d) of that act empowers the general legal council to prescribe the standard of professional conduct and code of etiquette for legal practitioners. Unfortunately the council has still not drawn up this document. There is need for the Judicial and Legal Service Commission to make similar rules.

Similarly, there is an urgent need for Judges and Magistrates to adopt a code of conduct for judicial officers. There is a need for judicial officers to actively participate in establishing, maintaining and enforcing and observing high standards of conduct so that the integrity and respect for the independence of the judiciary is preserved. I would further submit that an independent, strong, and respected and respectable Judiciary is indispensable for the impartial administration of Justice in a democratic state such as ours.

It must also be emphasized that the bench must hear and determine cases as expeditiously as possible. Judgments must be delivered not later than three months after the conclusion of the evidence and the address by counsel as stipulated by the constitution. There must be adherence to due process by all officials of the Court involved in the administration of justice. An important issue here is that of bail. There is a need for the provision of practice directions to be given to guide the bench and the prosecution on this matter. Incarceration of accused persons on trial for invariably lengthy period of trial has the effect of defeating the presumption of innocence and denying justice.

In closing I should say that development of the rule of law in any state is a process. This government has taken numerous steps in the right direction and I am sure will continue to do more to develop the culture of a state where all men are subject to the law of the land. The legal profession has a most important role to play both in fostering the culture of the rule of law and in the nursing and guardianship of meaningful democracy in this country. Judges must be vigilant to ensure that due process of law is observed by the executive and the other organs of state responsible for implementing the law. The Judiciary must jealously guard and protect the rights of the citizens as established by law.

THE SPECIAL COURT AND ISSUES OF AMNESTY AND IMPUNITY
The Lome peace Agreement was signed on the 7th July 1999 and it was later enacted in Sierra Leone as the Lome Peace Agreement (Ratification) Act.

Article ix provided for an "absolute and Free Pardon for Corporal Foday Sankoh and for an amnesty for all other combatants in respect of anything done by them in pursuit of their objectives as members of those organization, since March 1991 up to the signing of the Agreement".

It may be necessary to consider Amnesty provision in relation to the constitution of Sierra Leone and The Special Court Agreement (Ratification) Act 2002, To enable the commission to appreciate the background facts that led to an amnesty provision and later an enactment for a Special Court I would refer to a portion of President Kabba's speech to the Royal Commonwealth society on the 24th July 2003.

"A major problem we have had to contend with in our efforts to sustain lasting peace and development in our country is impunity. We can all recall how the Government had to agree to the granting of a near-blanket amnesty to the RUF and renegade elements of our army, as well as their leaderships, in order to bring the war to an end. The people of Sierra Leone were unanimously against this amnesty but eventually accepted it as the price of peace.

Concern continued to be expressed, however, about granting amnesty to people who had committed some of the most heinous crimes known to man. It was felt that peace could not be sustained without justice and that all human rights violations should be investigated; and redress provided for the victims. We are pleased to report that the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN have been able to set up both a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court to address this issue.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is gradually promoting healing and Reconciliation by providing a conducive climate for constructive exchanges between victims and perpetrators so that the victims can regain their human dignity and perpetrators given the opportunity to repent. The Special Court, on the other hand, is set up to bring to book those who bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities committed during the war. Both institutions are progressing well. We are convinced that they will achieve their objectives of addressing impunity, responding to the needs of the victims of the war and preventing a repetition of the violation of human rights that occurred during the war".

Let me stress that even after the execution of the Lome Agreement and its Amnesty provision the atrocities continued unabated. This was in marked contrast to the situation in the country following the setting up of the Special Court - namely an end to atrocities and impunity.

Transitional justice is and has been a troubling human rights issue. The question that is most commonly asked is how should States emerging from periods of serious human rights violations frame the relationship among truth, justice, and reconciliation? Some jurists pose the issue as a difficult balance between punishment and reconciliation while others see truth or, alternatively, justice, as a precondition for reconciliation. Human rights advocates generally have adopted the latter position, without clearly defining under what conditions and through what methods justice should achieved.

The paths chosen by states are now viewed as issues of international concern, rather than solely domestic matters. In the last ten years, there has been a wave of change, prompted both by the end of the cold war, and by recognition that failure to come to terms with past cycles of violation may lead to future violations. International human rights groups now routinely demand and assess accountability for past violations, and anti-impunity measures are no longer simply a question of national choice. It is therefore not surprising that The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations attached to the Lome Peace Agreement the following caveat:

"The United Nations interprets that the amnesty and pardon in Article 9 of this agreement shall not apply to international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of international law."

Article 10 of the statute of the Special court provides that:

"An Amnesty granted to any person falling within the jurisdiction of the Special Court............ shall not be a bar to prosecution."
In my view this article to some extent addresses the issue of Amnesty granted under the Lome Agreement. Additionally also it may be argued that the Amnesty provisions must be considered in the light of the constitutional provision which guarantee the rights to life liberty and judicial protection.

Let me end by saying that it is the hope and prayer of our Party the SLPP and the government and people of Sierra Leone that justice be done to all. As a Lawyer and Legal Adviser to our Party it is my considered view that minimum international standards guaranteeing fair trial for Accused persons are provided for in the Special Court Act.


  
THE JUDICIARY, THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND THE RULE OF LAW (INCLUDING THE SPECIAL COURT AND ISSUES OF AMNESTY AND IMPUNITY)

The Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991 establishes the Judiciary of Sierra Leone as an independent third organ of Government. The Judiciary consists of the entire body of courts and the machinery that governs them. As Chief Justice I am the Head of the Judiciary and, acting on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, I am responsible for the effective and efficient administration of the Judiciary.

The Judicature consists of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, the Court of Appeal and the High Court which are the superior courts of record and the courts of first instance comprise the Magistrates' Courts and the Local Courts. The Superior Court of Judicature has the power to commit for contempt if circumstances warrant such a procedure.

By s.121 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court should comprise of the Chief Justice and not less than four other Supreme Court Justices. It is the final court of appeal for criminal and civil cases. It has jurisdictions both appellate and original as in addition to hearing appeals, it can hear applications to interprete the Constitution of Sierra Leone. The Supreme Court while treating its own previous decisions as normally binding may depart from a previous decision when it appears right to do so.    All other courts are bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal should comprise of the Chief Justice and not less than seven Court of Appeal Justices. A panel of three Justices of Appeal shall hear all appeals. The Court of Appeal has only appellate functions and hears both civil and criminal appeals from the decision of the High Court.

The High Court should comprise of the Chief Justice and not less than nine High Court Judges. The High Court has jurisdiction to hear any criminal or civil matter that comes before it for trial. It also exercises appellate function for cases from the inferior courts.

The Magistrates Courts operate under the provisions of the Courts Act, Act No. 31 of 1965 and hold summary trials for criminal offences and less serious civil matters. These courts do not have jurisdiction over more serious offences such as murder, arson and rape though these cases can be heard on preliminary investigation to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant committing the case to the High Court for trial. Over 80 per cent of all cases heard in the courts are heard at the Magistrates Courts.

The Local courts are established by the Local Courts Act, Act No. 20 of 1963. They have limited jurisdiction and can only try customary law matters. These courts are presided over by local court chairmen who are usually Elders of the Chiefdom. A customary law officer who is legally qualified advises and supervises the court chairmen. These courts unlike the other formal courts do not fall within the administrative jurisdiction of the Judiciary. Appeals from the local courts are heard by the District Appeal Court which is the Magistrate Court operating within the area where the local court is situated. The District Appeal Court is presided over by a Magistrate sitting with two assessors who are familiar and knowledgeable in customary law. Appeals from the District Appeal Court are heard by the High Court where the presiding Judge sits with two assessors.    Further appeals may be made to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court. Under the Local Courts Act 1963 a solicitor does not have audience in the local courts.

This in brief is a description of the various courts in the land.

THE JUDICIARY AND THE 10 YEARS CONFLICT
Before 1991 when the RUF rebels launched their incursion into Kailahun in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, there was at least one functioning Magistrate Court in each of the 12 provincial districts.    In fact in some of the major provincial towns such as Bo, Kenema and Makeni, two magistrate courts operated in each of these towns.    High Courts also operated in the provinces, Bo Kenema and Makeni, with the Judge in Bo going on trek to Moyamba, the Judge in Kenema travelling to Kono and Sefadu and the one in Makeni, covering Port Loko.

Needless to say as the war spread over the country, and the security situation worsened, the judges and Magistrates in the provinces had to return to Freetown and gradually the functioning of the courts there ceased.

Much of the infrastructure of the court system was destroyed during the war years as the rebels actually made Government Institutions such as Courts, and Police Stations their main targets. By 2000, steps were being taken to have the courts resume sittings again. Thus by September 2000, there was one Magistrate Court functioning in both Bo and Kenema and another Magistrate sitting in Lungi to cover the rebel controlled Northern Province. None of the High Courts could resume court sittings and it was only in 2001 that a Judge was able to start court sitting in Bo and much later the same Judge was able to cover Kenema High Court as well as Moyamba High Court.

In the meantime as you can imagine, there was a complete breakdown of law and order in most of the provinces. The prisons, where they were functioning were overcrowded. The Police in their own way settled differences as far as they were able. The Local Courts too helped to alleviate the situation by hearing matters which were brought before them under customary law. However it is true to state that for about five years during the height of the conflict no serious crimes or dispute could be heard or tried in the courts in any judicial district in the provinces.

It has been alleged, that one of the reasons why the courts were made particular targets of the rebels and in fact, one of the main causes of the war has been allegedly the non-availability of justice for the ordinary citizen, the delays in the system and lack of effective access to justice by one and all. In short the citizens had lost faith in the Judiciary.

These feelings did not just arise at once but as a result of a gradual erosion of the justice system in the country. Over the years, succeeding Governments have tended to neglect the Judiciary and failed to make adequate financial provision to meet the needs of the Department. The system of `self accounting' formerly used successfully by the Judiciary in the 1970s and which enabled it to use the income it received from court fees and fines and other services it provided to fund its operations was removed by Government. The judiciary thereafter became wholly financially dependent on the Ministry of Finance for its funding. The financial provisions made to the Department proved woefully inadequate and this has resulted in the downward trend of the Judiciary.

However, I am happy to report that since the realisation of peace in the country and the resumption of political stability, the Judiciary has been making giant strides towards the restoration of the rule of law throughout Sierra Leone. The court system has been re-established throughout Sierra Leone including Kailahun where the conflict started. The High Court now operates in Bo, Moyamba, Kenema, Port Loko and Makeni. There are Magistrates Courts operating in all the 12 Judicial Districts. However, the Judiciary is still faced with the grave problem of shortage of personnel. At present there is only one High Court Judge presiding in the Provinces and the Magistrates courts are presided over mainly by Justices of the Peace who through the help of the UNDP have undergone some training.

THE SPECIAL COURT AND ITS IMPACT ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM OF SIERRA LEONE
With the restoration of peace and stability and the rule of law in the country, attention needs to be drawn to making accountable those who were responsible for the conflict.  The Special Court for Sierra Leone is governed by its statute, an annex to the Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The Rules of procedure and evidence are adapted with necessary changes from the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (as amended).

The jurisdiction of the Special Court is to prosecute persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the following crimes, committed in Sierra Leone since 30 November 1996: serious violations of International Humanitarian Law (war crimes); Crimes against humanity, namely murder, enslavement, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, torture, persecution and other inhumane acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population; Crimes under Sierra Leonean law relating to sexual violence against children and malicious damage to homes, public and other buildings.

It is interesting to note that there are two categories of persons never before prosecuted by an International Tribunal, namely Peacekeepers and Juveniles who will face the jurisdiction of the Special Court. However, substantial conditions will have to be satisfied before any prosecution of a Peacekeeper can be undertaken. In the case of a Peacekeeper, the Special Court can prosecute only if the sending State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the prosecution.

In the case of juveniles, they are regarded as being between the ages of 15 and 18.  This has been a controversial issue. However, it is provided that they will not be sentenced to prison but if convicted, the Special Court may order a variety of correction and rehabilitative care.  If given the fact that the Special Court only prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for violations, it is unlikely that juveniles will be prosecuted. When determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on persons found guilty before the Court, the Special Court will follow the sentencing practices of Sierra Leone Courts as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The Court will therefore be entitled to impose custodial sentences. Additionally, the Special Court will have the power to order forfeiture of any convicted person's property, proceeds and assets which were considered to be acquired unlawfully. These will be returned to their rightful owner or to the state of Sierra Leone.

However in sentencing the Special Court will not follow the laws of Sierra Leone which still has the death penalty in its statute books. It will therefore not be able to impose the death penalty.

The imposing of the death penalty is still a controversial issue around the world as more and more countries are abolishing or have abolished the death penalty. It is understood that some countries would not have been willing to finance a court which has the power to impose the death penalty. In fact the two International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia did not have such powers.

At the planning stage our fear at the Judiciary was that with the establishment of the Special Court the Judiciary would lose a number of its staff to the more lucrative conditions of service offered by the court. However up till now we have only lost 2 members of staff, namely a Justice of the Court of Appeal and our Deputy Master and Registrar.

Indeed the work of the Special Court has actually started and I do hope it will not interfere greatly with operations of the Judiciary. I believe the Judiciary will benefit from the infrastructure expected to be left behind when the Special Court would have completed their work.

ISSUES OF AMNESTY AND IMPUNITY AND THEIR IMPACT ON SOCIETY
As in the case of many countries that have made the painful transition from conflict to peace, Sierra Leone has faced monumental challenges in instituting the legal and judicial reforms that are vital for the sustenance of peace and law and order after a conflict. Demand for immediate justice usually overwhelms the capacity of post-conflict governments to initiate comprehensive legal and judicial reforms. The first few years after the end of a violent conflict, such as we have experienced here, are dominated by efforts to establish accountability and breaking the cycle of impunity.   

This is considered as being the key to creating conditions for peace and stability. The first steps taken by the Government were to establish legal and judicial structures aimed at dealing with impunity.    Efforts were made with the help of some bilateral donors to establish a legal mechanism for trials to take place in the country of those accused of having perpetrated the war. The creation of the Special Court to prosecute the war criminals in Sierra Leone is therefore to put an end to the cycle of impunity.

In addition to the concept of prosecution and punishment via the courts, the Government had also turned its focus on reconciliation as is characterised by the Lome Peace Accord signed in July 1999. The initial reaction of most Sierra Leoneans to the Government's signing the Lome Accord was that it was a terrible compromise forced upon the Government by an International Community unwilling to vest resources and troops in Sierra Leone. This was mainly because of the amnesty provisions which protected ex-combatants and granted free and absolute pardon to people who perpetrated atrocities during the war in Sierra Leone since 1991 and for anything done during the course of the conflict before the signing of the agreement in July 1999.

However the fear that these war criminals will escape justice was removed with the creation of the Special Court and particularly the provisions of Article 10 of the statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, viz: "An Amnesty granted to any person falling within the jurisdiction of the special court in respect of crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious violations of International Humanitarian Law shall not be a bar to prosecution ".

On the basis of this and general principles of international law, the amnesty provisions of Lome Accord will not prevent war criminals from being prosecuted for violations of international humanitarian law before the Special Court. Therefore those crimes committed after July 1999 will be investigated and prosecuted before the Special Court.

EXISTING SHORTCOMINGS IN THE SYSTEM INCLUDING LEGAL POLITICAL AND OTHER ISSUES
I have already dealt with the status of the Judiciary including its composition. I have also dealt in passing with some of the problems facing the Judiciary. I shall now take this opportunity to elaborate on these problems. It has been argued that there is a causal link between past abuses in the justice system and the conflict and that the frustration with the justice system was a contributory factor in causing the war. This, it is alleged, was the reason why during the course of the war, court buildings, prisons and police stations throughout the country were targeted and either completely destroyed or severely damaged. Nothing can however excuse the brutality visited on the Sierra Leone population by the rebels.

We must be honest and admit that hitherto, the justice sector had limited scope and capacity and was inaccessible for the needs of the poor. Access to the justice system-the police, courts and legal representative in particular-is characterised by expense, delays and geographical remoteness. It is certainly not equipped either in terms of physical infrastructure of systems and processes, or personnel to meet the needs of the ordinary citizens.

Let me highlight a few of the problems:

Court Personnel
The Judiciary is presently facing an acute shortage of personnel especially in the professional cadre.   

The following breakdown graphically illustrates the acute nature of the problem.

SUPREME COURT
Establishment - Not less than 5 Justices
No. in post - 2 Substantive Justices
                 - 4 Acting Justices

COURT OF APPEAL
Establishment - Not less than 7 Justices
No. in post - 2 Substantive Justices
                 - 2 Acting Justices

HIGH COURT
Establishment - Not less than 9 Justices
No. in post - 5 Substantive Justice
                 - 2 Acting Judges

MAGISTRATES
Principal Magistrates
Establishment - 7 Principal Magistrates
No. in post - 1 Substantive
                 - 4 Acting Judges

Senior Magistrates
Establishment - 5 Senior Magistrates
No. in post - 1 substantive

Magistrates
Establishment - 14 Magistrates
No. in post - 5 Substantive
                 - 2 Temporary

REGISTRARS
Supreme Court
Establishment - 1 Registrar
No. in post - Nil

Court of Appeal
Establishment - 1 Registrar
No. in post - Nil

High Court
Establishment - 3 i.e. 1 Master and Registrar; 2 Deputy Masters
No. in post - 1 Master and Registrar
                - 1 Deputy Master and Registrar

The reason for this is the extremely poor conditions of service and remuneration.  Though strenuous efforts have been made on my part to recruit members of the Bar, I have not been able to attract the right calibre of men and women.  Usually the combination of superior financial compensation and prestige leads the most accomplished members of the Bar to move to the Bench. In Sierra Leone it is apparent that only love of one's country or of the profession can motivate private practitioners to leave their practice for the Bench. Since my appointment as Chief Justice I have myself made frantic efforts to lure especially some of the senior members of the Bar into the bench.  Regrettably, all my endeavours have proved futile. Of course, I do understand the reason for their reluctance.

Even the young do not show any interest in the judiciary.

In a paper written for the British Council on the Structure of the Judicial System in overseas Territories, the writer Sir Albert Napier, Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor 1944 to 1954 emphasised that: "A judge ought to have a high salary and an adequate pension. That is not only because of the heavy responsibilities of his office.    The financial reward must be sufficient to induce a successful advocate to relinquish not only his private practice but many of his outside activities as well, and to compensate him for life long limitation on the additional sources of income available to him. For example, directorships in companies and parastatals, which are open to many men in salaried occupation, are denied to a Judge. Pensions cannot be calculated in the same way as those of other public officers, since preferment to the Bench come comparatively late in life."

Our situation has been made more problematic by the provision of section 138 (4) of the Constitution that: "A Judge of the superior Court of Judicature shall not while he continues in office, hold any other office of profit or emollition, whether by way of allowances or otherwise, whether private or public, and either directly or indirectly."

In the recent Commonwealth Colloquium on combating corruption within the Judiciary held in Limasul Cyprus from 25th - 27th June 2000 Justice Weeramantry of the Supreme Court of Srilanka stressed the importance of the obligations of every government to uphold the integrity of the Judiciary by ensuring that the pay and conditions of service, are done in manner befitting the Judiciary. It is clear that unless some positive steps are taken by Government to alleviate this situation, the complaint of delays in the court system will continue to be made.

Financial Provision
I have mentioned supra the earlier system of self-accounting enjoyed by the Judiciary.  I will reiterate that presently the Judiciary is starved of financial provision. There must be a fundamental improvement in budget allocations and priorities to be able to maintain a justice system envisaged for the 21 st century. Presently the Judiciary has had to rely mainly on donor support from foreign institutions and governments.

A major source of funding has come from the UK Government through its Department for International Development (DFID) managed under the Law Development Programme. The Project has been largely responsible for the rebuilding of damaged or destroyed infrastructure, providing logistical support and vehicles and giving training to personnel. Other assistance from DFID has also been given to other arms of the Justice system such as the Law Officers' Department, the Police, the Anti-corruption commission and Local Government. The UNDP has also assisted the courts in financing the training of Justices of the Peace who now preside over most of the Magistrates' courts in the Provinces in the absence of stipendiary Magistrates. UNAMSIL through its trust fund has been able to assist us with the provision of funds for furnishing and for the provision of office equipment for magistrate courts in the provinces.

In as much as these international donors have done a considerable job in improving the justice system in Sierra Leone, the Government too must be made aware that increased financial provision has to be made not only to sustain these infrastructure but to continue with the modernisation and improvement already commenced.

Conclusion
Inspite of the strides made by the judiciary in this relatively short period since the restoration of peace in the country, there is still massive investment required to be done in terms of professional and support staff, both in conditions of service, training, provision of logistics and facilities. Only solid inducements such as decent salaries, provision of transport, accommodation and so on can entice qualified barristers to take up appointment in Government service. With the resumption of courts in the provinces there is a need for new staff now more than ever before to man these courts. Acquiring new staff and getting them trained is therefore a priority.

Another challenge facing the judiciary is to reverse the perception of corruption and to create a Bench that is impartial and respected. Recruiting foreign Commonwealth Judges can only be a short term solution to the problem. Improving the salaries and general condition of service, introducing exchanges and training programmes, reducing the delays in delivery of judgments and making the appeals process more accessible and faster are the surest methods of improving standards of justice and giving the public a better perception of the justice system in Sierra Leone.

The maintenance of an independent and impartial judiciary is an expensive exercise.  Judges and Magistrates must be paid well to deflect the considerable temptation they inevitably encounter when they hold the power of the law in their hands.  It is clear that because of national budgetary constraints the Government would be hard pressed to make any marked improvement in the salary and conditions of service in the judiciary and reliance may have to be placed on foreign assistance.  Suggestions have been made for a payroll trust fund to be set up as a solution to this problem. There has been much debate on this topic. Regrettably, some of the donor agencies have categorically stated that their regulations, in particular their accounting rules and conventions will not make it possible for them to make the necessary endowment. The agencies insist that action regarding salaries must be taken by Government. It is therefore incumbent on the Government to take the necessary steps to ensure the independence of the judiciary by the provision of adequate salary structure for judicial personnel, maintain a sound infrastructure both in the Western Area and the Provinces, provide adequate transportation, fuel and security, set up proper case management systems, as well as provide essential logistics. There should also be made available opportunity for judicial officers at all levels to acquire formal training or to attend conferences, exchanges and generally be exposed to other legal systems.

Recommendations

  1. Government of Sierra Leone needs to take urgent steps to improve salaries and conditions of service of the judiciary at all levels. This would entail major infusion of funds.
  2. The resumption of the system of "self-accounting" or alternately the provision of adequate financial allocations to the Judiciary by Government
  3. There should be an effective and regular supervision of the local court by customary law officers from the Law Officers' Department. These officers should be provided with adequate transport and suitable accommodation.
  4. To speed up the process for court matters and appeals, steps should be taken to modernise the various registries by introducing modern computerised records systems and case management. In this regard more stenographers should be employed who should be given specialised training in the use of the modern court equipment.
  5. Assistance is required from International donor agencies for the inclusion of programmes that provide Judges and Magistrates with exposure to practice in other Commonwealth jurisdictions, attendance at conferences and international judicial colloquia.
  6. Serious attention should be put into law reporting in Sierra Leone. This has suffered severe setback over the years. Steps should now be taken urgently to resume this task with adequate funding being provided by Government with assistance from International donor agencies.
  7. The Law Review Commission, recently re-constituted, must be given the facilities and resources necessary to undertake the task of updating the laws of Sierra Leone.
  8. In view of the public perception that the average citizen's access to justice is compromised because of its expense, a legal aid programme funded by the Sierra Leone Government should be formulated and set up as soon as financially possible.
  9. To provide adequate transportation and fuel and drivers for all Judges and Magistrates, particularly those presiding over courts in the Provinces.
  10. To provide 24 hour security guards for all Judges as stipulated in the Judges conditions of Service Regulations, 1986.



SUBMISSION TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILATION COMMISSION

BY OLIVER  O. NYLANDER EQS. PRESIDENT OF THE
SIERRA LEONE BAR ASSOCIATION

The Judiciary is one of the three arms of Government the other being the executive and the Legislature. Successive Governments have over the years neglected and or failed to pay due attention to the needs and problems of the judiciary. As a result there has been a sharp decline in the quality of Justice dispense by the Courts, which has resulted in the rule of law being eroded and the public loosing confidence in the judiciary. It is our opinion that the most pressing problem facing the judiciary is the lack of personnel to man the courts. There has been an acute shortage of Magistrates on the lower bench and judges of the Superior Court of judicature i.e. the High Court, the court Appeal and the Supreme Court.

My Lord the Hon. Chief Justice Dr. Abdulai Timbo can confirm this as he has on several occasions made public pronouncement of this fact, the last being at the Annual Conference of the Sierra Leone Bar Association held on the 2nd of July 2003 at the British Council. In view of this shortage of Judges and Magistrate there is a heavy workload of cases on the few Judges and Magistrate available.

It is not uncommon for at least 20 cases to be listed a day for hearing before an High Court Judge especially Civil matters and also about 30 criminal cases to be listed for daily hearing before a Magistrate particularly in Magistrate Court No. 1. This might be a contributing factor to the long delays in trial of cases thus making litigation very expensive.

Then there is the issue of numerous Adjournments. It is been alleged that lawyers take on to many cases for which they have not got the capacity to handle. This necessitates or gives rise to request of frequent adjournment of cases. There might be some truth in such allegation for some of our colleagues But most times adjournments have been requested because the parties or litigants and their witnesses have failed to appear on the day for the trial.

In such situation the lawyer will have no alternative other than to apply for an adjournment. Therefore lawyers are not entirely responsible for the numerous adjournment of cases.

There is also the burning issue of shortage of materials like stationaries. At times Counsel will request that notices be sent out to both absent parties and their solicitor this request might be granted by the Judge. Then comes the next adjourned date: parties and their solicitor might fail to appear. The reason being failure by the registrar to send out notices as requested and this will be due to the fact that printed notices forms were not available. The need for continuous legal training for both legal and para legal supporting staff of the Judiciary like the registrar court clerks and bailiffs is also lacking.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The Government must improve the conditions of service for Judges and Magistrates, so as to attract the right caliber of people to the bench. Firstly the salary should be made more attractive, the supply of electricity to the residence of Judges and Magistrate should be made a priority, this would enable Judges to spend long hours at night in writing up their judgement so that they could be able to deliver them promptly.

The medical allowances given to Judges and Magistrate should bet increased. The allocation of a vehicle to each judge so as to enable them to arrive in Court promptly for court sittings.

Provision of legal Aid, government should seriously considered the establishment of a legal aid, and assistance scheme which will enable indigent litigants who could not afford the high cost of litigation's to access justice and not to be deprived of their right to seek redress in courts for wrongs done to them because they are impecunious. All ready a group of lawyers known as LAWCLA has established a form of legal assistant to indigent litigants.

The Bar Association has also be running a law clinic at its Bar Association Secretariat whereby free legal advise are given to person who cannot solicits the services of a lawyer because of the high cost involved in litigation.

The reforming of our laws especially obsolete ones. In this area I must commend the Government of Sierra Leone who has recently reactivated the law reforming commission, who will be holding a seminar on the commercial use of land in Sierra Leone from the 30th - 31st July 2003. It's first major activity in reform of the law relating to the commercial use of land in Sierra Leone. The absences of reported Sierra Leonean Law cases has seriously hampered the work of the Judges, since the last law reporting of Sierra Leonean cases was in 1973. My Association with funding from DFID has embarked upon the publication of the Sierra Leone law reports, covering a ten-year period from 1990-2000 of cases decided in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

On completion of this first phase, my Association will embarked in reporting cases decided by the High Court for the period 1973 to date.

Recently some members of the Sierra Leone Bar Association came together to form a local none Governmental Organisation know as Legal Reform Initiatives.  They are committed to support legal reforms in Sierra Leone and to provide a bridge between National and International ongoing Justice efforts.  We believe that the legal community must be at the fore front of promoting Justice and the impartial rule of Law and to participate in the difficult and vitally important project of improving the country's Judicial system.   

The Government should also seriously consider the provision of continuous legal training for both Judges and Magistrate and paralegal staff of the judiciary.

I was privileged together with the Honorable Chief Justice Dr Abdulia Timbo, the learned Attorney General Eke Halloway Esq, to have attended the first all African conference of Law Justice and Development held in Abuja Nigeria some time in February 2003.  At this conference, the need for continuous legal training for Judges, Magistrate and Barristers was stressed: if we in Africa are to meet the challenges and opportunities offered by globalization. Thanks to the UNDP who conducted sometime in March 2003, a Court for Justice of the Peace, Clerks and Bailiffs of the judiciary. Within a very. short time we have started seeing the benefits of such legal training especially among Justices of the Peace who presides over cases in the Magistrate Court as they now have the law stored in their bosom.

We the members of the legal profession are sure that now that we have a President and a Vice President who are both Lawyers by Profession, need of the Judiciary will continue to be looked into.


 

SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE

JOMO KENYATTA ROAD • FREETOWN • SIERRA LEONE
PHONE: +1 212 963 9915 Extension: 178 7000 or +39 0831 257000 or +232 22 295995
FAX: Extension: 178 7001 or +39 0831 257001 Extension: 114 6996 or +232 22 295996

STATEMENT OF THE REGISTRAR, MR. ROBIN VINCENT,
TO THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR SIERRA LEONE
21 July 2003

Introduction

It is an honour for me to be here to today, as Registrar of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, to present a statement before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is indeed an extremely encouraging sign that both our institutions have effectively been established in parallel and that they have been able to work side by side and with a great spirit of cooperation, but independently, in responding to the quest of the people of Sierra Leone for accountability and justice.

My statement today will provide an overview of how the Court came into existence, what are its distinctive elements, the achievements met in the first year of operations and the possible impact of its activities on Sierra Leone society.

1. The origin of the Special Court

The Special Court officially began its operations a little over one year ago, on 1 July 2003, after two years of negotiations started at the initiative of the Government of Sierra Leone.

On 12 June 2000, H.E. President A. Tejan Kabbah wrote to the United Nations Secretary General requesting the assistance of the United Nations and the Security Council `in establishing a strong and credible court that will meet the objectives of bringing justice and ensuring lasting peace'.

According to President Kabbah's letter, the need for and international intervention in favour of the establishment of the Special Court derived from the scale and nature of the violations committed in the country during over ten years of conflict, as well as practical considerations. Sierra Leone did lack `the resources or expertise to conduct trials for such crimes as a consequence of the civil conflict, which destroyed the country's infrastructure, including the legal and judicial infrastructure, of the country.' In addition, Sierra Leone would not have been in a position to try those responsible for such crimes because its criminal law does not encompass, for example, crimes against humanity and other gross violations of human rights. Soon after receiving President Kabbah' appeal, the United Nations Security Council started informal consultations on the matter. It should be recalled that by the time the negotiating process was set in motion, the scale and the nature of the crimes committed in Sierra Leone, marked by the intentional targeting of the civilian population and the massive involvement of children as combatants, had attracted the attention and generated the condemnation of international public opinion and created a diffuse support for an intervention of the international community to prevent impunity for those involved in the conflict. In addition, as the United Nations had directly suffered from the conflict following the kidnapping and killing of some of its peacekeeping forces, the organisation was particularly receptive to support efforts to bring to justice those responsible for such crimes.

On 14 August 2000, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1315 on the establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Resolution authorises the Secretary General to enter into negotiations with the Government of Sierra Leone to establish the Special Court and outlines the main aspects of the Court's functioning, in particular its jurisdiction and legal nature.

According to Resolution 1315, the Special Court should have subject matter jurisdiction over `crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international law as well as crimes under relevant Sierra Leonean law committed within the territory of Sierra Leone.'

The Court should have personal jurisdiction over those persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the commission of the above mentioned crimes, including those leaders who, in committing such crimes have threatened the establishment and implementation of the peace process in Sierra Leone.

In addition, the decision to establish the Court by means of an international agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone, explicitly manifested the intention of the Council to create the Court as an independent hybrid legal institution rather than as a United Nations subsidiary body, as in the case of the international tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Finally, the Council decided that the Special Court should be financed entirely from voluntary contributions from Member States rather than the United Nations budget. That decision has been at the same time a source of flexibility and efficiency in the administrative structure of the Court, and a constant challenge.

It is on these premises, that the Agreement and the Statute of the Court were finalised and that the Court's composition and structure agreed.

2. Statute and the Agreement

a.    Structure of the Court

The Court was officially established by the "Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone" (hereafter `Agreement') which was signed on 16 January 2002 by Mr. Hans Corell, Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs on behalf of the United Nations, and by Mr Solomon Berewa, then Attorney General and Minister of justice on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone.

The Agreement and the Statute therein annexed dictate to a large extent the basic structures of the Court. The court is comprised of three organs - the Chambers, the Prosecution and the Registry, which are regulated by Article 11 of the Statute, and Articles 2, 3 & 4 of the Agreement.

The Chambers are responsible for presiding over the trials and appeals, maintaining and updating the Court's rules of procedure and evidence and overseeing the judicial aspects of the Court.

The Prosecutor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting those whom he believes to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court.

The Registrar is responsible for the administrative and logistical functioning of the Court, including managing the detention facility, court records process and also the external relations of the Court.

b. Composition

The Chambers are composed according to Article 2 of the Agreement and Article 12 of the Statute - which dictate that the judges are appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, or the Government of Sierra Leone. The Secretary General of the United Nations appointed five judges, and the Government of Sierra Leone appointed three judges. The nominations were split between the Appeal and Trial Chambers.

The Judges of the Court are as follows, with (UN) or (GoSL) after their name to indicate which entity they were nominated by:

Appeals Chamber:

President, Mr. Justice Geoffrey Robertson Q.C., Australia (GoSL);
Vice President, Justice George Gelaga King, Sierra Leone (GoSL);
Justice Renate Winter, Austria (UN);
Justice Hassan B. Jallow, Gambia (UN);
Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, Nigeria (UN).

Trial Chamber:

Judge Bankole Thompson, Presiding Judge, Sierra Leone (GoSL);
Judge Benjamin Itoe, Cameroon (UN);
Judge Pierre Boutet, Canada (UN)

On 2 December 2002, after the judges were officially sworn in, the President and Presiding judge were elected to their respective positions by their fellow judges after confidential deliberations. Justice George Gelaga King was elected Vice President for a six month period in March 2003, and the Vice Presidency then will be rotated through the Appeals Chamber every half year by order of seniority.

c. Composition of staff - international and national

The Staff of the Special Court are also mixed in composition, with the ratio of international to national staff currently standing at 48% internationals and 52% nationals, with a final projected split of 45% internationals and 55% nationals on full staffing of the Court according to the 2003/2004 budget. A high percentage of these national posts are professional posts within the Court.

3. The Role of the Registrar

As briefly mentioned above, the Registrar is responsible for all the administrative functions of the Court. These responsibilities fall into a number of general areas:

  • Court management, including archiving, translation, and court management services;
  • Detention facility;
  • Security;
  • Administration, including Personnel, Finance and budgetary oversight;
  • Technical support, including IT and facilities management services;
  • Witness and Victim Support Unit; and
  • Defence Office.

The Registrar is bound by Article 16 of the Statute to establish the Witness and Victims Support Unit, which protects both prosecution and defence witnesses who are deemed to be under threat and manages the role of witnesses and victims during the trial process.

The Registrar has taken the innovative step of creating and incorporating a Defence Office into the structure of the Registry, and the Court. In an effort to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected by the Court, the Defence Office provides duty counsel to suspects and indictees who have either not been assigned counsel by the Court (if they claim legal aid), or who are still choosing their own counsel. The Defence Office also has the responsibility of administering the Court's Legal Aid programme for those indictees who claim they cannot afford counsel and also provides general research and support services to external counsel.

It is hoped that the Defence Office, while not specifically named in the Agreement or the Statute, will be recognised as having a valuable and important role in the structure of the Special Court, and provide an efficient, cost effective model for international tribunals of the future.

The Registrar arrived in Sierra Leone on 22 July 2002, and the Prosecutor arrived on 6 August 2002. In the year since the Court has been established, the following challenges have been encountered and the following achievements have been made.

The Registrar is also responsible for acting as the point of contact for the Management Committee of the Court in New York. The Management Committee is the body which provides administrative and budgetary oversight of the non-judicial functions of the Court, and consists of representatives of donor states, the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The Terms of Reference for the operations of the Management Committee are attached as an annex.

4. The Challenges

a. Environment

The nature of a post-conflict society is inevitably one in which severe difficulties can be encountered, particularly when dealing with establishing infrastructure and communications. The Special Court faced the challenge of turning eleven and a half acres of volcanic rock into the site of the Court, which has been accomplished, with the importation and erection of 17 office container blocks, which will provide the housing for Chambers, Prosecution, Registry and Defence. A permanent detention facility has been established, along with a permanent magistrates' court, and clinic/visitors block within the detention grounds. The Court house will have two courtrooms, and the design has been chosen, with building work expected to be finished by the end of 2003.

The site as a whole will be handed over to the Government of Sierra Leone on completion of the Court's mandate, and this will include the permanent structures of the detention facility, magistrate's court and clinic/visitors block, and the office blocks which are temporary constructs by nature.

In addition to the challenges presented to the construction of the Court, the environment has often proved difficult for many of the international staff, some of whom had not worked in West Africa before, and the heat and many tropical diseases or ailments all take their toll on staff capacity and morale.

b. Security

The security situation is of paramount importance to the Court's operations. This the first International Court to be based in the seat of the conflict, and as such has faced a new set of challenges in terms of maintaining the security of the premises and personnel. Assistance has been provided to the Court by the Sierra Leone Police Force and UNAMSIL. Inevitably there has been a significant impact on the budget as a result.

c. Finance

The Court has managed to successfully complete year one operations within its budget of US $19 million. However, this has at time placed burdens on the Court, particularly in the area of recruitment of staff, which has at times remained below an optimal operational level due to budget constraints.

The budget for year two operations is US $ 34,706,626 million gross and US $ 32,535,571 million net.

The Court currently has US$ 14,091,500.00 pledges for its year two operations, and a total of US$10338513.44 has been redeemed from those pledges. This means the Court is currently facing a funding shortfall of US $ 22,197,057.56.

5. The support received

a.    The role of the international community:

The establishment of the Special Court is inextricably linked to the support of the international community for the principle of justice and accountability. Such support has been manifested in a multiplicity of ways: from the creation of the so called group of interested states and the Management Committee, which directly involve member States in the management of the non-judicial aspects of the Court, to the provision of financial contributions and political support in the Security Council.

Nevertheless, as the operations of the Special Court grow both in size and complexity, and the consequences of its activities extend beyond the borders of Sierra Leone, the Court will need a renewed commitment from the international community to ensure that adequate resources are made available and that cooperation is granted.

b. The role of the Government of Sierra Leone

As mentioned above, the negotiations for the establishment of the Special Court started at the initiative of the Government of Sierra Leone in June 2000. Throughout the negotiations, the Government consistently engaged itself to ensure that the Court became reality and that sufficient resources would be made available to it.

Since our arrival in Freetown, the Government of Sierra Leone has repeatedly stated its support to the Court as well as its desire to grant at all costs the Court's independence. The Court has nevertheless benefited from the Government's cooperation in all aspects of its work.

6. The achievements of the first year

I feel that the Special Court has achieved a huge amount in its first year of operations. Notable successes have been the development of the premises; the swearing in of the judges and revising of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence; the investigation and indictment of 12 persons accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes committed within the jurisdiction of the Court and the arrest and detention of nine of those twelve; the establishment of a Temporary Detention Unit on Bonthe which currently houses 8 detainees; the establishment of the Trial Chamber, and the creation of Defence Unit.

7. The possible impact of the Special Court

It is undoubted that the Special Court will have an impact on Sierra Leonean society, not least as it hopes to demonstrate an end to impunity for those who commit atrocities. It is also one of the aims of the Special Court to leave a positive legacy for Sierra Leone.

One of the main ways this will be done will be by developing the potential of our Sierra Leonean staff through training, exposure to an international working environment and involvement in a developing and important area of international law.

At the same time, we are committed to enhancing the understanding of the Sierra Leonean people of the work of the Court and thus hope to contribute to a wider understanding of the concept of the rule of law, and we are also working with civil society and partner organisations to assess how the Special Court can contribute, given its limited budget, to national justice sector reform.

In particular, we have a good relationship with the Sierra Leonean Bar and have contributed to training and fuelled the debate over issues of international justice and the impact this hybrid Court will have on national jurisprudence.

Underlying all this will be the Court's physical legacy of the refurbished prison and magistrates Court in Bonthe, the site, including courthouse, detention centre, magistrate's court and offices.

I sincerely hope that the Special Court will contribute to a safer and more secure society in Sierra Leone, and in the wider region.



NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE
E.P. 214262; Rue Wiertz 60; B-1047 Bruxelles; "1'el. +32 (0)2 284 3357; Fax +32 (0)2 2849983 866 UN Plaza #408; New York N1- 10017 Tel. +1 212 9802558 Fax +1 212 98010?2 Via di Torre Argentina 76; I-00186 Koma; Tel. +39 06 68803613 Fax +39 06 688036t)9

Mr Frank Kargbo
The Executive Secretary of the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
TRC Secretariat
Jomo Kenyatta Road New England, Freetown

Monday, 28 July 2003

Dear Mr Kargbo,

I am writing to thank the Secretariat of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the excellence of its work. I had the opportunity to testify before the TRC today, and you should know that the Commission Secretariat, in particular the interpreter, the Evidence Leader, Mr Abdulai Charm, and the Reconciliation Officer, Mrs Aisha Wight, were very helpful in the process leading up to and during my testimony.

As part of my testimony, I explained that No Peace Without justice would like to make a written submission to the TRC, in addition to my testimony, to be filed with the Commission once we have completed the data processing and analysis process of our Conflict Mapping Program.

However, given that I understand that some of the Commissioners would also prefer to have a transcript of my oral presentation, I have the pleasure of attaching two copies of my speaking notes for their convenience. I would be grateful if you could circulate these speaking notes to those Commissioners who might be interested in reviewing my testimony.

I remain at your service and at the service of the Commission for any further information or clarification.
With warm regards,

Alison Smith
Country Director, Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Office 127 Jomo Kenyatta Road; Freetown Tel +232 (022) 240-195

SPEAKING NOTES
Testifying:    L. Alison A. Smith
Country Director
NPWJ, Sierra Leone

Honourable Chairperson,
Honourable Commissioners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for the opportunity to testify before this Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I am pleased to be here on behalf of my organisation, "No Peace Without Justice".

With your leave, we would like to follow-up this oral submission with a full written submission, which will be prepared on the basis of the results of the data processing and analysis being carried out by the Conflict Mapping Program of NPWJ.

1. Introduction
Throughout the conflict in Sierra Leone, violations of international humanitarian law and gross abuses of human rights were committed by all parties. The conflict was characterised by extreme brutality, including but not limited to arbitrary executions and amputations of limbs of children and adults. Sierra Leonean society needs there to be accountability for the atrocities it has suffered if it is to move forward and make the transition to permanent peace. A record of the truth must be established and those people who have committed atrocities must be called to account for their actions, in one way or another.

For the restoration of dignity to victims, for peace and in order to create the necessary conditions for Sierra Leone to re-establish itself as a full-fledged democracy governed by the Rule of Law, there must be accountability for the past. Failing to account for past wrongs weakens the Rule of Law as a state of impunity for perpetrators of atrocities prevails, perpetuating a cycle of recrimination and revenge that lays the seed for future conflicts. In the absence of the Rule of Law, democracy falters and the protection and promotion of human rights and the betterment of the living conditions of Sierra Leoneans is impaired. Re-establishing and strengthening the Rule of Law will provide the necessary pre-conditions for ensuring respect for human rights and democratic principles. The reestablishment of an effective and accountable constitutional and institutional framework, with safety, security and access to redress at its center, will ensure the restoration of peace in the country and spearhead peacemaking opportunities in the entire region.

My submission today does not seek to outline or elaborate either the violations committed during the conflict or their legal consequences; this will be done by the Conflict Mapping Report currently being prehared by No Peace Without Justice which will be presented  to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and others on its completion. Rather, I would seek to mention some aspects of the rule of law in respect of the norms of international law, their implementation and mechanisms which they might be protected or their violations addressed. My submission today will commence with a brief description of my organisation and our work here, before outlining a Working definition of the Rule of Law, then discussing the,    issues of  Amnesties, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and NPWJ's Conflict Mapping Program.

2. No Peace Without Justice (the organisation)
No Peace Without Justice is an international non-governmental organisation, established in 1993, working for the establishment of all effective systems of accountability for the prevention, deterrence and prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.  NPWJ's major international Campaign focuses on the effective establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC).    In the context of this campaign, NPWJ has organised and co-hosted international conferences with a number of governments and undertaken a wide-ranging program of technical assistance through the secondment of legal experts to government delegations during negotiations on the ICC. In addition, NPWJ has carried out  a number of country-specific programs utilising its expertise in international criminal law to draft implementing legislation for international treaties at the request of specific governments and undertaking wide scale documentation of violations of international humanitarian law.

In 1998, No Peace Without Justice organised a judicial Assistance Program tor assist smaller delegations to participate fully in negotiations during the Rome Diplomatic  Conference for the establishment of an international Criminal Court. The Program has been ongoing during the follow up negotiations of the Preparatory, Commission for the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties.  Since the commencement of the Program during the Rome Diplomatic Conference in 1998, a team of legal experts has been seconded to a number of delegations, including theRepublic of Sierra Leone.

In June 2000, during a Preparatory Commission sitting, the President of Sierra  Leone HE President Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah), requested the assistance of the Unite Nations in trying those responsible for committing crimes during the ten year conflict in Sierra Leone. Responding to the request of the Sierra Leone Mission to the UN to provide further assistance at this critical juncture, NPWJ extended its JAP to cover the negotiations on the establishment of the Special Court between the UN and Sierra Leone, by providing legal advice. Two legal experts were seconded to the Office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in Freetown and one legal expert was seconded to the Sierra Leone Mission to the UN in New York to continue the work of assisting the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the UN. This assistance continues today.

Since February 2001, NPWJ has also embarked on a broad-based program of public information and outreach, designed to ensure that the potential of the Special Court is not impaired by easily avoided misunderstandings about its nature and operations. The aim of our outreach program is to ensure that the general public is informed about the processes and decisions of the Special Court in order to seek fair justice and to enhance its ability to promote redress, reconciliation and reintegration within Sierra Leone.  This has taken place in a variety of ways, including the "Freetown Conference on Accountability Mechanisms for Violations of International Humanitarian Law in Sierra Leone" back in February 2001, "Training the Trainers" seminars, during which nearly 2000 people have received training, radio programs and working with performing artists among many other activities. In so doing, NPWJ continues to work closely with the Special Court Working Group, a coalition of Sierra Leonean non-governmental organisations interested in accountability whose coming together we facilitated in the first half of 2001.

NPWJ is also working with the legal profession on issues relating to the Special Court and international humanitarian law in general. As part of this program, in December 2002 we co-organised a seminar with the Sierra Leone Bar Association and the Special Court on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence for the Special Court, which provided an opportunity for members of the Sierra Leone legal profession to discuss their recommendations on the Rules with the newly sworn-in judges of the Special Court, particularly with a view to incorporating aspects of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1965. Last week, in co-ooperation with the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, we ran a training seminar on theoretical and practical aspects of the Special Court for interested members of the Sierra Leone Bar Association and staff of Special Court itself. NPWJ has also opened an International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Library, with legal materials generously donated from a variety of individuals and institutions, in particular from Columbia University.

In addition, NPWJ is undertaking a conflict mapping program, which aims to provide a chronological and geographical mapping of violations of humanitarian law in Sierra Leone to help create an historical record of the truth, including individual and command responsibility, which will be discussed more later on.

3. The Rule of Law
As I have mentioned, this submission seeks to focus on international law, in particular its implementation and mechanisms by which it might be protected or its violations redressed. To contextualise this submission, I will outline briefly what we consider to be some of the key aspects of the "Rule of Law" and how it applies in practice.
The term "Rule of Law" embodies the basic principles of equal treatment for all people before the law; fairness; and both legal and actual guarantees of basic human rights. A predictable legal system with a participatory law-making process, impartial law enforcement mechanisms and a fair, transparent and effective adjudication system is essential to the credibility of the Law as a means to protect individuals against lawless acts of private individuals and organisations or the arbitrary use of State authority.

The basic concepts underpinning the Rule of Law could be summarised as follows:

1. The Rules both apply and are applied to everyone;
2. These Rules are known or can be known by anyone;
3. Everyone has access to effective means of recourse.

Perhaps the most important corollary to these principles is that the system be perceived as credible by the population it purports to affect. Thus justice must not only be done according to the highest international standards to which Sierra Leone adheres, it must be seen to be done and, furthermore, it must be believed to be done in order for the fundamental principles of the Rule of Law to be satisfied.

In practice, these principles affect individuals in four major ways:

a) protection from violence against person and property, particularly for the most vulnerable members of society;
b) the effectiveness of and access to judicial and administrative structures and other redress mechanisms applying those Rules impartially, consistently and in conformity with a predetermined process;
c) the existence and accessibility of clear written rules to regulate behaviour that are applicable to all, including to agents, institutions and organs of the State; and
d) the existence of a rule-making mechanism that is credible and legitimate in the eyes of the people it purports to affect.

4. Amnesties
Bearing these principles in mind, I will now turn to the issue of amnesties. Amnesty can be characterised as the act of "forgetting" a crime: a person who has been granted amnesty will not be prosecuted for a crime covered by the amnesty and their criminal responsibility, if any, will not be established. We the exception of the Ceasefire Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front signed in Abuja on 10 November 2000, all the agreements signed during the conflict, whether or not they have been partially respected and implemented, contain provisions granting amnesty to members of factions involved in the war.

From 1996 to 1999, three different peace agreements were signed, in addition to several ceasefire agreements.

- The Peace Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front was signed in Abidjan on 30 November 1996 and followed soon after a military coup in May 1997.
- On 23 October 1997, the FCOWAS Six-Month Peace Plan for Sierra Leone was signed in Conakry, which prompted the military junta to agree to a peace deal. However, in January 1998, clashes began in Freetown between soldiers loyal to the military junta and the Nigerian-led force, ECOMOG.

- In January 1999, RUF forces launched an offensive against Freetown. On 17 April 1999, a cease-fire agreement was signed between the Sierra Leone Government and the Revolutionary United Front, which was followed by a new Peace Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone and was signed in July 1999.

These events demonstrate that not only are amnesties damaging on a number of levels, which I will now discuss, they simply do not work to bring long term or even short term peace.

Amnesty provisions in peace agreements are generally included as a compromise on justice in the short term to meet longer terms objectives of peace and stability. Also, given the lack of an effective judicial system and the insufficient capacities of the government in that regard, amnesty is often claimed to be the only practical measure available to deal with past events. Those who support the provision of amnesties following an armed conflict claim that there is a need to strike a balance between the imperative to bring to justice and hold accountable those who allegedly committed serious crimes under international law, and the imperative of immediate peace and the finding of short term solutions to a conflict.

However, amnesty means amnesia and grants impunity for human rights violations committed during the conflict. This devalues the Rule of Law by ignoring the need for accountability and turning a blind eye to the claims for justice from civil populations, in particular by victims of those violations. Moreover, it puts at risk the healing process by removing the possibility to collect evidence and testimony and to establish a record of events, to address the underlying problems at stake and to allow the country to deal with its past.

Amnesty for serious violations of international law is itself a violation of international law.

International law does, in fact, support amnesty provisions in the aftermath of armed conflicts for having taken part in the conflict but not for any war crimes committed. However, such an amnesty should only extend to the fact of having participated in the conflict and should not extend to serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. State Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions - including Sierra Leone - undertook to prosecute such crimes and, as such, cannot grant immunity for those crimes through an amnesty either under national law or as part of a Peace Agreement. Amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are therefore illegal under international law, irrespective of the position under national law.

More importantly, however, sacrificing the goals of justice and redress to reach the goal of reconciliation simply does not work and did not meet the concerns of Sierra Leoneans, especially since the cycle of impunity contributed to the origins of the war. Restoring confidence in the Rule of Law and the justice system was not achieved through the granting of amnesty, which neither led to any kind of durable peace nor achieved the cessation of human rights abuses.

Saying that people who have committed crimes under international law, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, would not be prosecuted also meant that the rights of victims and their relatives to justice and redress were ignored.

In addition, such an amnesty contradicts the provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (1991) dealing with the recognition and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual. Protection of the right to life, freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, from slavery and forced labour, from inhuman treatment, from deprivation of property and the right to secure protection of law, among others, are guaranteed under Chapter III of the Constitution. Section 28 of the Constitution guarantees the enforcement of protective provisions before the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone. The amnesty provision stands in contradiction to these constitutional provisions in that it allows neither the enforcement of such rights nor relief for their violation.

Dealing with the past, especially when a conflict has occurred, requires full knowledge of the chain of events and responsibilities that led to the conflict. It is important that emphasis be put on justice as a means of reconciliation. I could not put it better than the words of the Honourable Vice President, in the TRC Handbook from 2001, when he said "In the Lome Agreement the only means of accountability provided was through the TRC. It was then thought that with peace at hand, the wounds of war could be handled through reconciliation. In other words, it was recognised that truth was as good as, or at least a substitute for, justice. The Government of Sierra Leone reassessed this position only in May 2000."

Amnesty provisions granted under the three peace agreements opened the floor to more problems and concerns than they resolved and put an unnecessary burden on the process of the reconstruction of the State and of the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone. In Resolution 1315 (2000), the Security Council recognised that "in the particular circumstances of Sierra Leone, a credible system of justice and accountability for the very serious crimes committed there would end impunity and would contribute to the process of national reconciliation and to the restoration and maintenance of peace [. . . ]", thereby acknowledging that the two processes are indeed closely interrelated. Indeed, the failures of the three agreements granting amnesty indicate that the imperatives of peace and the imperatives of justice are difficult, if not impossible, to separate.

5. The Special Court
Honourable Commissioners, with your permission I would now like to say a few words on the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was established by Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations to prosecute those who bear the greatest responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leone law during the conflict. In so doing, it can demonstrate both that there are rules applicable during times of armed conflict and that there is a price to pay for violating those rules, no matter a person's position. Closely aligned with this is the broader objective of strengthening the protective function of the law through scrutiny of conduct during a conflict, application and development of the rules regulating that conduct and enforcement of those rules through the attribution of individual criminal responsibility. The Court is thus aimed at ending impunity, deterring would-be perpetrators and providing a measure of justice for the victims and, if implemented properly, it can also help strengthen the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone and contribute to capacity building within the country. The Special Court therefore has both backward and forward looking aims: to provide redress for what happened in Sierra Leone and to contribute to lasting peace, a strengthened Rule of Law and the future protection of people involved in a conflict, both in Sierra Leone and elsewhere.

The Special Court has both the ability and the mandate to extract justice from those who were responsible at the highest levels of policy-making, namely those leaders who decided what methods of warfare were to be used.

Crimes under international law do not simply occur in the heat of battle, but rather result from following orders devised by political and military leaders, who weigh the perceived gains of specific methods of warfare against the possible consequences, which can include the likelihood of criminal prosecution. By focusing on those who devise wartime policies, responsibility is placed with those who actually planned the criminal acts and ordered or allowed them to occur. Holding these people to account for their actions is in itself necessary to strengthen the perception of the general population that justice is being done. By focusing on the leaders who have planned and instigated atrocities - rather than the `trigger-pullers' - the deterrent effect of international prosecutions will be enhanced.

However, it must be borne in mind that-while the mere existence of the Special Court is already, in many ways, having a positive impact on the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone, the process by which it undertakes its work is equally important. The perception that Sierra Leoneans have of the accountability mechanisms working on their behalf is in itself paramount to their success. The Court must therefore ensure that it involves the general population at every step of the way, ensuring that people understand the processes and why certain things are done in certain ways. In addition, the Court itself must adhere to the principles of the Rule of Law, in terms of following its own rules, abiding by the laws of Sierra Leone and abiding by international law and practice. The recent illustration of the handling of Charles Taylor's indictment demonstrates this very clearly, as the Court -at the very least- appeared to violate its own orders relating to non-disclosure and to expect Ghana to violate its own domestic laws.

In requesting the Secretary-General's assistance to establish the Special Court, Sierra Leone was courageously finding ways to abide by the "aut dedere aut judicare" obligations, namely the obligation to extradite or prosecute, that are at the basis of the enforcement of the laws of war.

The purpose of the Special Court is not only to punish individuals, or even just to "demonstrate" for the world and future conflicts the principle of individual responsibility, but also -and for Sierra Leoneans perhaps primarily- to restore some confidence in the Rule of Law (and the judicial process). As a matter of policy, it is essential that the Special Court does everything first and foremost with the prime objective of encouraging local accountability efforts. More than that: the Special Court should work with the police and prison system to improve their standards of practice and with the bar and the judiciary to increase their capacity, particularly in the area of international law. To a large extent, the Special Court has been doing this and should be commended for its efforts to make the most of its presence in the country.

However, with the Special Court and the TRC, Sierra Leone, Sierra Leoneans and the international community had an opportunity to create an integrated system of accountability for this country, which was lost when the TRC and the Special Court decided to operate at arms' length. This has harmed the credibility of both institutions and multiplied the resources required to provide Sierra Leoneans with an understanding of what happened in their country and who was responsible for it. Indeed, a central part of this, namely the discussions here and abroad which put into question the compliance that -as a matter of law- is due to the Special Court, belittled the incredibly bold step that Sierra Leone took of renouncing her sovereignty in respect of compliance with orders and decisions of the Special Court. Furthermore, it damaged the Rule of Law by denying the fundamental principle that the rules should apply equally to everyone.

6. The NPWIJ Conflict Mapping Program
With your permission, Honourable Commissioners, I would like to conclude my submission by discussing NPWJ's Conflict Mapping Program. The Conflict Mapping program aims to reconstruct the chain of events during a conflict through gathering information in the field and analysing the decision-making processes, the order of battle and command structures of the various forces as they evolved over time and space to ascertain the role of those who bear the greatest responsibility for policies of systematic and massive violations of the laws of war. This chronological and geographical mapping of the conflict, including reconstructing the order of battle and chain of command, serves to prevent denial of those events. An analysis of events according to international law establishes prima facie accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.

In so doing, it both serves to strengthen the Rule of Law and to promote and defend human rights by publicising the price for violating them. In addition, establishing the real chain of command within the fighting factions operating in Sierra Leone and assembling these disparate pieces of information to create the bigger picture of the decade long conflict enables the crucial first phase of establishing who bears direct and command responsibility for atrocities committed during the conflict, thereby avoiding the trap of blaming a group or segment of society and promoting peaceful conciliation.

The NPWJ Conflict Mapping Program was conceived on the basis that only if the accountability process belongs to each and every community -- and if each community is able to participate in it -- would it be possible for former combatants to be accepted and for meaningful long-term reintegration to take place. Rehabilitation and reintegration is not simply a matter of locating next of kin and assisting in individual reintegration; it is about enabling society and each community to move forward and to accept individuals back into its fold.

NPWJ is now undertaking a nation-wide conflict mapping program operating in conjunction with our outreach program that has contributed towards establishing confidence in the accountability mechanisms, by providing victims and witnesses the opportunity to recount their stories in such a way as to enable them to understand their personal and their communities' experiences in the context of the war.

Marrying the sensitisation and the documentation processes ensures that the perception of the communities reached is not that of being "told" about the accountability process as something that happens elsewhere and is relevant to others, but rather of truly taking part in it. The conflict mapping program has involved as much of the country as possible in conducting sensitisation and documentation in this manner so as to encourage a sense of ownership of the processes by the people of Sierra Leone.

The gathering of information has been conducted by national human rights workers acting as "Conflict Mapping Recorders", trained and supervised by NPWJ personnel, in communities and villages throughout the country. The CMRs interview key persons, whose profession, role in their community or in the forces involved in the conflict, placed them in a position to follow events as they unfolded. These selected individuals have therefore been able to give an overview of the conflict for a given geographical area. The key persons were asked to relate not only what happened to them or their family but also what happened to their community, their village, section and chiefdom.

The training process of these Conflict Mapping recorders was divided in four stages, which are now complete. Each of the twelve District capitals, where training took place, has therefore been visited four times by the NPWJ conflict mapping team. The actual carrying out of the work by 140 NPWJ CMRs working for a period of 6 months, has taken place in nearly every chiefdom across the country and has enhanced community understanding and acceptance of the processes.
The final result of this process will be the production of a public report that records geographically and historically the occurrence of violations of international humanitarian law analysed in the light of international criminal law, particularly as applied by the Special Court. This comprehensive report will include information gathered and processed by experienced analysts with the assistance of advanced database and mapping software, with the information checked and cross checked to ensure that it is consistent, complete and correct. It must however be emphasised that the process in itself is as important as the final document, because the direct involvement of Sierra Leoneans (both as interviewer and interviewee) in this project allows them to be at the heart of the accountability work being carried out in the country.

7. Preliminary Recommendations
I would like now to outline very briefly some of the preliminary= recommendations we would like to include, with your leave, in our written submission. Specifically, we would recommend the following:

  • That the Special Court and the TRC follow the fundamental principles of the rule of law in all aspects of its operations;
  • That the international community continue to support accountability efforts in Sierra Leone, in particular by concluding agreements for cooperation with the Special Court and by providing necessary financial support for the TRC: and the Special Court;
  • That the international community extend its support to efforts aimed at rebuilding the judiciary in Sierra Leone, including through support to the Law Officers Department and to updating and harmonising legislation and law reporting in Sierra Leone, particularly in light of Sierra Leone's international obligations;
  • That the Government of Sierra Leone and others work to ensure the security forces are trained in and adhere to all relevant aspects of international humanitarian and human rights law.
  • Also, that the Government of Sierra Leone and others work to ensure that information on international humanitarian and human rights law be provided to the general public.
  • That the TRC acknowledge the importance of instituting the Rule of Law in Sierra Leonean society as one of the key elements for attaining sustainable peace and reconciliation. The Commission, therefore, should highlight the role past impunity and corruption of the Rule of Law played in initiating and sustaining the ten-year conflict. Efforts to restore Rule of Law should therefore be a priority of national reconciliation efforts and should include not only the protection of human rights but also the support of those mechanisms (such as the Special Court) addressing the impunity of the past.
  • Finally, the TRC should recognize that adherence to international humanitarian law is not only an obligation of the Government and the State, but essential to the interests of peace and reconciliation of the nation.

 

UNAMSIL PRESENTATION TO THE TRUTH AND RECOCILIATION EVENT-SPECIFIC AND INSTITUTIONAL HEARING

INTRODUCTION:

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. I appear before you today in response to the Executive Secretary's invitation to UNAMSIL requesting that the Mission make a presentation on the theme: "The Judiciary, the legal profession and the rule of law (including the Special Court and issues of amnesty and impunity)" Besides the principal issues I have been asked to address myself to, other rule of law-related concerns may also be raised. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been gathering a plethora of individual truths the aggregate of which will hopefully reveal the overall truth, as to how the events in Sierra Leone took such a tragic turn in 1991 resulting in years of inexplicable pandemonium. Buried within such layers of disparate accounts and experiences during the war and before it, is the seed of reconciliation. The ultimate goal of this exercise is to unearth this seed and hoist it above individual experiences and timely, reconciliation shall follow. In my presentation, I begin with an overview of international law and the
location of Sierra Leone within the jigsaw that is the international community.

BACKROUND TO INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW:

2. International community has learnt one vital lesson following the experiences of the Second World War-human rights violations of such shocking proportions occurring in one country must not be dismissed as that very country's "own affair, an element of its autonomy, a matter of its own jurisdiction." Representatives of the United Nations founding nations had the good sense to realize that all "succeeding generations," their origins irrespective, must be saved "from the scourges of war which has twice," in their life time "brought untold suffering to mankind." As the Twentieth Century came to a close, the United Nations promise to rid the world "from the scourges of war" was once again put to the test when Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Rwanda, East Timor, Somalia, Sudan, DRC and Sierra Leone, among others, were all seized of violence of senseless proportions leaving millions dead and the economies and national institutions of the warring nations tittering at the brink of destruction.

3. Despite the difficulties, and in its ever-urgent quest to formulate more effective ways to protect lives and ameliorate the impact of war on beleaguered populations throughout the world, the United Nations is continuously building up a body of human rights law that can provide a uniform code with which all peoples, regardless of backgrounds, can identify and aspire to.

4. These principles are enshrined in two instruments: the United Nations Charter adopted by the founding nations in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. As international community becomes increasingly aware of the need to protect clearly identifiable vulnerable groups behind the borders of any state, human rights law has in the same proportion burgeoned to encompass, inter alia, specific standards for women,'

A.    'WOMEN AND THE RULE OF LAW
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted in China in 1995 after the fourth World Conference on women states that the specific experience of women and girls in armed conflict is linked to their status in societies. Paragraph 135 reads, " while entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflict and terrorism, women and girls are particularly affected because of their status in society and their sex."

Women in Sierra Leone do not enjoy equal status with men and the 10- year old war left a particularly devastating impact on them. It is worth noting that where cultures of violence and discrimination against women and girls exist prior to conflict, they will be exacerbated during conflict.

During the war 2 million of the estimated 4.5 million people were internally displaced and as refugees, over 91 percent of casualties were civilians, thousands children were physically and emotionally traumatized in addition to being maimed, raped, amputated and made child combatants. According to several human rights reports, there was
widespread and systematic use of rape and other forms of sexual violence as well as sexual slavery to which women and girls were subjected.

According to statistics and by extrapolating the number of war-related sexual violence incidents reported by participants in the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) sample to the total female IDP population in Sierra Leone, it was estimated that approximately 50,000 to 64,000 Sierra Leonean IDP women might have suffered such human rights abuses. If non-war related sexual violence among non-IDP females is added to the IDP totals (assuming a 9 % prevalence rate), as many as 215,000 - 257,000 women and girls in Sierra Leone currently might have been affected by sexual violence. Civil Society acknowledges that rape in Sierra Leone had been a problem even before the war, but with the impact of the war, it had become more widespread.

Sexual violence against women and girls in situation of armed conflict or systematic persecution constitutes a clear breach of international law. Under international law, perpetrators of sexual violence have been held accountable for rape as a war crime against humanity or as an act of genocide. Both The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR) have sentenced perpetrators for crimes against humanity based on sexual violence. The Special Court of Sierra Leone is focusing on sex crimes as a fundamental war crime and crime against humanity. Gender Crimes have been investigated parallel to all other crimes as evidenced by the indictments issued so far.

At National level Women and Rule of Law needs to be seen in the context of the legal framework provided for by the Constitution of Sierra Leone. Section 27 (1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No. 6) 1991 provides as follows: Subject to the provision of subsection (4), (S), and (7) no law shall make any provision which is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect. However sub section 4 contains many provisos, exceptions and qualifications as to render the whole section meaningless. In Section 4 subsection 1 d and e, discrimination shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, and burial. Devolution of property on death or other interests of personal law; or for the application in the case of members of a particular race or tribe or customary law with respect to any matter to the exclusion ~of any law with respect to that matter which is applicable in the case of other persons. These provisos sow seeds of discrimination because it is in matters of marriage, divorce, devolution of property or death and personal law and customary law that women suffer most inequality.

Women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil and all other,fields. These rights include inter cilia, the rights to life, equality, liberty and security of the person, equal protection under the law; freedom, from discrimination; the highest attainable standards of mental and physical health, freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Sierra Leone is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is an international convention that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and came into, force in 1981. The Convention defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.

As a State Party to the Convention, the Government of Sierra Leone has committed itself to incorporating the principle of equality of men and women in the legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women. For a start Section 4, sub section 1 d and e therefore needs to be revisited and reviewed to ensure that the Constitution of Sierra Leone is consistent with international human rights law.

At a recent Women's Law Reform Workshop a Supreme Court Judge observed, "There is scarcely any law in Sierra Leone that does not touch and concern women. However most of the laws in .so,far as they relate to women still leave them in the position where women were in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. " Justice Virgina Wright said archaic laws had rendered women second-class citizens and always taken advantage of because of the operation of General Law, Customary Law and Islamic Law. The latter relegated women to the periphery while the former gave women very little rights. It is important therefore that meaningful law reform takes place to give women their rightful place. This will entail incorporating some aspects of the CEDAW into domestic legislation. The Convention can also be used to enact new laws that can ensure empowerment of women and combat violence and cultural practices that deny women equality and dignity.

The Rule of Law in as far as women are concerned only has effective meaning if supported by accountability so that those who break the rule of law are held accountable for their breaches. Thus the criminal law needs to provide the citizens and particularly women with an effective shield against private violence. In Sierra Leone today cases of domestic violence are reported to be on the upswing. While the GoSL must be congratulated,/or setting up the Family Support Unit, which deals with such crimes, much more needs to be done to improve its effectiveness. Currently the FSU is faced with a lot of problems such as lack of office accommodation, transport and communication, which hamper its work. Some doctors especially in the Districts demand fees from survivors of sexual violence before police reports can be produced. This practice discourages women and girls from reporting such crimes. Furthermore the long and cumbersome judicial process coupled with numerous adjournments results in very,few of such cases being successfully prosecuted. In some countries like Brazil the,furor against the inability of the law or the criminal justice system to respond to widespread violence against women resulted in the creation of special police stations for women. A clear cut policy needs to be made on the issue of doctor's fees .for police reports.

The Human Rights Section in UNAMSIL has been training police officers in the FSUs on human rights and fundamental, freedoms including the rights of women and children. This training is extending to the prosecutors. Much more however needs to be done to strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations so that they can promote the rights of women and facilitate greater awareness of legal rights among communities.

Furthermore, the General Assembly is constantly taking innovative decisions to drive home the legal principal that all human rights are inalienable, universal, and indivisible and that respect for human rights should in the end translate to development and entrenchment of democratic ideas.

5. Internationally accepted human rights norms are well defined and the mechanisms with which to promote and protect them are equally entrenched. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights places emphasis on individual rights that are essential to safeguarding the dignity and integrity of the human person. Among these legal guarantees are the equal protection of the law, presumption of innocence till the accused is proven guilty in a free and fair public hearing by an "independent and impartial" tribunal. Immunity from arbitrary arrest, detention and exile have also been enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), as judicial rights, not mere hortatory exhortations and aspirations. This law, read in tandem with the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the two Additional Protocols, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, make up the International Bill of Human Rights.

6. Through these legal instruments, the United Nations provides technical assistance to countries emerging from war so they can meet their obligations under international law and rebuild their institutions of governance, principal among such institutions is, the justice system. The Charter makes it abundantly clear that the founding nations were determined to "establish conditions under which justice and respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained." Against this backdrop, I will now examine the United Nations involvement in Sierra Leone.

LAYING FOUNDATION FOR THE RULE OF LAW:
7. Since 1997 to date, the Security Council has issued about 27 resolutions on the situation in Sierra Leone all with a view to establishing conditions under which justice and respect for international law and rule of law can be upheld. To cite a few, the Council, through resolution 1132 of 8 October 1997, imposed sanctions against the military junta preventing the sale of petroleum and arms to the incumbent regime. This was followed by resolution 1 171 of 5 June 1998 prohibiting the sale and supply of arms and related material to non-government forces.

8. Hope-inspiring as these measures were, they still had little effect in the face of the sustained violence by all sides to the conflict against the people of Sierra Leone. Gratuitous disrespect for the rule of law continued unabated. More proactive steps were required to curb the rising tide of lawlessness that threatened to dismember Sierra Leone as a member of the United Nations. On 13 July 1998, the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Lone (UNOMSIL) was established by the Security Council Resolution 1181. The majority of people of Sierra Leone greeted this news gleefully and latched their hope on it for one more day of survival. Soon, UNOMSIL's mandate proved inadequate vis-a-vis the cataclysm that hit Freetown on 6 January 1999 and the widespread violence that hemmed in the towns and villages throughout the country.

THE LOME PEACE AGREEMENT AND THE SUPREMACY OF INTERNATIONAL RULE OF LAW
9.    As we all know, with the signing of the Lome Peace Accord on 7 July 1999, a note of hope had punctuated the turbulent events of the first half of 1999. There, stakeholders agreed to show and maintain respect for human rights and rule of law. To achieve this objective, they agreed to establish a Human Rights Commission, and an independent Electoral Commission. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the question of impunity and related human rights violations was also agreed upon.

10. On 22 October 1999, through resolution 1270, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Lone (UNAMSIL) was established after several extensions of UNOMSIL's mandate. Systematically, UNAMSIL grew both in strength and stature in the eyes of the people of Sierra. Equipped with Chapter VII mandate, it was now prepared to react swiftly and robustly to any situation. This marked a turning point in the history of the conflict and empowered the government to begin thinking of constructive ways to bring the country back to normal. For the purposes of this presentation, I shall now concentrate on Article IX of the Lome Peace Agreement that granted absolute and free pardon and reprieve to Corporal Foday Sankoh and all combatants and collaborators in respect of anything done by "them in pursuit of their objectives up to the time of the signing of the Agreement."

ARTICLE IX - PARDON AND AMNESTY states:

  1. In order to bring lasting peace to Sierra Leone, the Government of Sierra Leone shall take appropriate legal steps to grant Corporal Foday Sankoh absolute and free pardon.
  2. After the signing of the present Agreement, the Government of Sierra Leone shall also grant absolute and free pardon and reprieve to all combatants and collaborators in respect of anything done by them in pursuit of their objectives, up to the time of the signing of the present Agreement.
  3. To consolidate the peace and promote the cause of national reconciliation, the Government of Sierra Leone shall ensure that no official or judicial action is taken against any member of the RUF/SL, ex-AFRC, ex-SLA or CDF in respect of anything done by them in pursuit of their objectives as members of those organisations, since March 1991, up to the time of the signing of the present Agreement. In addition, legislative and other measures necessary to guarantee immunity to former combatants, exiles and other persons, currently outside the country for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be adopted ensuring the full exercise of their civil and political rights, with a view to their reintegration within a framework of full legality.

11. No case could be brought against any member of the CDF, RUF or ex-SLA regarding any act, however gross, that was done in pursuit of their political objectives.2 With such self-absolving blanket amnesty in place, a moratorium had literally been imposed on the application of domestic criminal law, international humanitarian law3 and human rights law. Conversely, though unsuspectingly, impunity was accepted and condoned as an alternative to justice-a more effective way to achieve peace and rid the nation of the "scourges of war."

12. Lome Peace Accord was indeed a blueprint for peace in Sierra Leone. If for nothing else, the TRC has Sierra Leone's past would not be swept under the rug, without thorough examination and documentation. Yet, the warring parties had arguably overstepped their legal boundaries by including within the amnesty provisions, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture, rape and other serious violations of international law. Moreover, while there is no denying Sierra Leoneans had suffered immeasurably during the war, it is also true that the entire human community was also shocked by the events
' The General Assembly in 1992 adopted a "Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from enforced Disappearances noting in article 18(1) that "Persons who have or are alleged to have committed offences referred to in article 4 paragraph 1, above, shall not benefit from special amnesty law or similar measures that might have the effect of exempting them from any criminal proceedings or action that transpired and was aware that the bloodshed of such enormity could no more be considered Sierra Leone's "own affair, an element of its autonomy, a matter of its own jurisdiction." It was our collective responsibility and we had to see it ended.

13. Mercifully, the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Koffi Annan had instructed his Special Representative in Sierra Leone to sign the agreement with the explicit proviso that article IX of the agreement shall not apply to crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Several developments in post-conflict Sierra Leone, have, on hindsight, been inspired by the SG's insistence that the culture of impunity must end and that international law must not be compromised to suit particular domestic needs.

14. The idea of the Special Court for Sierra Leone may arguably have its geneses in this particular pronouncement by the SG. Rejection of impunity quickly sent a strong message to the warring parties that the conflict might be difficult to resolve at the level in which it was created-that is-the confines of Sierra Leone legal system. It was time international law assumed ascendancy over the domestic law of Sierra Leone. Where domestic law provides inadequate remedy, international law sets in to fill in the gap. Hence the idea that the Statute of the Special Court must be a hybrid legal regime combining international law with applicable domestic law, an arrangement peculiar to Sierra Leone.

15. But one still wonders why national stakeholders at the Lome Peace Agreement, aware of the cliche that a short cut to achieving quick results is "a bad cut", agreed to accept impunity as that "short cut" to peace? Was it because they had genuinely placed their hope for peace and reconciliation on the TRC, or was it that they were aware of the ailing state of the judiciary and its tested inability to freely deliver on justice? Are the laws of Sierra Leone themselves predictable, transparent and practicable enough to command respect among ordinary citizens?

THE SPECIAL COURT FOR SIERRA LEONE:
16. In a letter dated 8 June 2000 addressed to the SG, Mr. Kofi Annan, His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah expressed his concerns about the state of the judiciary. The President, through the Secretary General, requested the assistance of the Security Council in establishing "a strong and credible court that will meet the objectives of bringing justice and ensuring lasting peace." He added that given the "extent of the crimes committed, Sierra Leone does not have the resources or the expertise to conduct the trials for such crime" as the infrastructure of the legal and judicial system is destroyed.

17. We are all aware of the developments that followed thereafter. The United Nations endorsed the idea that there indeed was a compelling need to establish the Special Court for Sierra Leone to judge those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes committed during the war. The Statute of the Special Court was then drafted in a way that ensured "laws are public knowledge, are clear in meaning and apply equally to everyone" suspected of bearing such responsibility. This way, indicted members of the RUF, the CDF and the ex-SLA could be assured equal treatment.

18. Whatever the merits or demerits of retributive justice such as the special court offer, it is not the one and only justice capable of bringing peace to Sierra Leone. A retired member of the Nigerian Supreme Court, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, warns that while justice for victims of human rights abuses is essential for reconciliation, "it ought also to be justice for the perpetrators of those abuses. But most importantly, it will be justice for the nation at large---an eye for an eye may be retributive, and will end up leaving all blind by sparkling off a whirlwind of revenge." Speaking about the limitations of punitive justice in Rwanda, one fellow-Commissioners among you, Professor William Schabas, observes:

"It should be kept in mind that no judicial system anywhere in the world, has been designed to cope with the requirements of prosecuting genocide. Criminal justice systems exist to deal with crimes on an individual level. They are unsuited for crimes committed by tens of thousands, and directed against hundreds of thousands ...Even a prosperous country, with a sophisticated judicial system, would be required to seek special and innovative solutions to criminal law prosecutions on such scale."

Neither can amnesty single handedly heal the festering, deep wounds sustained by many during the war. A "toolbox of different institutions," independent yet mutually reinforcing, might be the way forward. The toolbox may comprise of care, rehabilitation and retribution considering that the more egregious the atrocities, the greater the need for innovative insights.

19. The two transitional justice mechanisms operating concurrently in Sierra Leone today: the TRC and the Special Court may in the end incrementally chart a successful course to the rule of law and lasting pace. Yet posterity will one day pose a question: What was the locus of our judiciary in all this? How did it contribute, if only a token, to making us come to terms with our sordid past? It is not my place to answer these questions. However, it is a well-known fact, though not usually coached in these terms, that the justice sector was as much a war casualty as the hypothetical Ms. Kadiatu who was raped, baby Conteh who was amputated and Ali who was enslaved. Rape of an institution, its amputation and enslavement to the whims of individuals, are no less devastating to the country and to the entire body of nations as is a limb to the victim and his family. The judiciary then is as much in need of rehabilitation today as do all victims and perpetrators of war. UNAMSIL and several other international organizations have assisted the judiciary regain some of its diminished vitality.

UNAMSIL'S ROLE IN STRENTHENING THE JUDICIARY
20. As we are aware, the judiciary was confined to Freetown during the war. It is only recently that the numb arm of justice in the provinces has started to show signs of life again. As is today, the magistrate courts in Tokolili, Koinadugu, Bombali, Kambia and Bo, have been rehabilitated either by UNAMSIL, UNDP, DFID and/or other donor organization. Magistrate courts in Port Loko, Moyamba Pujehun, Kenema, Kailahun and Kono are either under construction or are being renovated. There are 30 magistrate court throughout the country, but Magistrate Court in the provinces are serviced by only 4 magistrates on rotational basis. To expedite the administration of justice, Justices of the Peace have been trained and deployed throughout the country. Thanks to the contributions of the UNDP.

Similar efforts are underway to rehabilitate prisons throughout the country. Through government funding and/or the funding of other donor organization, Tonkolili, Bonthe, Pujehun, Bo and Kono prisons have been rehabilitated. Soon the penitentiary system will come back to normal.

THE ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY IN THE CONFLICT:
21.These logistical supports are essential to the rehabilitation of the judiciary, but are by no means a panacea to the deep-rooted concerns about the role of the judiciary in the conflict. When the civil war started in 1991, one reason advanced by the RUF for trying to overthrow the Government of President Momoh was the lack of justice and equality before the law. Thus, at the inception of the conflict, the judiciary was implicated as a party to, not an arbitrator in the conflict. The interminable acquiescence of the Judiciary to the pressures of the executive arm of the succeeding governments is usually cast as one of the main causes of its low esteem. Battered by corruption and other serious irregularities, the public developed an unflattering perception of the judges as manipulable devices in the hands of the state. This seriously undermined their claim to independence and integrity in the eye of the populous.

22. With the sustained effort by various international organizations to empower the judiciary, there are now signs the latter is beginning to inch its way away from past practices, but it has, as yet, not overcome them. That case in point are the twin trial of the RUF and the West Side Boys accused of murder, conspiracy to murder and shooting with intent to kill. Good number of them remains behind bars to date since they were apprehended and detained under the Presidential Public Emergency (Detention) Order in May 2000. While their arrest and detention is purely a matter of domestic law, the conditions of detention, are our common concern. As has been indicated in several Secretary General's reports, the 9th, l0th and the 11th report for example, the accused have never been permitted to consult with their attorneys, are denied family visits and are periodically ferried to the high court only to stand before the judge without legal representation. Taking cognizance of the mandatory provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Special Instruments on Human Rights and the Administration of Justice, it is clear that justice is denied these accused persons. Although the individuals concerned were detained under Emergency regulations, their fundamental rights cannot give way, or take a backseat as the emergency Regulations take a front seat. This might be the legal regime of the past, but times have changed, and have done so signifcantly.4 I cite principal 5,6 and 7 to elucidate the point. Respectively, principles, 5, 6, and 7 of the Special Instruments on Human Rights and the Administration of Justice state:

Governments shall ensure that all persons are immediately informed by the competent authority of their right to be assisted by a lawyer of their own choice upon arrest or detention or when charge with a criminal offence.

Any such persons who do not have a lawyer shall, in all cases in which the interests of justice so require, be entitled to have a lawyer of experience and competence commensurate with the nature of the offence assigned to them in order to provide effective legal assistance, without payment by them if they lack sufficient means to pay for such services.

Governments shall further ensure that all persons arrested or detained, with or without criminal charge, shall have prompt access to a lawyer, and in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of arrest or detention.

See the State v Adel Osman and others (Kutubu, C.J.)

23. The right to the defense in criminal proceedings is, therefore, a fundamental human right, which as a matter of law, the state cannot deny any accused.  If the accused is indigent and cannot defend himself in a court of law, such person has the right to have legal assistance assigned to him in any case where the interests of justice so require. The State has the duty to immediately inform a11 persons concerned of these rights.

24. Besides the matter of the RUF and the West Side Boys currently before the Hugh Court, the on-going treason trial is also a grave cause for concern. Fortunately, unlike the case of the State against the RUF and West Side boys, a number of lawyers have volunteered their services pro-bono. In Freetown and in the provinces as well, the question of pre-trail detention is rising to alarming proportions and must be addressed very soon if the frequency of breakouts, and unhealthy living conditions in the prisons due to overcrowding, is to be minimized. If such problem are address in time, their deleterious effects could be avoided.

Conclusion
I conclude with a quote from the UNDP Human Development Report 2000 which says: "Without the rule of law, and fair administration of justice, human rights are no more than paper." In February 2001, Sierra Leone Bar Association held a conference on the rule of law and the administration. Although the conference was held at a time when the country was still at war, the conferees had the poise and equanimity to point out the need for legal reform. It was recommended that both the legal profession and the Government should insure justice is available to all citizens notwithstanding their means or lack of it. To date, this promise remains a challenge. But if legal reform is to begin somewhere, making the justice system accessible to the vulnerable is a sure way to end impunity. If the system is just to the poor, it will, a fortiori, be just to the privileged.



Role of the Media

By Search for Common Ground

Introduction

Wherever and whenever violent conflict looms, the media--television, radio, newspapers and websites - have a crucial role to play.  They can inflame the situation; or they can use their considerable power to defuse tension.  In other words, they can be part of the problem : or they can be part of the solution.  In practice, they are usually both.

In every conflict, media activities can be placed along a broad spectrum. At one extreme, there is hate media, which can directly incite a population toward genocide or ethnic cleansing, as Radio Mille Collines did in Rwanda in 1994. At the other end of the spectrum, the press can play an active, positive role in peace-building.

Information is used as a weapon of war, which we saw clearly in the Sierra Leone case.  In conflict situations or settings, information flow is considered a cardinal instrument both  to the par-ties to the conflict - in the way they wish to be perceived - and those on the receiving end of the former's actions. In Sierra Leone during the war, the need for information had never been higher however neither the information infrastructure nor the policy environment was in place.   Government had no means to talk to her people across the country, telephone lines were non existent, only a few provincial police stations had HF radios and the population existed on rumours and hearsay. Some government officials had to use satellite phones of NGOs to speak with their own authorities until the American government donated some to GOSL.  The  RUF ,  the other hand, had state of the art communication system so if anything happened in the areas under their control the high command knew about it. Sam Bockarie had a satellite phone, which he traveled with everywhere, and eventually Foday Sankoh too got access to one. RUF even established a radio station called Freedom FM in Kailahun district.  However neither government nor RUF had a media policy and neither handled the media part of the war with any kind of finesse.

A list of the number of journalists who lost their life or suffered embarrassment, harassment and even imprisonment due to the crises is an indicator:

  1. A Standard Times -journalist lost an eye during the January 6 invasion when he was, beaten by RUF
  2. During the January 6 invasion a Nigerian Journalist working with the Concord Times was abducted and had never been seen.
  3. Saoman Conteh of the New Tablet was killed by Sankoh's men at his Spur road resident
  4. During a patrol with military men, Eddie Smith working for New Storm newspaper fell in an ambush and was killed
  5. One Editor of another newspaper was killed at the State House during the period of extra judicial killings by the Kamajors.  He was accused of being a rebel collaborator.
  6. During January 6 invasion, upon their return Christopher Coker a freelance journalist was abducted.  He escaped after weeks of maltreatment and
  7. 4 SLBS journalist were jailed in Pademba Road prison, one SLBS journalist was killed.

Imagine the confusion in which the public and civil society operated'? The information flow during the ten years of a gruesome civil strife is something to be ashamed of as it highlighted the ignorance and recklessness of the government of Sierra Leone since independence. Conflict is about change, and violent conflict is about painful change. The media environment in Sierra Leone is no exception to this. The changes in the media landscape since 1991 when the war started up to today are phenomenal to say the least.    The present government is to be commended for this.

In 1991 when Corporal Alfred Saybana Sankoh and his RUF declared war on the -All Peoples Congress Party government led by Major General JS Momoh, the government decided to sell the idea of `an external invasion from Liberia.  So the media, both print and electronics was summoned and instructed to blame the invasion on Taylor so that the Guineans and Nigerians whom we had bilateral agreements with could intervene. Until it was clear through machination of the press that the conflict was external both countries were not going to intervene.

In 1997 after the national elections when the junior officers overthrew the government, the conflict between the independent media and the then `governrnent' media went to battle head to head. The independent media set up an underground radio in safe territory called Radio Democracy 98.1 FM and the `government' media blasted the population Full time with their ow n propaganda. It was dangerous to be caught listening to the clandestine radio however it was the only source of national news with some credibility.  However it put people in a dilemma, lacking viable and factual information with which to make informed decisions. The complex and political nature of the conflict in Sierra Leone by then, had allocated media members to different factions. Thus the citizenry had to rely on international media like the BBC, VOA and RFI for credible and unbiased information. However even those reporter.; were considered partisan and most of their sources were mainly urban based couldn't give people adequate information on daily events.

The late BBC stringer in the south of Sierra Leone found favour in exaggerating the losses of the  RUF to the extent that listeners became suspicious and easily linked him with a faction. What we see here is that this stringer has inadvertently allowed himself to disseminate just one part of' the story.

Mariama Sesay, a resident in the east end of Freetown was gunned down by a group of gun-toting members of the AFRC (Armed Forces Revolutionary Council) because she was listening to the clandestine radio-- tuning to the then Democracy radio 98.1 FM.  This medium was considered inimical to the operations of the junta regime.

Upon restoration of the democratically elected government in 1998, antagonism between the media and the government intensified.  The effect on the people was that no credible or balanced information was forthcoming.  War reports needed to be sanctioned by the government.  A clear-cut case was General Maxwell Mitikishe khobe, the Late Nigerian born Chief of Staff of Sierra Leone.  In most press briefings it was not uncommon for him to guide and caution pressmen as to what to report regarding the security situation in the country.

The backlash, of course, of this information control from the powers that be culrninated to the surprise attack and besieging of Freetown in January 1999. Before the final attack a  true report by a local journalist was dismissed as a figment of his imagination and he was labeled a collaborator.  He was subjected to public ridicule and security harassment, notwithstanding the government media's sluggishness to tell the population about the security situation, more so its gains and losses both in the diplomatic and war fronts.  Polarisation within the media (for and against – no middle ground) did not yield any solid gains in the war other than an increase in suspicion, fear and uncertainty on the part of the public and civil  society.

A ray of hope materialized in April 1999 with a consultative meeting  that brought people  together from all walks of life. It gave government the mandate to talk peace with Revolutionary United Front rebels. Albeit the people's expressed views were carpeted by government, which  went ahead and signed a Peace treaty with the Revolutionary United Front.

But strengthening of civil society should go hand in hand with an attendant increase in public information and its dissemination. The consultative process strengthened civil society and in that regard public information plays a huge role. KISS 1=M 104 in Bo was the only independent radio Source in the country side and worked tirelessly with minimal resources and no support to report  independently on the war.

When Search for Common Ground began working with its multi media studio, Talking Drum Studio ('I'DS) , in June 2000. the scenario was:

  • a polarized media aligned with various military factions existed.
  • little government or independent public information structures outside of Freetown.
  • RUF well versed in communication technology
  • 5 radio stations covering less that 50%of the population
  • a radio style favouring elitist male discourse
  • and a population who realized the need and benefits of information existed.

SFCG, an international NGO working in conflict transformation uses the media as a tool for peace building. SFCG is committed to using the power of media to help make the world a more peaceful place.  We encourage objective reporting at the same time that we promote peace building, and we see the two as complementary.  We believe our work embodies responsible journalism.  We  are proud of our role to defues and prevent violence.

Traditional journalism usually stresses conflict -- and often exploits it for  its entertainment value. Editors seem to work from the premise that conflict is interesting and agreement is dull. Consequently, discordant behaviour tends to be rewarded with air time and newspaper space, while efforts to build consensus and solve problems are penalized --- by being either ignored or discounted. A conflict-centred approach may attract viewers or sell papers, but it definitely has a  negative impact on larger issues of war and peace. Moreover, it does not reflect what most people have learned in their individual lives: namely, that successful relationships -- in families, communities, and businesses -- are usually based on finding ways of working together, to the mutual benefit of everyone involved.    Indeed, if the human species is going to handle its ever-growing list of problems, ways must be found to reduce polarization and to be inclusive rather  than exclusive.

The media can make a substantial contribution to this process. There clearly is a need for  problem-solving, peace-building approach to journalism. The Following components  would seem to  contribute to that approach:

  • Ask different questions, so that different answers emerge. The core question asked by most reporters tends to be. “Where do you disagree'?" In fact, form a peace-building perspective, the question might rather be, “Where do you agree'?" From a purely journalistic standpoint, however, both questions seem equally valid. Reporters who ask about possible areas of agreement are, in essence, helping reframe conflict.
  • "Understand the differences: act on the commonalities." Unquestionably, journalism probes deeply into the divisions that separate enemy groups  and nations.  At the same time, peace is not likely to emerge until parties in conflict find ways to act on the basis of shared interests and concerns.  A TV series that delves into the major disagreements between  parties in conflict, but also show areas of agreement is more likely to advance the cause of peace than a series  that only focuses on the differences.
  • Outside initiatives can help things turn around. In most conflicts, opposing ethnic and national groups have their own media, which are highly segregated.  As a result, the two sides live in information ghettos.  While well-meaning media executives, editors and journalists may exist with a community, they usually lack the resources and/or the inclination to understand other perspectives or search for solutions. Well- targeted initiatives, coming from the international community, can help close the divide and build trust between opposing groups.
  • The attitudes of the reporters and producers are very important, and those attitudes  can change. The perspective of media professionals – where they come from, both psychologically and intellectually – has a direct impact on the nature of the programming they produce.  When they realize that positive alternatives exist and that an adversarial approach is not inevitable, they are more likely to write and produce material that contributes to peace-building.  Training programmes for journalists can have substantial impact, and this is one reason why all the organisations profiled in this book carry out training projects.
  • All media and most formats can be used to produce programming that contributes to peace-building. All forms of print and electronic media are potential tools for peace-building. Moreover, virtually any format – including chat shows, roundtables,  documentaries, soap opera, children's drama, and sports -- can be adapted to convey ideas that support tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict.
  • Programming should be entertaining, informative, and persuasive.  Positive journalism need not be boring. Indeed, it should challenge and engage the audience. Good writing is vital. As much as possible, compelling stories that model the desired behaviour should he brought to life. Soap opera of the sort produced by the BBC in Afghanistan, Panos in West Africa, and Common Ground Productions in seven countries is particularly useful for communicating messages with social content.
  • Programming should be rooted in the context. What works in one country does not necessarily work in another, and expertise often does not transfer from place to place.  In every instance, there needs to be profound cross-cultural adaptation  - coupled with humility.  While it is probably true that every culture places a high value on good story – outsiders can vring fresh approaches and insights, they should work in close cooperation with insiders who have deep roots in the culture.
  • Understand the media landscape. There needs to be a thorough understanding of the local media landscape and recognition of the advantages and disadvantages involved in working with specific partners.  For example, there are large variations in the ability of particular media and media outlets to communicate ideas effectively to local population.  Also, co-production with government broadcasters – as opposed to independent ones – can present problems of credibility and censorship.   
  • Research and evaluation enhance the process. Media programming  can be made more effective by comprehensive research into the nature of the conflict, the tastes and habits of the viewing audience, and the intended outcomes that the programming aims to achieve.  Research should combine state-of-the-art, social science methodologies with local cultural norms and attitudes.
  • Keep hope alive. The media can play a crucial role in informing the public that violent conflict is not inevitable and that peaceful solutions really are achievable.  It is easy to despair and to forget that virtually all peace processes have huge ups and downs.  As former US Senator George Mitchell, the lead mediator for Northern Ireland, has said, "There is no conflict that cannot be resolved. Violent conflict is created and sustained by human beings, and it can be ended by human beings."'

In operationalising the above points, "Talking Drum Studio, the multi media project of Search for Common Ground has become a household name.  With the support of the American and British governments, the European Commission, the Swiss Development Corporation as well as the Dutch Foreign Ministry and the Swedish and Canadian Government, Search for Common Ground, began getting voices of ordinary Sierra Leoneans on radio.  That included those living with the RUF – they too had a valid and valuable contribution to make.  The RUF had been monitoring all the radio station programmes and many of them knew TDS from Liberia.  They heard first Common Ground features and a huge debate erupted in the movement about whether this was a government programme or not.  Discussion and analysis of our programmes by the RUF  continued.  At that time the then rebel-controlled kailahun district , TDS was confronted and accused of being a government radio journalists.  In fact, the commanders and the other outfits of the RUF frowned on any interview with any journalists.  Fortunately, we took some of our cassettes and shared our schedule with RUF.  We collected their own voices and put them on our programmes not cutting their ideas or inflicting our own analysis.  With techniques concentrating on the common interest shared by the parties rather than their differences, the RUF were then willing to share their concerns and issues with us.  TDS was able to  build confidence through strong manifestation of impartiality.  That confidence is still vested in TDS.

The year 2000, another peace deal witnessed rebel inclusion in government machinery.  With Foday sankoh as Chairman of a Commission for the mineral resources of Sierra Leone, the RUF were now out in the open and available to all media stakeholders.   That same year the media reported Sankoh's plan to topple and derail the peace process, which was precipitated by the arrest of 500 Peace Keepers in eastern Sierra Leone/Kailahun.

As a result, civil society mobilized the population to register their protest against Sankoh and the RUF.  Everyone wanted peace.  26 civilians were gunned down during the protest in front of Foday Sankoh's residence.  In fact, a colleague or ours (Saoman Conteh) did not escape the ensuing carnage as he was gtunned down by elements of the Revolutionary United Front when he attempted to cover  and report on the incidents of that fateful day.

So during the course of the war the suffering galvanized civil society development that the population endured.  And civil society needs information and the flow of  information to enable to effectively mobilize and advocate.  However this wan not in place in Sierra Leone.  As stated earlier regulating information flow to a starving public and civil society took a different turn with the proactive interventions from many circles.  The British government supported a media development project, which put in place 4 provincial radio stations, which could link to the mother station in Freetown to give news to her population.  UNAMSIL, the UN peacekeeping force also opened an FM and short-wave radio station that gave information to the country.  The media landscape began to change and open up.  With a largely illiterate population radio is by far the most powerful tool for information dissemination.  Newspapers, over 12 don't move much farther than the environs of Freetown and many people cannot afford to buy them.  From June 2000 when TDS began operations 5 radio stations existed and now in 2003 15 radio stations are operating.

Take the case of the 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections: due to the regional nature of politics in Sierra Leone, elections are divisive rather than consolidating in nature.  The 2002 elections, conceived as the final phase of the peace process, were critical as many areas had been under Ruf control for many years such as Kailahun (10 years) and if they were not conducted trasnparently it had the power to derail the entire peace process.  In a society where the state is discredited, as its information is considered partisan, there was the need for an independent media network to monitor the elections.  SFCG supported the emergence of the Independent Radio Network (IRN) comprising of Talking Drum Studio, and four independent radio stations, namely, Kiss 104 FM,Radio Democracy 98.1 and Believers Broadcasting Network 93.0 FM.  The IRN was full time involved in voter education throughout the country.  Talking Drum Studio, through outreach exercises, educated and trained different youth categories on how to monitor the registration process.  Themes like “No to election violence”.  “ Need to register and vote” were strongly debated in the various radio stations.

On May 14th 2002, the Election Day, the IRN deployed reporters and correspondents to all districts of Sierra Leone to monitor and report on the progress and outcome of the    elections.  An editorial desk comprised of three station managers was established at  TDS and all the stations reported through 98.1FM from the TDS office.  Daily incidents at each polling booth were regularly reported live on the wires.  The active and proactive means of communication created the opportunity for the citizenry and the public at large to know at every point in time, how the electioneering process was going on in all parts of the country.  This unbiased display of reportage did help to avert immediate and subsequent suspicions in the conduct of the election.  This sustained information process created the opportunity for the politicians as well as the electorate to make informed decisions and assumptions as to the outcome of the election.  By the time the National Electoral Commission came out with the final election result many who had been following through the airwaves already had sufficient information about the results.  So there were no surprises and the opportunity to manipulate outcomes and therefore protests were minimized.

As an independent producer TDS has no radio broadcast capability and depends on its partners, the FM stations to broadcast. This serves to minimize the risk to the stations when controversial topics are covered by TDS and allows TDS more scope in national coverage and has earned the organization great independence. TDS on its programmes has little commentary except to encourage people towards finding peaceful solutions or resolutions. However the commentary is embedded in the design; the issues we chose to follow, the voices we put on the programmes. Certain guidelines have been established within TDS to ensure our fairness and balance and the wise management of sensitive information.

Some of the ways this has been achieved is through fairness in which all parties to a conflict are given the opportunity to register their own side of the story.

Of the material used, voices are sought from around the country. About half of the vioces should be from Freetown. And two thirds from up country.  Also half should be female and the half male.  Children and youth are especially encouraged in our programmes.

Also the staff is representative of all regions and political persuasions of the country. This gives TDS access to information in the districts as each staff brings networks and contacts of their own.

Voices - We use Krio that is the lingua franca of the nation.  We let people speak how they want to speak - there is no correct or formal way to express yourself and this has given people access beyond most radio, which has been for the most part elitist, English and urban male discourse.

In terms of regulating sensitive information. TDS has employed its own traditional ways, of packaging and presenting programmes far removed from the regular live broadcasts we hear over the radios. For example, the sensitive issue of sexual exploitation by Aid workers in refugee camps surfaced at one time when TDS staff visited. A female inmate, (name withheld) narrated and made claims that Aid workers in return for food aid were sexually exploiting them. The alleged victim only make a blanket allegation but the issue being so sensitive demanded thorough investigation, the result of which led to the launching of an official code of conduct for all Aid workers within refugee camps.

From the above experiences it is easy to see that Sierra Leone, after ten years of conflict still lacks a defined medial policy.  An understanding between government and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has led to the creation of the Independent Media Commission (IMC).  The objective of the IMC is to regulate the media profession while upholding tenets of the profession.  Instead, the IMC, financially handicapped to operate has ended up as one of those 'white elephant' projects.  For example, even though SLAJ has on several occasions asked for the repeal of the obnoxious and outdated criminal libel law the libel law trapped a journalist and he spent Christmas in jail.

The role of the media in consolidating peace in Sierra Leone is paramount.  In trying to reverse the 30 years of misrule and bad government, and in pursuit of the emerging democratice  framework Sierra Leoneans are expected overnight to change their attitude and engagement in a  new social contract with the state. However how committed is government to the new  social contract which embraces all Sierra Leoneans of every ethnic group and sex? Consultation and representation are still key issues as are justice and governance.  Understanding their power to engage their government requires a responsible media that can help to inform the population as to their new roles and responsibilities. The International community has understood this by supporting a variety of projects Involving the media and most prominently Talking Drum Studio.



THE SOCIETY FOR RADIO DEMOCRACY FM 98.1

Bishop J. C. Humper
Chairman
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Block A
Brookfields Hotel Jomo Kenyateh Road
New England Freetown

Dear Sir,

RE: REQUEST FOR SUBMISSION TO THE COMMISSION

I refer to previous correspondence terminating with your letter dated 25th February, 2003, on the above subject, and forward herewith a submission by the Society for Radio Democracy FM 98.1 which it is hoped will be of assistance to your commission.
Yours faithfully,

P. I. Lambert
General Manager

cc: Miss Hannah Foullah
Station Manager

Mr. Nicholas Brown-Marke
Chairman
Board of Directors
32, Bathurst Street
Freetown



HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY FOR RADIO DEMOCRACY FM 98.1 (COMMONLY CALLED RADIO DEMOCRACY FM 98.1D.)

GENESIS

1. Radio Democracy came into being in the aftermath of a coup d'etat staged by some elements of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces on 25th May, 1997. The Military regime which emerged was known as the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) which subjected the people of Sierra Leone to an unprecedented reign of terror for nearly nine months.

2. To entrench itself in power the AFRC, from the outset, mounted a massive and relentless propaganda campaign specifically designed and intended to denigrate and ridicule the constitutionally-elected government it had ousted by utilizing the resources of the state-owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Radio and Television Station (SLBS/TV) which it had commandeered.

3. Another purpose of the AFRC's propaganda was to demoralize, undermine and break the resistance of the citizenry who had demonstrated their abhorrence of the AFRC and all it stood for by going on strike throughout the life span of the regime.

4. Radio Democracy was therefore born out of the dire need not only to counter, negate and rebut the relentless spurious propaganda churned out by the AFRC, but also to design and broadcast programmes to bolster the resilience of the people and to sustain their confidence in the constitutionally-elected government which was then in exile in the neighboring Republic of Guinea.

5. Radio Democracy started broadcasting from a secure location at Lungi in the Mahera Chiefdom, Port Loko District on 7th July, 1997. To a large extent, its skillfully designed programmes, in conjunction with the non-violent resistance of the citizenry, contributed in no small measure to bringing down the AFRC in March 1998 when the democratically-elected government was reinstated.

PRESENT LOCATION:
Following the restoration of democratic rule, Radio Democracy commenced broadcasting in Freetown in April 1998 to ensure continuity of its programmes.

Its broadcasting studio is located at Signal Hill, Wilberforce, Freetown, while its Administrative and Commercial Office is located at 7, Upper Waterloo Street, Freetown.

CURRENT STATUS:
7. Radio Democracy is a company limited by guarantee without a share capital and was registered under CAP 249 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960 on l lth February, 2000.

Therefore, unlike a public limited liability company, it cannot raise capital by selling shares because it is prevented by Law to do so. The registered name of the company is The Society for Radio Democracy FM 98.1. Its Memorandum and Articles of Association enjoins the company, amongst other things, to champion the cause of Sierra Leoneans in the advancement of education, democracy, good governance and human rights.

PROGRAMMES:
8. In order to achieve its objectives, Radio Democracy has focused on news programmes, and programmes with high civic education value. Due to its awareness of the low level of education and illiteracy rate in Sierra Leone, Radio Democracy has adopted a policy of broadcasting all its programmes in Krio, the Lingua Franca in Sierra Leone. It broadcasts for eighteen hours daily and some of its key programmes are:

  • Salone Nyus (Sierra Leone News) - This is a daily news and current affairs programme
  • Le We Tok (Let us Talk) - This is a one hour discussion and phone-in programme enabling studio guests to interact with members of the public on a wide variety of topics ranging from good governance, law reform, health to other topical issues
  • Way Tin De Be (Current Events) - This is a thirty minute programme of news and comments on current events broadcast from Monday through Friday.
  • Wel Body Bizness (Health Matters) - This is a one-hour programme which deals with matters pertaining to health and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, Lassa Fever, Malaria, Hygiene.
  • Book Talk (Educational Matters) This is a one-hour programme which deals with matters pertaining to education, government policy on education, government's inputs, literacy, teachers salaries, responsibilities of parents and guardians, recreational facilities for pupils, entry requirements to universities and other tertiary institutions etc.

9. To ensure its editorial independence, Radio Democracy's Articles of Association specifically precludes any government official or any official of a political party from being members of the company.

SOURCES OF INCOME
10. Radio Democracy's Articles of Association stipulates that the company may:

- solicit funds from local and international non-govermental organizations (NGOs) and friendly foreign governments
- generate revenue through grants and donations
- generate revenue by engaging in commercial activities relating to broadcasting such as advertising.

11. Apart from the British Government which, through its Department for International Development (DFID), donated the transmitters, reel to reel tape recorders, professional walkmen, a utility vehicle, an Outside Broadcast Van utilized by the company, and a large quantity of consumables such as audio cassettes, reel tapes and assorted items of stationery which have long been exhausted, Radio Democracy has had to rely entirely on revenue it derives from advertising to meet its fixed and running costs. These include payment of rent, salaries, electricity and telephone bills, water and city rates, maintenance and procurement of automotive and lubricating oils for its utility vehicle, Outside Broadcast Van and standby generator, maintenance and replacement of unserviceable broadcast equipment, procurement of all items of office stationery, audio cassettes, reel tapes, batteries and splicing tapes, maintenance and replacement of unserviceable air conditioners, procurement, maintenance and replacement of unserviceable computers and accessories.

12. To be specific, Radio Democracy derives income from the following sources:

(i) Broadcast of public notices
(ii) Broadcast of obituaries
(iii) Advertisements
(iv) Sale of dedication forms
(v) Sponsored programmes

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE:
The affairs of the Radio Democracy are managed by a Board of Directors comprising five Non-Executive Directors and two Executive Directors.

The Directors are empowered to do all such things as they consider necessary for the attainment of the objects of the company as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association except that the non-executive directors shall not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

The day-to-day operations of the company are the responsibility of the General Manager who is its administrative head, and the Station Manager who is its professional head.

Radio Democracy has in its employ thirty-nine (39) employees comprising twentytwo (22) full time staff, and seventeen (17) freelancers.


 

"THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA"
STATEMENT BY HON. PROFESSOR SEPTIMUS M. KAIKAI, MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING AT THE' TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION HEARING ON WEDNESDAY, 30TH JULY, 2003 AT THE YWCA NEW HALL, BROOKFIEDS, FREETOWN.

Mr. Chairman
Commissioners

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to have been asked to make a statement in a thematic manner to this Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is my hope that the issues that I have been asked to address will help in some small way to enhance the work of the Commission. This commission means a lot to us in this country.

My presentation will focus on the mandate of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the four departments that constitute it and the developments that have taken place since this government took over.

I want to place on record the fact that any developments that took place prior to my assumption of office in 2002 should be credited to my predecessors.

THE MANDATE OF THE M.I.B.

The achievement of good governance and a truly democratic state is contingent upon the existence of a well-informed citizenry. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of which I am the political head, is the arm of government that is expected to facilitate the enhancement of such citizenry. It is therefore charged with the following responsibilities:

i.    Internal and external information services
ii.    Provision of press and information services for government ministries and departments.
iii.    Preparation of printed publicity and information material for use locally and abroad
iv.    Planning and Management of government press, television and cinema campaigns            
v.    National radio and television services.
vi.    General printing and publicity for government
vii.    And until recently, procurement and supply of stationery and other office requirements for government ministries and departments.

To enable it carry out the above functions, the Ministry is made up of the following departments:

  1. The Government Information Services (G.I.S.)
  2. The Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA)
  3. The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS Radio and Television)
  4. The Government Printing Department

THE GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES (GIS)
The Government Information Services (GIS), as its name implies is government owned and administered. There is no controversy about its legal status, or its official function as the principal channel for disseminating government policy to the public at large. Previously called the Public Relations Department, headed by a Public Relations Officer (PRO), it is supposed to be the equivalent of the public relations/public affairs arm of private corporations. The official functions of the Service are:

(i) To interpret and explain Government policies and programmes to the people of Sierra Leone and to the outside world.
(ii) To assist Government to keep in close touch with public reaction to its policies and programmes.
(iii) To help in shaping a well-informed public opinion.
(iv) To mobilize, encourage and assist Sierra Leoneans to take increasing interest in, and responsibility for the social, economic, political and cultural development of their country.
(v) To give Sierra Leone maximum publicity abroad so as to create a better and informed understanding not only for her problems, but also of her needs, opportunities, achievements, as well as her hopes and aspirations.
(vi) To assist in the fight against ignorance, poverty and disease by disseminating information to members of the public, and mass campaigns.
(vii) To assist in creating an atmosphere conducive to development, investment and external trade, in furtherance to the maintenance of friendly relations.
(viii) To provide official liaison between Government and the nation as well as the international press and
(ix) To provide effective public relations on behalf of Government, and to illuminate the image of Sierra Leone in the eyes of the world."

GIS is expected to perform its functions primarily through publications, public address systems, cinematography, photography, news gathering and dissemination, and a research and archival facility. However, the performance of the Service has deteriorated considerably over the years. Its constraints and deficiencies have been fully documented in various departmental memoranda. They range from lack of dysfunctional office and communication equipment, mobility and training programmes.

However, in a bid to ensure effective Government Information dissemination, the Government Information Services has proposed to set up a Unit to be known as the Press and Public Affairs Unit.

FUNCTIONS
This Unit will perform the following functions:

  1. Provide timely and accurate information about government policy and programmes to the local and the international public.
  2. Provide feedback to Government on public reactions to its policies and programmes. Also conduct opinion polls on important national issues on behalf of government.
  3. Rebut false or inaccurate reports carried in the local and international media, which might have adverse effects on the nation.
  4. Produce and disseminate Government Statements and Public Notices as and when needed.
  5. Liaise with all Government Departments and public institutions in order to keep the public informed about their activities.
  6. Serve as a link between government and the local and international press through setting up of appointments and arranging interviews with government officials and sourcing information for the press.
  7. Serve as a bridge between government and the governed particularly rural communities, by designing and possibly producing special radio and television programmes for broadcast.
  8. Organise Press Conferences for Ministries and other government institutions.    .

SLENA
The Sierra Leone News Agency, SLENA, was established in the wake of the 1980 OAU Conference to serve as a Clearing House for all news items and other issues pertaining to the conference that were of interest to foreign media personnel covering the conference. UNESCO and the Pan African News Agency were instrumental in funding most of the agencies activities as well as logistical support. The Sierra Leone Government on its part provided office facilities and the staff to run the Agency.

Like other News Agencies, SLENA was to be autonomous for neutrality and credibility of its news. In addition to funds from UNESCO and PANA, government was to give the agency grants in aid on an annual basis until it was strong enough to function independently.

As time went on, UNESCO and PANA threatened to withhold funding until the Agency became independent of government. As the government's financial position became precarious, it finally agreed in 2000 to let go of SLENA and a bill was prepared and presented to Parliament in 2001 to ensure that the Agency was completely independent of Government, UNESCO sent an expert to assist in the preparation of the Bill.

The fear that they may not be able to stand or. their own even with funding from UNESCO and PANA, since such funds are rigorously monitored, SLENA management asked for the Bill to be suspended at least for now.

SIERRA NEWS
Since the News Bulletin produced by SLENA was not in high demand and therefore not marketable, management decided to go into Newspaper business and asked for assistance from the Ministry by way of providing the necessary funds. The Ministry set aside a sizeable amount of money for production for up to about six months. Returns from sales during that period were to be put in a special SLENA Account run by the Agency with the Managing Director, the Permanent Secretary and the Accountant of the Ministry of Information serving as signatories. Any two can sign to withdraw money.

The paper was to be self-financed after the period of the Ministry's intervention.

GRANTS IN-AID
According to the foregoing discussions I held with the Budget Bureau, budgetary allocations to the Government Information Services are not meant to be split between SLENA and the GIS. SLENA is supposed to get grants from the Ministry of Information, through the GIS, which has other branches like the Audio Visual Division comprising Photographic and the Public Address Equipment PAE Unit.

This is the government agency charged with the responsibility of collecting and disseminating news and information about Sierra Leone both locally and internationally. Unfortunately, however, like all other departments of the ministry, it had been allowed to degenerate to the point where by 1998, it had virtually ceased functioning due to lack of equipment and poorly motivated staff. There were therefore plans to revitalize the agency through provision of equipment and training. The UNDP had committed itself to provision of equipment for the establishment of a Local Area Network for the Agency that would enable it to link its correspondents throughout the country via computer. The British Department for International Development (DFID) was to provide training for the staff through the Media Development Project.

SLBS
At the end of 1998, there were plans to reform/restructure the SLBS in order to make it more efficient and capable of meeting the needs of the country. It was also recognized that the SLBS had major constraints in the area of equipment and spares. These constraints made it difficult for the institution to achieve an acceptable technical quality in its output.    As a result of these constraints, at the end of 1998, the SLBS had become the Freetown Broadcasting Service, since its coverage was limited to the Western Area. Short Wave transmission had ceased functioning and FM transmission was by a small 250 watts transmitter. Thus, there were plans to procure significant equipment and spares in order to upgrade the technical quality of the station and extend its coverage.    There are now FM Stations in Bo, Kenema, Kono, Kailahun and Makeni.

GOVERNMENT PRINTING DEPARTMENT
This department is responsible for printing all government documents, particularly legislation and accountable documents. It is also responsible for the supply of stationery and office supplies to government departments. In addition, the department manages the Government Bookshop which is the only outlet for the sale of government publications, particularly gazettes, legislation and reports. The bookshop had over the years degenerated into a depressing dump. The work of the department has been hamstrung by obsolete equipment and lack of spares. Lack of funds has also made it impossible for the department to fulfil its obligations for the provision of stationery and office supplies to government departments. There are also plans to rehabilitate the Government Bookshop.

The smooth running of the Ministry during the war years was generally hampered by a chronic lack of funds and the necessary logistics. Most of our equipment were destroyed, call it vandalized during the war. The little funds that were available were channeled to the war efforts. Equally devastating to the Ministry's mandate was the IMF's Structural Adjustment Programme, which laid emphasis or gave priority only to government departments that generated revenue. Funds were generally provided for such departments, as a result, the Ministry was neglected to the extent t hat most of our trained professionals 1eft for greener pastures at the British Broadcasting Corporation, B.B.C., The Voice of America, V.O.A. and others.

In-fact, at the outbreak of the war, our mass media facilities had so deteriorated that both the SLBS radio and television were off the air for almost two years thereby making it impossible for the Ministry to reach the citizenry. As a result, people in rebel held territories tended to believe whatever the rebels told them, as there was no counter information. This unfortunate development, we learnt later, made it easy for people in many areas not only to believe rebel stories that there was no government in Freetown but actually made some people to join rebel forces as the only alternative government.

With the advent of the National Provisional-Ruling Council, (NPRC) a military junta in April 1992, which saw the resuscitation of the radio, TV and the Daily Mail, things started moving albeit not in the direction the professionals would have wished it to move. Although these government owned media institutions were once again functional, the material they put out were far from being accurate and objective. Stories emphasizing the bravery of government soldiers, the Tom Nyumahs, the Kambos, etc. filled the pages of the Daily Mail and occupied the airwaves of both the radio and television. The excesses of soldiers in their relationship with civilians were not reported nor were rebel advances.

This situation led to a complete lack of confidence in the Ministry's channels of communication mentioned above. Thus, although the Ministry's capacity to reach the citizenry with accurate and unbiased information had, to a great extent been enhanced, it was unable to play that role, as a result of the scenario painted above.

The consequences of the foregone were the status quo that I found the Ministry in when I took over as the humble servant of the people and political head of the institution, a situation already described and therefore would not be reiterated in detail if only to avoid repetition. Perhaps what I would do is to highlight efforts we have made to put in place structures or processes aimed at providing some remedies and the levels of access that exist to the remedies. However, for emphasis sake please permit me to mention in passing constraints that were evident when I took over the political leadership of the Information Ministry which were but not limited to:

  • Limited Human Resource Capacity
  • Financial Constraints
  • General Lack of Professional commitment
  • Logistical inadequacy
  • General Lack of entrepreneurial spirit and creativity
  • Evidence of some management lapses
  • Some misuse of human resources and logistics
  • General lack of accountability and transparency

Upon taking over the Ministry a little over a year ago, I quickly put in place what I called short-term goals and objectives with a time tag spanning from July to December 2002. I am proud to report that in-spite of general constraints in the national economy, we were able to achieve all the short term goals both for the SLBS/TV (17 in number) and the GIS (9 in number) of the long term goals for the SLBS/TV (4 in number) two, namely:

  • Design a schedule for the extension of television services to Bo and Kenema, and
  • Establish a comprehensive schedule for the training and continuing education of all professional and technical staff by January 2003 have already been achieved.

In the G.I.S. three of the long term goals (4 in number), have been achieved, namely:

  • Recruitment of additional competent staff (stated to be completed by June 2003)
  • Acquisition of more logistics (stated to be completed by November 30, 2003) have been completed while
  • Preparation of a proposal for either the rehabilitation of the present building (1973) or the construction of a new one slated for completion by April 15, 2003 is completed.

We have set ourselves short and long term goals and objectives in expectation of the following impact/outcomes:

  • Establishment of a new management system (Management by objectives) that is responsive, transparent and accountable.
  • Quantitatively and qualitatively enhance the services provided by all the Divisions in the Ministry.
  • Transformation of SLBS/TV into an efficient and effective institution capable of delivering Government Information policies to the Sierra Leonean populace.
  • Ensuring that almost every citizen has access to timely, accurate and objective information through refined radio networking.
  • Establishing feedback mechanisms and maintaining that two and three way flow of communication to and from the people.
  • Enhance the capacity of the Ministry for effective reporting, supervision and coordination of the operational activities of radio system nationwide.
  • Government website would have been set up for the provision of constant flow of information on government activities and programmes.
  • Completion of the rehabilitation of the Information center at the GIS headquarters.
  • Recruited the appropriate personnel for the various Divisions.
  • Rehabilitated the photographic and PAE/AV units to make them effective, efficient, competitive and revenue generating.
  • The Government Printing Department's revenue generating capacity would have been strengthened.

Developments since this Government took over:
Policy Framework -This is perhaps the area where the ministry has had its greatest achievement in the period under review. In 1999, as a result of the study undertaken with UNDP assistance, an Information and Communication Policy was produced and adopted by government. This policy enunciates a triangular partnership for development between the government, the media and the people. Among other things, its sets out the principles on which State policy in this sector is now based. These principles are as follows:

-    Information and Communication are not merely catalysts, but instruments for achieving the goals and objectives of economic, social and cultural development.
-    Information and Communication are an integral part of national development planning.
-    The people, the government and the media are partners in the national development process.
-    All citizens, especially the masses in the rural areas, have a right to enjoy the benefits derive from modern communication.
-    It is the responsibility of Government to ensure that every citizen has ready access to reliable telecommunication and postal facilities.
-    In the triangular partnership for development, it is the responsibility of government and the media to enhance the participation of the people in the governance of the state, by establishing feedback mechanisms, and maintaining two and three-ways flows of communication to and from the people, especially those in the rural areas.
-    It is the responsibility of the agents of the media to uphold at all times, the fundamental objectives of the Constitution; to highlight the responsibility and accountability o f Government to the people; and to respect the individual rights of the people, including those holding public offices.
-    It is the responsibility of Government to protect the rights of the agents of the media to own and operate their respective means of communication.
-     It is the duty of the people to respect the rights and interests of the media, and help enhance the ability of Government and the media to provide them access to the benefits of information and modern means of communication.

In the exercise of their respective rights and responsibiLities, the ultimate goals of government and the media are tile public good and the national interest.

Media Commission - A major element of the Information and Communication Policy is the establishment of an Independent Media Commission that is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the operations of the media, including registration. I am pleased to report that in the first half of this year, Parliament passed the Independent Media Commission Act 2000 into law. The members of the Commission have since been appointed and took their Oaths of office on November 31 this year.

Action is currently in progress to equip temporary office accommodation for the Commission and it is expected that the Commission will be fully functional in a few weeks time. It is expected that with the coming into existence of this Commission, many of the problems plaguing the media in Sierra Leone will be addressed.
Broadcasting - There have been many developments in the area of broadcasting. In the first place, as a result of DFID's inability to start the Media Development Project in earnest and as a result of the visit of Mrs. Claire Short, the then British Minister for Overseas Development, to Sierra Leone in 1999, it was decided that the establishment of the regional radio stations should be de-linked from the project and implemented on a fast track. We also succeeded in convincing the British government to provide assistance for the rehabilitation of short wave broadcasting. In addition, we succeeded in convincing both the European Union and the UNDP to provide assistance for the rehabilitation of short wave broadcasting. In addition, we succeeded in convincing both the European Union and the UNDP to provide assistance for television.  Furthermore, as a result of a visit to China by a delegation led by my Predecessors, Dr. Julius Spencer, the Chinese government has provided some television production equipment for S LBS. Some work has also been done with locally generated funds, I am therefore pleased to report that the following has so far been achieved:

-    F.M. Radio stations are now operational in Bo and Kenema, broadcasting on 96.5 and 93.5 MHZ respectively. Equipment has also been procured for FM stations in Makeni and Kono which will be installed as soon as security situation permits.
-    A new 2KW solid state FM transmitter (99.9 MHZ) has been procured and installed at Leicester Peak. A new antenna has also been installed. With this new transmitter and antenna, it is now possible for Bo and Kenema to relay programmes live from Freetown, and from either Bo or Kenema to be relayed live in Freetown.
-   The Existing FM studio at New England has been refurbished and a new studio built    with a new microwave link system installed between New England, Leicester Peak and Goderich.
-  Spares for the existing 10 KW short wave transmitter have been installed at Goderich with facilities for broadcasting on both 90M and 49M bands and a new feeder line installed. In addition, a new 10 KW solid-state short wave transmitter has been procured and installed. Both transmitters are now operational and the SLBS had resumed daily broadcasts via short wave. However, due to erratic weather conditions, the service has been temporarily suspended until the antenna, recently struck by lightening, is replaced.
-    The transmitter buildings at Leicester Peak and Goderich have been partly refurbished. It is expected that the refurbishing will be completed before the end of the first quarter 2001.
-    A new 2 KW UHF solid state TV transmitter has been installed at Leicester Peak. This has significantly improved the quality of the signal being broadcast at the same time as slightly improving coverage. Government has already allocated funds for television coverage to be extended to the Provincial headquarter towns in a phased manner. It is hope that by the end of the first quarter of 2001, Bo and Kenema would have been covered.
-    A few offices have been prepared at the top floor of the TV building to accommodate production and commercial staff.
-    The existing TV studio has been refurbished and a new TV studio set up. New digital production equipment provided by UNDP and the Chinese government have been installed. As a result, the SLBS, for the first time in many years, now has state of the art professional equipment with which to produce programmes.

During the period under review, the GIS continued to be hamstrung by insufficient funds. However, in keeping with the goals and objectives of the Information and Communication Policy, action was instituted to strengthen the GIS as a public arm of government. The practice of producing news for the SLBS has been discontinued and news staff in the ministry reassigned to the SLENA. The focus of the GIS has now shifted to the public enlightenment and sensitization. In this regard, the GIS, in collaboration with UNICEF is working on a Radio Listening Group project in parts of the northern province and the Western Area and has been involved in a number of training workshops for broadcasters in the production of community radio programmes. The GIS has also in collaboration with the British High Commission, established an audio listening group project in the eastern and southern provinces using wind up cassette players. This project involves periodic distribution o f recorded material of mainly development and peace messages to these listening groups. The material is intended to stimulate discussions On the issues dealt with in order to provide clearer insights for the participants.

In the area of sensitization, some additional portable audio equipment has been procured for the PAE unit. This equipment has so far been used for sensitization activities in Freetown, Bo and Kenema on the DDR programme and the peace process. Government has also recently provided funds for the procurement of two mobile audio visual units with video projection capacity. These vehicles will be used to begin the process of taking information and sensitization campaigns to remote parts of the country as used to happen many years ago.

In order to effectively perform the functions of spokesman for government, I have, with technical assistance from the British Defence Forces Information Operation Unit, devised a strategy for effective coordination and dissemination of information on government activities. This strategy involves, among other things, coordination and information sharing meetings with all ministries, including Defence Headquarters and the Police and the hosting a weekly joint press conference with the Presidential Spokesman. In addition my ministry has maintained contact with major international broadcasters and has facilitated access to Sierra Leone by many news crews and programme producers in both print and electronics media.

Due to lack of funds, we have been unable to mount any sort of international media campaign on behalf of the country. We have therefore had to adopt a strategy of providing easy access for the international media in order to ensure that the story of Sierra Leone gets to the international community. This has however meant that the story has been told from the perspective of the western media which has tended to sensationalise the events and largely focus on the negative. There have obviously been positive as well as negative effects of this on the country. Indeed, the attention of world has been focused on Sierra Leone, through the images of amputations, for a sustained period. If funds are available next year, my ministry will begin the process of sanitizing the country's image through a sustained international media campaign.

The major development in the Government Printing Department during the period under review has been the complete rehabilitation and refurbishing of the Government Bookshop at Wallace Johnson Street. The building that used to be a dump is not only now a bookshop but also a reading room where members of the public can spend time reading. Apart from this, the other major achievement of the department is the fact that despite old and almost obsolete equipment, it succeeded in publishing all legislation and statutory instruments submitted for publication. This was achieved through the extra effort and endurance on the part of the staff. In the words of the Government Printer, "The majority of the machines which the department now has are elementary, old, obsolete and defective and as such, over-time working has to compensate for low productivity. As a matter of fact, working throughout the night to produce legislation against tight delivery dates has become the norm rather than the exception."

The Government Printing Department has been incapable of supplying government departments with stationery and office equipment and other supplies. This has been due to the fact that the department has not been receiving sufficient funds from government to enable it to embark on bulk purchasing. As a result, ministries and government departments now buy stationery and office supplies from local business houses. This continues to cause government to purchase these items at relatively high prices. The quality is also highly suspect in many cases. Fortunately, however, action is now being taken by the Ministry o f Finance for funds to be allocated to the Government Printing Department for it to begin bulk purchasing of stationery on behalf of government. This is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2001.

As far as the role of the media in Sierra Leonean conflict proper is concerned it is difficult to say for the simple fact that apart from two papers, "Expotimes," and "The Torch," which consistently sympathized with rebel position, others in the 40 Print Media managed to play a balancing role although some, probably due to misguided enthusiasm, occasionally gave away the position of government troops/ECOMOG forces to the rebels while reporting government advances. On the whole, the media did not do too badly given the constraints they faced having found themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Having said that, I think it must be emphasised that accurate, balanced and accessible media coverage of looming conflicts and humanitarian crises is necessary for any national and international understanding of the situation. However, cursory coverage or blanketed reporting of many frontline issues such as the war in Sierra Leone questions the role of the media in the treatment of humanitarian emergencies.

A combination of international editorial indifference and the physical dangers of visiting Sierra Leone at the height of the war meant there was virtually no in-depth international media coverage of the unending murder and terror producing hundreds of deaths a day. From 1991 through 1999, the prolonged bloodshed in Sierra Leone illustrated the impotence of media in not only reporting conflict but also influencing early intervention.

Media coverage raises public awareness of an issue, at the same time bringing the concern to the attention of policy makers and international governing bodies. Images of dead bodies and deserted streets, the genuine uncertainty over what was happening are bound to coerce a reaction. Linked to this, is the tendency of the national and international media to miss the subtleties of an issue and report superficially such as in the case of Yugoslavia during the Great Lakes crisis. The events in Sierra Leone were reported as the conflagration of age-old ethnic hatreds rather than a current power struggle, unaffectedly urging a different reaction from the international community than it would have, if the real situation were conveyed.

There was also a tendency among some members of the media to portray a bleak image of helplessness and play up the matter. Thus headlines like "Sankoh hires Mercenaries" in Uni-week of 23 April, 1997, "Rebels regroup for Freetown" in Unity Now of 17th June 1996, "Junta Power, RUF strongman to occupy Kabbah's house" in Standard Times of 3rd September 1997, among many others, constituted some aspects of the media landscape of the time. Not surprisingly, Expo-times of October 1, 1997 reported that the Late General Abacha had been paid $20 million by the Iranians to overthrow the AFRC government. That story was deliberately manufactured to annoy Gen. Abacha who was a pillar of support to the government in exile.

As an intermediary, it is crucial for the media to highlight the capacities of people and their ability to cope with crisis, thus acting as a platform for informed international support and not just sympathy. Also, traditionally, there is a causal link between media coverage and the extent of resources allocated. Increased media coverage helps attaining a sustainable momentum and mediation-support mechanism for non-governmental organisations. "Field Presence" for humanitarian crisis legitimises the work of relief agencies world over. In fact increased media coverage increases aid supplies toward a particular conflict zone. That was almost lacking in Sierra Leone.

The Press/Media was misused some say abused more during the nine months of the rebel/soldier coalition of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) rule in 1997. Government owned channels listed earlier, the SLBS radio and television, were used only for propaganda purposes. Panel discussions were reduced to the use of obscene languages on both radio and television against members of the government in exile and their supporters who stayed behind. Deliberate lies were told to boost or solicit support for the junta that was demonstrably not wanted by the people.

As a result of the above, people came to hate these channels as institutions that sought to entrench soldier/rebel coalition rule and most people stopped listening to them. Heinous crimes such as the deliberate launching of mortar bombs at densely populated areas such as Guard Street Market to blame it on ECOMOG, the ECOWAS Monitoring Group and the government in exile were common occurrences.

The independent Press/Media Organisations particularly those in the print media, apart from the three that sympathised with the rebel coalition, (named earlier) provided the only source of information about what was happening in the country. But this was not without a heavy price. Many journalists were killed by the junta including secretaries of press houses. An employee of the Democrat, a pregnant woman for example, was tortured to death by members of the junta because of that paper's opposition to junta rule.  Many journalists including those working for government who refused to toe the rebel line were arrested and incarcerated at the Military Headquarters, Cockerill. Some journalists died as a result of injuries sustained while in detention, others simply disappeared without any trace to date.

In Summary, Mr. Chairman, I wish to state that the approach we have taken to solving the many problems that have plagued the various departments in my ministry has been one of addressing the problems from the roots. We have moved away from the cosmetic/superficial approach of the past. We believe that if the action that has been commenced in the period under review is carried to fruition, we will have a much stronger ministry.


 


INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF SIERRA LEONE (IRCSL)
Presentation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Public Hearings on the theme "Promoting Reconciliation and National Reintegration (including Reparations" - Friday 1st August 2003 By Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph C. Humper - President (IRCSL)

Presiding Chairman, Commissioners, audience and fellow citizens. I am delighted to make this presentation as President of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra (IRCSL). The subject matter or theme is: PROMOTING RECONCILIATION AND NATIONAL REINTEGRATiON (including reparation)". To this subject I will address myself.

The Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) comprises the two major religions in Sierra Leone - Islam and Christianity.

On the 9th of May 2003, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL) and the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) made a joint presentation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). That presentation highlighted the work of the IRCSL and CCSL before, during and after the war, gave an assessment of the situation vis-avis the consolidation of peace in the country. It also made reference to Government's activities - giving credit to government for its programme in rehabilitation and strides towards reforms in governance. It also highlighted shortcomings. The IRCSL calls on all concerned to address these shortcomings. On its part, the IRCSL is ever ready to work with Government and other stakeholders in consolidating the peace.

In the opinion of IRCSL, the bottom line for a mechanism such as the TRC is the creation of a just and fair Sierra Leone where everyone feels a part of, cared for and makes his/her contribution to national development.

Our country emerging out of eleven years of war, with all the hurt and wounds, needs truth for national healing, reintegration and reconciliation. The IRCSL therefore wishes to add its voice in the promotion of the above.

The rebel war is said to be the outcome of bad governance, corruption, marginalisation of certain groups and persons, political manipulations, nepotism and greed among other odds. In the process of reacting to such an ugly and unacceptable situation, by means of a rebel war, there has been pain suffering, hurt of mind and body, further divisions, loss etc. Sierra Leone wishes to come out of both eras to a situation of wholesomeness, patriotism, justice and development. Therefore, to promote reconciliation and national reintegration (including reparations), the IRCSL wishes to make the following observations and recommendations.

a. Acceptance of Guilt and Responsibility
Clearly, there are direct perpetrators as well as victims of the war. There are also direct collaborators. There are others who committed "sins of omission"; (not having done what they should at the time and manner). In all of this, everyone has suffered directly of indirectly. Merely blaming the past or present groups or persons seemingly justifies complacency and inaction and only delays the process of reconciliation and reintegration.  It is time for some or all to accept responsibility, others the blame for our war.  Equally so, we share the loss and now it is time for all to resolve to reconcile and rebuild our country.

b. Settlement and Resettlement
Every Sierra Leonean should be able to choose his/her place of settlement or resettlement without undue hindrance from other members of the community. The cases where certain groups were forced out of towns and villages (for certain reasons) and others refused residence in other parts were very unfortunate. The IRCSL appeals to all Sierra Leoneans to respect this as part of our national constitution and to allow co-existence and living together harmoniously. It is the hope that no Sierra Leonean wishes to see another Sierra Leonean go back to the bush for lack of a community to live in.

c. Political Parties and Governance
Often, the Head of State is blamed for all wrongs of the Government during his/her tenure of office.  Sometimes, the majority party is blamed.  It is however the responsibility of the majority party and opposition to ensure good governance.  It is expected that after free and fair elections, petty politics along party lines ceases and that all those elected into parliament should focus on the nation and its development. Unfortunately, there seems to be an extension of partisan politics in parliament at the detriment of the country and people.    The majority and minority parties should respect each other and work together for the common good. The opposition should not unduly perceive the majority party as a monster trying to do the wrong thing to its advantage and benefit. At the same time, the majority party should not see the opposition as the enemy. The two should be issue oriented in the nations interest and should provide checks and balances in the governance of the state.

The IRCSL notes with gratitude that there is no known inter-political party conflict. It notes however that there have been intra-political party conflicts and these have affected the four major parties in the country in order - UNPP, PDP, SLPP and APC. These political parties too need reconciliation and reintegration.

d. State Security Apparatus
The state has as its security apparatus, the army and police. The Government recognised the civil defence forces. There were times during the war that these were polarised. The IRCSL recommends maintenance of these groups but with clear terms of reference and lines of authority with regards to national security. The new army and the new police force are trying to launder their image. They should keep this up and indeed provide security for the state and people.
The IRCSL recognises the support given by the CDF during the war. A mechanism on how the CDF nationwide fits into the national security apparatus needs to be worked out for effective coordination, clear responsibility and authority.

e. Ex-Heads of State
'The IRCSL, recommends that a mechanism on how to "look after" democratically elected Heads of State or nationally and internationally recognised Heads of State after their term of office be worked out and applied.

f. Traditional Rulers
The choice of the Paramount Chiefs representing their District in parliament is normally through elections. This contest often results in tension, competition and sometimes animosity during and even after the elections. The animosity can continue between the contesting Paramount Chiefs, their supporters etc to the extent that the Paramount Chief elected into parliament may not even be representing the other Paramount chiefs and chiefdom(s), thus defeating the whole essence of his/her representation. There is also no forum for consultation and sharing. Besides, such elections can breed localised conflicts within the Districts. The IRCSL opines that the representation of Paramount Chiefs if) parliament could be done on rotation rather than election. Each District should discuss and agree on its schedule under the guidance and support of the Government.

The authority of Traditional Rulers should be restored and they too should embrace all their subjects regardless of their political affiliations.

g) National Development
The Government is commended for the visible progress in rehabilitation and development. Government stands to score more with an approach that ensures equitable distribution of national resources taking into account areas already with almost a saturation of services as against areas that have been neglected for long and even now. This can win the hearts of the people. It is hoped that the District Councils (to be) will he used as channels for this.

h) Ex-combatants VS Unemployed Youths
Ex-combatants have gone through the DDR programme. Many have learnt skills but have not found jobs. Others chose to remain idle and in the streets. There is also a large group of young people - some highly educated (up to first degree level) without employment. The International Community and Government are called upon to introduce schemes that create employment for such young people. For example, there can be state farms and public works contracts. Certain jobs can also be contracted to firms with the condition that they employ a certain number of youths.

i) Reparations for War Affected
As prefaced earlier in this presentation, every Sierra Leonean has been affected by the war directly or indirectly. However, there are those that have been affected most. These include those who lost dear ones, those whose houses were burnt down, businesses looted etc. There are yet those who were orphaned, seriously wounded or amputated and are still alive.

The IRCSL recommends that reparations be made to some of these groups (as the means allow).

The Inter-Religious Council is aware of the implications of the above recommendations in terms of finances and their implementation. IRCSL however believes that the people and the Government working together with the support of the international community can make it. In this regard the IRCSL calls on:

(i) the International Community to have a long term commitment to Sierra Leone and not to abandon it midstream
(ii) the Government to:

  • provide the necessary leadership in the country's peace consolidation, reconciliation and reintegration drive
  • avoid their past mistakes and those of past regimes
  • adopt an open door policy not inimical or averse to criticism
  • Promote and ensure performance and accountability

(iii) the People of Sierra Leone to:

  • be constructive in their criticism
  • reasonable in their expectations
  • be law abiding
  • make their contribution to make and not to destroy (eg garbage in the city - people virtually deposit garbage in streets instead of dispose it)
  • defend and protect their rights in the proper way
  • be patriotic, forgiving and reconciling
  • resist ALL forms of temptations towards WAR and unrest in Sierra Leone.

As the reconciliation process is on-going, the IRCSL sees the need for the strengthening of existing resources and structures (traditional rulers, Religious leaders etc) and the establishment of coalitions involving for example Traditional rulers, religious leaders, women's groups, Government officials etc) at national, regional and District levels to champion the course of reconciliation. The Inter-Religious Council pledges its fullest commitment towards this.

It will be in the interest of the Government and the people to establish a "Centre for Peace and Reconciliation". This will be a symbolic Institution in relation to our war and the new era of peace and reconciliation.


SUBMISSION ON RECONCILIATION BY CIVILLIAN WAR WOUNDED WELFARE ASSOCIATION GRAFTON - FREETOWN SIERRA LEONE
4th August 2003

Before the war in Sierra Leone, there has never being any group of people stigmatized as amputee or war wounded. Even though there were few people who were amputated due to congenital courses or accidents.

It needs to be explained how the name amputee and war wounded came about since they are all civilian war victims. As a matter of fact there was no name like amputee or war wounded when we were all at hospital but 'War victims".

It is important here to give you a brief background of how the stigmatized of these groups of patients was coined.

When the massacre of the civilian population took place between the 1991 - 2000 period thousands were killed mitigated and abused. The worst atrocities were committed after the 25th May 1997 coup when the juntas and the R.U.F. were removed from the sit of power in 1998. With the successful liberation of Freetown by the ECOM0G forces, the Junta and their R.U.F allies moved into the provincial towns of Makeni, Bo, Kabala and Kono etc. Civilians in these areas were force to flee their homes for their lives. Towns and villages were burnt down while some unfortunate ones killed and wounded badly.

With the restoration of the democratically elected government of president Ahmad Tejan Kabba in Freetown, ECOMOG the regional force, embarked on the liberation of more towns in the provinces. They successfully liberated most of the district headquarter towns like Makeni, Bo, Kabala and Kono. The juntas together with the RUF then regrouped in the bushes killing burning alive of civilian or abducting any abled body civilian they met. As a way of terrorizing their victims, they embarked on mass amputation of limbs and legs.

The first batch of militated civilians arrived at Freetown Connaught Hospital on the 28th April 1998. They were 58 (fifty eight) in number and comprise men, women & children. This number increased and continue to increase as the rebels fought to regain control of "their" lost territories. It is worth pointing out that civilians in all of the provincial towns and villages were victimized by the then angry rebels and Juntas. Their thirst for power was too great.

After treatment at the hospital, the patients/victims were discharged and sent to the Waterloo displaced camp, which was then managed by the Adventist development Relief Agency (ADRA). While we were in hospital, I observed that most of our colleagues patients were amputated because their wounds were infested and also because of lack of immediate medical treatment. Most of them reached Freetown at the time their wounds and sores have already rotted away. Most victims had to travel long distances before reaching ECOMOG positions. Those who reached them earlier were given First Aid Treatment before being sent to Freetown. Those who could not make it died on the way.

Coming back to how the names "amputee" and "war-wounded", the ADRA Social workers who registered us at the camp, did so by categorizing us into two groups, namely "amputees" or "war wounded".

All those who lost parts of their bodies fell in the amputee group even if it was your finger or toe that was removed.

The war wounded group comprise of sexually abuse ones, those with gun-shot wounds and other serious lacerations. So the term "Civilian war victims" faded away amongst us but not to the international community who still refer to us all as war victims. We were all given equal treatment before and at the times Waterloo was attacked on the 23rd December 1998. We were later moved to old wharf at Wellington Freetown two weeks later, Freetown was attacked on the 6th January 1999. More military occurred during this period. All the victims now under the names "amputee" and "war wounded" were relocated at the Aberdeen road camp. A big sign board bearing our name was placed in front of the camp by M.S.F. France.

However this new camp could not accommodate all the patients/victims as the total number was now well over 400 family heads so the government and other agencies working with us avoided congestion and decided to send some victims to Grafton where more land was acquired.

When our transfer to Grafton was made clear to us, some form of segregation started between the amputees and the war wounded. Actually the amputees didn't like us any longer. Most amputees felt that they should not have equal share of donated items with the war wounded. Some amputees went further to say that they suffered more than us and therefore should have more facility than us. Etc. This and other factors made things worst in the camp. Finally it was agreed that the war wounded should be sent to Grafton.

We left the Aberdeen road camp for Grafton on the 17th November 2000. Little did we know that we were going to face the risk of EXCLUSION.

Since we left Aberdeen road camp, no attention has being given to our plights. Visitors from the international community and other agencies hardly go to the Grafton War wounded camp. Donations from groups or individuals were no longer sent to us. All their attentions are focused on the amputees only. Our only source of feeding was coming from the World Food Programme W.F.P. which is hardly sufficient. We were hardly invited on issues concerning amputees and war wounded even though they are meant for us all.

The fear of exclusion has raised a lot of question among us. The first was about the sign board which still carry the title (Amputee and war-wounded). Another was based on the scars. There are some women among us that were badly mishandled by the rebels that they inserted sticks into their virgina and consequently made them sexually unfit.

There are also some men among us whose penis were tied with ropes in a way that they too are sexually unfit. Added to this there are people with hands but cannot lift up a glass cup of water. With all these people, you can clearly know that the scars are not visible. For short I can say that to lose parts of your body is equally painful as having parts of your body that is no longer functionable.

This is what exist between amputees and war-wounded, However we tried in every possible way to bring this issue/problem to the knowledge of the authorities of GOSL through NaCSA but we still continue to suffer from the same effect. For the past three years we have been suffering. In fact this is explained by the psychological suffering endured on us as well as the social consequences on us. It is practically impossible for most war-wounded victims or persons to revert to their places and take up the roles they once occupied in the family as well as in the community before our disabilities. This is especially true in Sierra Leone where a good number of us were doing physical work to earn our living. Our present condition has made all of these impossible.

However these phenomenon of exclusion did not happen by chance but could be considered as a misfortune, which can be avoided by some means.

Based on all these and in an attempt to free us from these bondages, we sat together and thought of forming an association, since it was now clear in our minds that even though we were also vulnerable, yet we were victims of EXCLUSION. Therefore we formed our association - war wounded welfare association. WAWELA was formed three years ago. It has a membership of two hundred and seventy (270).

Opening of an account
However, certain conditions were fulfilled before we were allowed to open an account for the Association.

The first one was to present two minutes in which we discussed both general and Executive meetings about the opening of Bank account for the Association.

The Second condition was a formal registration document from G.O.S. through the Ministry of social Welfare gender and Children's affairs.

The last process was the appointment of the National executive - in this light. We had no option but try hard and go through all these process above.

The saving account Number is 2034884 at the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Siaka Steven Street Freetown Sierra Leone.

Our aim is to wipe out the risk of exclusion and fight for the welfare of its members and their families. Membership opens to all civilian war wounded in Sierra Leone. Our activities presently are backyard gardening skills training and small-scale business/trading.

Today, even though we are in constant fear of exclusion, we must say we are thankful to the Norwegian refugee council N.R.C. CAUSE CANADA and other humanitarian organizations who have helped us in different ways like Handicap International and Mercy Ships. The N.R.C. has provided shelter for about ......... warwounded persons while CAUSE CANADA has helped in the skills training areas.

We also thank HANDICAP INTRNATIONAL, MSF (France) and Mercy Ship5Newstep for their own efforts towards us.
What we need presently are as follows:

  1. Free medical facility for all civilian war wounded victims in Sierra Leone.
  2. Educational assistance for our children.
  3. Feeding support for all victims.
  4. To be involved in decision-making process including job facilities for both educated and non-educated victims.
  5. Shelter assistance for the remaining victims in the camp.
  6. Transport assistance or facility for all victims since some are permanently in wheel chairs or using clutches.
  7. Agricultural Assistance since this is our only hope of survival.
  8. Benefit from the provision made at the Abuja - Peace Accord.
  9. Pension benefits.
  10. Provision of land for the association's office at the war wounded camp - Grafton.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Generally speaking, we believe that all our suffering today emanated as a result of bad governance, corruption and mismanagement. Added to this is greed and tribal sentiments.

In this regards we would like to recommend that the country up hold good democratic principles, eradicate corruption and mismanagement in all public and private sectors. We should have an efficient rule of Law.

We as victims of the war are also worried about retired politicians, especially heads of state. They should be allowed to retire in peace which is not the case in Sierra Leone. Instead they are force to flee to neighbouring countries for their lives. A retired leader or minister should sit in his own country and should be seen as a respected retired statesman e.g. Nigeria's Yakubu Gowan, Shagari etc.

We know that the country is endowed with numerous mineral resources, our suggestion will be that the government organize and harness these resources for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans than a handful of Sierra Leoneans enjoying the country's wealth as it is to be in the previous governments.

All so-called crook politicians and businessmen should be carefully watched so that their actions would not drive away potential investors from the country as it use to be in the past.

Lastly, they should be repatriation for all civilian war wounded victims (Amputee and war wounded) together with their shelter benefits.

In conclusion it was diamonds that were use to fuel the war, which has brought this carnage on us that subsequently left us homeless and reduce us to a state of nothingness.

Therefore we are recommending that the country's mining policies should be clearly defined, transparent and accountable. I thank the government of Sierra Leone and you all for your time and patience in transforming this country to a peaceful and stable one.

Written and submitted by the
National Chairman Victor Gbegbah
With the help of the National Executive
Secretary Brima Kamara
Grafton War Wounded - Freetown



NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL
FLYKTNINGERADET

31ST July 2003

The Head of Prosecution
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jomo Kenyatta Road
Freetown

RE:    STATUS REPORT ON THE NRC AMPUTEE / WAR-WOUNDED HOUSING PROJECT

Please find enclosed a status report as per end of July 2003 containing detailed information of the NRC's Amputee and War-wounded Housing Project as per your request.

We regret to inform you this office did not receive any earlier correspondence from you with regards to the meeting on Monday 4th August 2004.

We want to thank the commission for the tremendous job it is doing and do hope you will find our information useful.
Yours faithfully


Mette Nordstrand
COUNTRY DIRECTOR

GENERAL RECOMMENDATION AS TO HOW TO ADDRESS THE PLIGHT OF AMPUTEES/WAR-VICTIMS

1. According to article 29 of the Lome Peace Accord, with heading:
SPECIAL FUND FOR WAR VICTIMS - The government with the support of the international community should design and implement a programme for the rehabilitation of the war- wounded. For this purpose, a fund should be set up.

2. The children of amputees must be guaranteed free education up to tertiary level. The idea being that with sound education, the children will be able to take care of their parents in the future.

3. Victims should be guaranteed free health services for life and free primary health care for their children.

4. The Government should find a way of reducing the dependency of amputees on handouts to meet their basic needs and gain economic opportunities.

5. As the country is moving into a transition period, the name "AMPUTEE" should be removed to avoid stigmatization and the generic word "War-wounded should be used instead.

6. A census survey should be conducted to get a clear picture of number of victims affected.

THE NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL'S AMPUTEE/WAR WOUNDED PROJECT

Amputee housing in Koinadugu (NRC)

Background
A decade of civil strife in Sierra Leone (1991-2001), dubbed one of the most brutal in modern times, has left in its trail continued suffering as a result of wide-scale atrocities committed against the civilian population during the conflict. It is estimated that there are around 1,000 amputees and a further 2,500 internally displaced people (1DPs) with severe lacerations or gunshot wounds in the country. The nature of their injuries are such that they have become permanently disabled and in need of assistance both in terms of housing and gaining a measure of self-reliance. There were at the start of the project around 400 amputees/war wounded living in the amputee camp at Murray Town.

Up to the end of 2002, 239 amputees or war wounded and their families have benefited from the on-going NRC Housing and Resettlement Project for Amputees and War Wounded. The project provides houses near or around their home communities, or preferred place of resettlement. The majority of the beneficiaries of the project are amputees, currently making up 156 of the beneficiaries, with a further 83 war wounded having been housed and resettled. There is still an additional 161 amputees/war wounded living in camps with their families. Out of this group, 60 to 80 families are in dire need of permanent shelter and assistance to reintegrate back into their communities.

A survey was conducted among the camp population at the Murray Town Camp - at this time the camp housed both amputees and war wounded - in the summer of 2000 to assess the needs of the amputees and war-wounded. All respondents - 346 out of 400 took part in the survey - indicated that their homes had been destroyed and that they for this reason had to seek shelter in the camps. 95 per cent recorded housing as one of their most pressing needs. Furthermore, nearly all the respondents, 99 per cent, expressed a need for access to medical facilities as one of their priority requirements.

The survey also recorded the preferred area of resettlement of the respondents. Nearly 43 per cent of the population wanted to return to the Northern Province, a further 31 per cent wanted to resettle in the Eastern Province, 43 per cent wanted to remain in the Western Area and 20 per cent expressed a desire to return to the Southern Province.


Amputee at preferred area of resettlement (UN ocHA)

Project Description
As no other organization was handling the housing need of the amputees/war wounded, NRC decided to respond to the challenge. The resulting project was designed to assist the Government of Sierra Leone to build houses and to resettle amputees and war-wounded with severe lacerations living in the Amputee camp at Murray Town and War-wounded camp at Grafton.

Funds were made available, totalling US$1,000,000, by the Norwegian Government in year 2000 as part of an agreement between the Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik and the then President Bill Clinton towards assisting amputees and war wounded in Sierra Leone. The Norwegian Government has continued to support the project since. The Catholic Mission, represented by Father Maurizio has also provided funds for the project, raising US$80,000 in 2002 towards the construction of 20 additional houses for amputees and has also continued to support the project. Cause Canada has since 2001 provided assistance for the resettled beneficiaries in terms of skills training, micro credit schemes, physiotherapy and other services. The World Food Programme (WFP) is also providing a 6 months ration aid package to beneficiaries on resettlement.


Facing a better future? (UN OCHA)
A committee was established in order to assist NRC in the selection of candidates for houses - as funds adequate did not, and still do not exist to provide for the entire camp population - as well as house design and to prepare the beneficiaries and their families for a life outside the camps. The committee, which is chaired and hosted by NRC, meets bi-weekly and is comprised of the following: members of the Executive Committees in the Murray Town and Grafton Camps, MSF France, Handicap International (HI), World Hope International, Cause Canada, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society (SLRCS), World Relief, Orient, Father Maurizio of the Catholic Mission, the National Commission for Social Action (formerly NCRRR), UN OCHA and the NRC.

NaCSA and OCHA are closely involved with the reintegration part of the project. NRC is assisting NaCSA with the distribution of non-food item reintegration packages, through CARE, and food rations through the World Food Programme. The International Organisation on Migration (IOM) is the agency assigned the responsibility for resettlement and NRC is collaborating closely with them. Since the autumn of 2002 NRC has been funding the resettlement of the beneficiaries and their families by buying the services of IOM.

The collaboration between NRC and the amputees/war wounded has always been close, and the project itself is based on a participatory approach. Beneficiaries have been, and continue to be, involved at all stages of the project. Executive Committees of war wounded and amputees have been established to ensure their participation. Close collaboration is also sought with the host communities in which the amputees/war wounded are resettled.

 

 

Mr. Lamin Jusu Jaka, Chairman of the Camp Executive Committee Murray Town Camp (UN oCHA)

Summary of project design and main components
Land, on which the houses were been built, is obtained from the District/Community of origin or through the Government of Sierra Leone as "gratis" to the amputees and war-wounded beneficiaries. A legal document is developed, so as to prevent the beneficiaries from selling the houses before a period of five years after resettlement.
The houses have been constructed in towns of the various chiefdoms/districts of origin in Sierra Leone of the 239 selected amputees and war-wounded from the two camps. Besides Greater Freetown, were NRC has built houses in six different areas, NRC is operating in 16 chiefdoms countrywide, mostly in eastern and northern provinces.

The houses for the amputees/war wounded have been designed as a two-bedroom structure, with a big living room and veranda, outside toilet, bathroom and kitchen. Local materials are being used. The houses and their units are planned so as to occupy one town plot, and 5-10 houses grouped per area, though this depends on where and how the land allocations are provided. The houses are furnished with two beds and mattresses, one table and four chairs.

 

 

An amputee mother in front of her house at Lumpa (UN oCHA)
The project includes community sensitisation seminars held in the communities in which the amputee/war-wounded houses are to be built and the beneficiaries resettled. The sensitisation exercise is aimed at informing the community of the amputees/war wounded and their needs, and also to prevent stigmatisation. The target groups for this sensitisation are District/chiefdoms and community leaders, including social and health workers, teachers, neighbours, etc. The seminars are aimed at facilitating the reintegration process for the beneficiaries and their families, and the Amputee/War Wounded Drama Group plays a prominent role in the one-day long seminar: a sketch is set up in order to demonstrate that the amputees and war wounded are resource persons in spite of their handicap, and that they have learnt to work and that the community will not receive beggars, but tailors, soap makers etc.. The seminars are chaired by the Paramount Chief/other important leader, and are usually attended by up to 500 people.

 

Skills training for self-sufficiency (UN oCH,4)
In order to facilitate the education of girls the project includes a component ensuring that one girl child-dependant of the beneficiary is given a one year scholarship after the beneficiary has been reintegrated and resettled.

An HIV/AIDS awareness campaign component is also included in the project. It focuses on sensitising the amputee and war-wounded camp communities to HIV prevention strategies and control methods before their resettlement. NRC has collaborated closely with the Amputee/War Wounded Drama Group (which was sponsored by HI/Cause Canada). A play with an anti-HIV/AIDS message was written, rehearsed and later performed in both camps. Two performances were held and Tshirts, banners, posters and condoms were distributed.

In addition to the normal IDP reintegration package, each family receives another package from Cause Canada, based on individual assessments. Cause Canada also has posted social workers in the different areas of return, to assist the beneficiaries and their families to be self-dependent. A welcoming ceremony is prepared in the village, and "adopting neighbours" have cooked dinner for each family and is expected to introduce the family members into the community (markets, schools etc)

Up until the end of 2002 there were 239 primary beneficiaries, with an additional 1800 people, including families and dependents, benefited from the project. Out of the 239 beneficiaries, 82 were war wounded and 157 amputees. 14 of the beneficiaries were under the age of 17 and 55 were women.

Housing completed by the end of 2002

The table below gives detailed information of the location and number of houses constructed in each town/district country-wide.

DISTRICT

CHIEFDOM

LOCATION

NO. OF HOUSES

STATUS

Port Loko

Koya

Masiaka (5 sites)

27

Completed

Port Loko

Kaffu Bullom

Tulomasaw

5

Completed

Port Loko

Maforki

Port Loko

9

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Jui

10

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Grafton

10

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Rokel

10

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Hastings

10

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Ben uma

10

Completed

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Lumpa

10

Completed

Western Area

Freetown

Kiss

1

Completed

Tonkolili

Yoni

Mile 91

6

Completed

Tonkolili

Kamanka

Bumbuna

__

__8___ _

_ C_o_m_vle_ted

Bo

Kakua

Bo town

5

Completed

Kenema

on owa

andayama

2

Completed

Kenema

Non owa

Bo/Kenema Highway

2

Completed

Bombali

Bombali Shebra

Makeni/Makama

14

Completed

Bombali

Makari Gbanti

Panlap

14

Completed

Bombali

Makari Gbanti

Bombalibana Road

12

Completed

Bombali __

B_om_b_ali S_he_br_a __

M_aken_i-_Mo_ya_m_ba_R_d_

10

Completed

Kambia

Ma bema

Thaira Town

6

Completed

Mo amba

Kaiyamba

Mo amba

3

Completed

Koinadu u

Dian

Kabala

15

Completed

Koinadu u

Kassunko

Fadugu

4

Completed

Kono

imikoro

Bum eh - Kono

7

Completed

Kono

Tankoro

Yormadu 1 - Kono

6

Completed

Kono

imikoro

Motema - Kono

17

Completed

Kono

Gbense

Koeyor - jKono

(

Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

---_ __

Total

__~-- 239 --T

 


Constraints
The major constraint of the project has been related to land acquisition in some areas in the Western Area and Eastern Province (Greater Freetown, Bo and Kenema) and to hire local labour (Kono) and moreover, securing funds for the housing and resettlement for the most vulnerable war-wounded and amputees remaining in the Grafton and Murray Town camps. The initial US$ 1,000,000 allocated by the end of 2002 exhausted the Norwegian Government in year 2000. NRC is, however, optimistic about attracting further funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to house and resettle the 70 most vulnerable war-wounded and refugees still remaining in the camps.

Just before departure back to Kono (NRC)

The Project in 2003
After the resettlement of 239 beneficiaries, there are still 70 amputees/war-wounded living in the Murray Town and Grafton Camps with their families (totalling 560 people), waiting for assistance to be resettled back into their communities. NRC is expecting to secure funds to build 70 houses, and has started the construction of 35 houses for these beneficiaries. Ten of these houses have been completed and handed over to NRC. Beneficiaries to theses houses would be resettled during the 2nd week of June 2003.

In April 2003 The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided funds for the construction of 3 water wells in Kono, where 36 beneficiaries and their families were faced with lack of access to safe drinking water. The project is implemented by World Vision with Peace Winds Japan providing the necessary equipment. Fr. Maurizio of the Catholic Mission had also secured some funds for the construction of water wells in all the resettlement areas completed in 2002. So far, 80% of theses wells have been constructed and the remaining 20 % is ongoing.

HOUSES UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS 2003

 

DISTRICT

CHIEFDOM

LOCATION

NO. OF HOUSES

DATE OF

 

 

 

 

RESETTLEMENT

Bombali

Bombali Shebra

Makeni/Mason bo Town

8

Completed & resettled

Kono

imikoro

Bum eh

5

August 2003

Kono

imikoro

Motema

6

August 2003

Kono

Gbense

Koe or

6

August 2003

Koinadu u

Kassunko

Fadu u

3

Completed & resettled

Koinadu u

Wara-Wara Ya ala

Kabala

7

Completed & resettled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

35

 

 

AN OVER VIEW OF SELECTED AREAS OF HOUSING CONSTRUCTION FOR THE REMAINING 35 AMPUTEES/WAR-WOUNDED AT GRAFTON/MURRAY TOWN CAMPS

DISTRICT

CHIEFDOM

LOCATION

NO. OF HOUSES

 

 

 

 

Tonkolili

Yoni

Mile 91

3

Tonkolili

Kamankay

Bumbuna

3

Port Loko

Maforki

Port Loko

3

Moyamba

Kai amba

Mo amba

1

Port Loko

Ko a

Masiaka

2

Kambia

Magbema

Thairay

2

Western Area

Greater Freetown

Newton

15

Western Area

Greater Freetown_

River No. _2

6

 

 

Total

35

 



NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILISATION AND REINTEGRATION (NCDDR)
(EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT)
    
4 August 2003
PRESENTATION
"PROMOTING RECONCILIATION AND NATIONAL REINTEGRATION"
(ROLE OF NCDDR)
AT THE
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

On behalf of H.E. The president and staff members of the NCDDR Executive Secretariat, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman, Commissioners, the Executive Secretary and Staff members of the TRC for your monumental contribution to the consolidation of the hard won peace in our beloved country, Sierra Leone. We have already made two written submissions to you earlier, one on the DDR Programme in general and the other, more specific, on the theme: "Militias and Armed Groups" in our conflict. We have also provided information to the Commission's staff on an ad hoc basis on various issues pertaining to the crisis.

In our submission today, we have been invited to talk on the theme "Reconciliation and National Reintegration". We are very pleased to be here to do just that and contribute to our collective search for a way forward after 10 years of carnage in our country.

INTRODUCTION
Following the restoration of the democratically elected Government in 1998, the Government conceived of a plan to end the war and the cycle of violence accompanying it and promote peace and reconciliation through a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, Government decided to address the problems posed by multi-faction fighters/combatants through a special programme to be implemented by the NCDDR. On the other, the problems of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and other war-affected populations were to be handled by a special Commission - i.e. the National Commission for Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (NCRRR) - now National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA). This was perhaps one of the most significant post-conflict strategies pursued to build and sustain peace after a decade of conflict.

Sierra Leone's conflict became more complex in 1998 with the proliferation of arms and armed groups or factions. Even before the establishment of the NCDDR, it was clear to all stakeholders that without a comprehensive DDR, peace will continue to be elusive in Sierra Leone and the country will not come out of its complex dilemma over a very long period.

Establishment of NCDDR - Executive Secretariat
In July 1998, the NCDDR was established under the Chairmanship of H.E. the President, with membership comprising the Vice President, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and The Force Commander of UNOMSIL and later UNAMSIL, Force Commander of ECOMOG, Heads of the armed factions - Revolutionary United Front, Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, Deputy Defence Minister, Force Commander of Sierra Leone Army, Ministers of Finance, Internal Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, Commissioner of NCRRR (now NaCSA) and Donors (represented by the British High Commissioner and the American Ambassador).

An Executive Secretariat, with an Executive Secretary as Head, was established to handle the affairs of the NCDDR, including the formulation and articulation of policy, design and execution of a programme for disarmament demobilisation and reintegration of the armed factions. The National Committee met frequently during the early critical phases of the peace process and became the key decision making body on all sensitive matters pertaining to the DDR programme.

The DDR Programme
A DDR programme was put together in 1998 with a very defined overall objective: to disarm and demobilise 45,000 combatants from the RUF, AFRC, CDF and SLA factions and support their reintegration into society. This was a major challenge for the peace process and the prelude to any meaningful promotion of peace and reconciliation in Sierra Leone. The question we had to answer was how best to translate such a programme on the ground.

To operationalise the DDR Programme, we had to bring together a broad coalition of stakeholders to put together an implementation strategy that fulfilled multiple objectives. Firstly, we had to promote disarmament and demobilisation of the fighters from the different factions - Rebels. Civil Defence Forces, and Government Soldiers that had teamed up with the rebels. This required confidence-building among them to ensure that they committed themselves to the spirit of the peace process. A second objective was to promote reconciliation and acceptance of the rebels among a terrified, brutalised and dispossessed population. Without this assurance, it was believed that the rebels, especially, would not be willing to give up the weapons.

Thirdly, we had to design a reinsertion and reintegration programme that provided an immediate alternative to "life with the Gun in the bush" for the armed factions after 10 years of carnage. Some of these disaffected rebels had lost all contacts with their own communities and families. This was compounded by pervasive poverty and hardly any economy in which to reintegrate ex-combatants. Finally, we had to convince donors that the peace process would work and to provide the funds to commence implementation of the programme, (i.e. "cash for peace").

DDR and the Peace Process
From 1998 to 2001, the peace process went through a very difficult path and this adversely affected the outcomes of both the NCDDR meetings and the DDR Programme. The programme faced two major periods of set back from December 1998 to October 1999, May 2000 to May 2001. Each period was characterised by tragic events that made it difficult for us to achieve our multiple objectives. The events culminating in 6 January 1999 hostilities halted the first phase of disarmament until the Lome Peace Agreement was signed in July 1999. The second phase was halted by events culminating in the 8 May 2000 disruption of the peace process. These events threatened our survival as an institution, lowered the morale of some staff, and led to loss of investment in property.

In spite of the setbacks, we continued to be resilient and focused on the main operational objective - namely, DDR of the fighters as the only means tomove the country forward. As long as we had these gunmen running amuck in the country, our misery in Sierra Leone would continue and will not be in any position to rebuild our society.
Following the break through in the peace process in mid May 2001 and the recommencement of disarmament of the armed factions, NCDDR has been engaged in fulfilling the same multiple objectives with armed combatants, the civil populace and the donors. Significant progress has already been recorded. Disarmament and demobilisation of ex-combatants was successfully completed last year and H.E the President declared the war over on 18 January 2002. This paved the way for resettlement of IDPs and refugees, national elections, and a host of other developments (including the establishment of the TRC and the Special Court).

Support to Ex-combatants as Promotion of Reconciliation and National Re-integration
The 10 year old war ended through negotiations between Government and rebels in Lome in 1999. Commitments were made to the rebels and the DDR Programme was offered to the combatants on all sides. The programme was meant to provide a genuine transition of fighters to civilian life and therefore lay the basis for reconciliation and reintegration at community level. This has provided the basis for the work of NCDDR.

Let me address some misconception that has been giving us some problems in our bid to promote the peace process i.e. that NCDDR is targeting support to ex-combatants at the expense of the victims of their activities. This question came to the fore the first time NCDDR decided to provide some transport allowances to ex-combatants in demobilisation centres in 1999. It became more of an issue when we started to pay out a transitional safety-net allowance or reinsertion package in cash to ex-combatants.

These cash payments or support packages had been designed on purpose. They were meant to firstly, meet immediate humanitarian needs of these ex-fighters and was equivalent to the humanitarian support given to the displaced people. Secondly, the payments provide respite to civilian populations in areas occupied by rebels. These people were harassed and enslaved by rebels over a long period. The basic support we gave relaxed the grip on these people. Thirdly, we used the payments to promote confidence in the peace process among the ex-combatants. Our experience was that peace could be fragile in the period just following disarmament. Fourthly, these payments somehow induced disarmament, especially among the rank and file of the armed groups. Fifthly, the payment of cash promoted demobilisation - breaking of the command and control over the rank and file. It made each ex-combatant less dependent on the Senior Commanders.

The short-term reintegration opportunities we are currently providing the ex-combatants have also been misunderstood by some people. However, the programme has been a key contribution to peace making, peace building and peace consolidation in the country. The rationale for this support to ex-combatants has been carefully conceived. We had the following in mind for the economic reintegration aspect:

i) promotion of security in the short-term while Government re-organised security sector. A small percentage of ex-combatants that preferred military reintegration were given the opportunity to do so. They have been trained alongside other recruits, thereby promoting a seamless transition for them;
i) to keep ex-combatants busy for 6 -12 months to allow for resettlement of the displaced population, comprising IDPs, Refugees and restart of community life; Indeed, this had been achieved since last year, following the completion of disarmament and demobilisation in the country: and
iii) provide basic vocational skills and formal education to ex-combatants who need it to make up for time lost in the bush and provide alternative to life in the bush. They are already using these skills to help rebuild their own communities, thus promoting reconciliation.

In the last two years, we have supported over 20,000 Sierra Leonean ex-combatants to learn various trades, including Agriculture, Vocational skills (carpentry, Masonry, auto-mechanics, plumbing, etc), Formal Education, Public Works, among others. Over 25,000 are undergoing training in similar trades in on-going projects in all Districts of Sierra Leone. We are confident that by the time the NCDDR phases out at the end of the year, every major settlement in the country will have trained artisans in these various fields, a very significant contribution to community reintegration and reconciliation. Already ex-combatants have provided the labour force to rebuild community infrastructure such as roads, health posts, schools, police stations and barracks, etc.
Over 7,000 ex-combatants have been supported already in the formal educational system at the secondary, tertiary and technical-vocational levels.

Social Reintegration
National reconciliation has been a cornerstone in NCDDR policy and a key strategy in trying to promote disarmament and demobilisation of the erstwhile fighters. For us, building confidence in the peace process and allaying fears of retribution by the civil populace among the ex-combatants has been at the heart of our reconciliation efforts. H.E. the President has been in the driver's seat in the last three years in his capacity as both Chairman of the NCDDR and Head of State. We recognised that the people of Sierra Leone had to reconcile with their own kith and kin to promote the peace.

In the last 12 months, we have been pursuing intensive social reintegration measures in order to facilitate the peaceful return of ex-combatants to their original homes or localities of choice, and participate fully in all traditional and social events in the communities without inhibitions. This has been quite sensitive and challenging, considering the level of atrocities committed during the war years. The NCDDR had to contend with latent animosity against ex-combatants from the larger society.

The challenges have been manifested in various forms. For example, ex-combatants used to be constantly reminded about the belligerent days and associated atrocities. This led to occasional outbursts in the communities. This was compounded by the refusal of some ex-combatants to hand over premises to their rightful owners in some major settlements around the country.

There are still a few areas of concentration of ex-combatants in the country, which are receiving the attention of the authorities. These ex-combatants have refused to return to their homes for various reasons, ranging from fear to shame. Some have actually lost all family and community ties that will support their resettlement into normal society.

NCDDR has employed various strategies alongside the opportunities generated for economic reintegration to provide pertinent information and raise awareness in the larger society about the need for peaceful co-existence with ex-combatants. Radio-discussion programmes, soap operas, live drama performances, TV documentaries, community sensitisation sessions by community-based organisations, press conferences and technical co-ordination committees involving other stakeholders in information and sensitisation have all been utilised for that purpose.

With the re-establishment of central and local authority and control in every District and Chiefdom, some of the problems associated with ex-combatant excesses are being addressed. In the remaining period for the NCDDR, we will work with these structures increasingly to ensure that longer-term solutions are applied to some of their social problems.

As an institution, NCDDR's information and sensitisation activities have also focused on some clearly defined reconciliation and social reintegration issues in the last one year. For example:

a) we have been working closely with implementing partners to curb undercurrent animosity against ex-combatants. Over 100 of the 149 Chiefdoms in Sierra Leone have already been covered by over 44 Community-based organisations and local NGOs in the implementation of various reconciliation projects. Consequently, open animosity towards ex-combatants has been minimised considerably, thereby increasing the possibilities for their social acceptance by community members.

b) NCDDR has also focused on providing support for psycho-social counselling to selected vulnerable groups, schools and communities.

c) We have also promoted and participated in peace and reconciliation activities in all regions of the country in support of peace consolidation. For example, we have provided small grants for Agricultural Shows and Peace Carnivals.

As mentioned earlier, we will continue to address the issues until the end of this transition period. We hope that the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will create an even greater impact by the end of their mandate. Many other organisations and agencies are already engaged in this field, thereby strengthening the peace network.

Conclusion and Recommendations
I would like to conclude this session by reiterating that as a transitional institution mandated to plan, direct and manage the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of all armed factions in Sierra Leone's ten year old conflict, we have largely fulfilled the objectives of Government and the international community. We have done so conscious of the need to sustain the achievement through the promotion of reconciliation and national cohesion and reintegration. Our activities in the remaining months we have will focus on further promotion of this key national desire. We are very hopeful that the work of the TRC will broaden the scope of reconciliation activities and consolidate this national achievement.

In this post-conflict phase, Sierra Leoneans need to do so much to advance national reconciliation, reintegration and cohesion. We would use this opportunity to proffer a few recommendations for consideration by the Commission.

  1. Unemployment is growing and many trained ex-combatants are joining the ranks of the jobless, especially in our major towns. Job creation should dominate Government's economic and social policy and action in the next 5 - 10 years. This will demonstrate to the affected population that society cares.
  2. The youth factor should now be prominent on the social development agenda. Government has taken one major positive step by establishing a Youth Ministry which has formulated a National Youth Policy. The next step to consider is the creation of some kind of National Youth Scheme that focuses on training and employment of the growing number of disaffected young men and women dropping out of the formal (educational) system.
  3. We will repeat this recommendation here: political parties that base their membership on erstwhile armed factions should be encouraged to phase out.
  4. Reconciliation work should continue for another year or two. Since May 2001, our peace process has moved relatively fast - perhaps too fast. The following events have occurred during the last one and half years: completion of disarmament and demobilisation and declaration of end of the war, resettlement of displaced populations, national elections (Presidential and Parliamentary). Chieftaincy elections, restructuring and retraining of the National Army and the Police Force, etc. The role of the international community (especially UNAMSIL with a large military force, and the UK) has been very prominent. The international good will may not last forever. We therefore need a longer period for reconciliation among ourselves, on our own. The TRC will be needed well beyond the current lifespan we know, with a focus on Reconciliation.

I will rest my case here. Thank you all!



Government of Sierra Leone National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA)
Formerly the National Commission for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (NCRRR)
39 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown - Tel. 226032 / 227692

Website: www.nacsa-sl.org, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

25th July, 2003

The Executive Secretary TRC
Block A, Brookfields Hotel Jomo Kenyatta Road Freetown.

Dear Sir,

SUBMISSION ON: PROMOTING RECONCILIATION AND NATIONAL REINTEGRATION (INCLUDING REPATRIATIONS)

I wish to refer to the above subject matter and hereby submit fifteen copies of the testimony to be presented to the Commission, on behalf of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA).

The Commissioner will personally deliver the testimony at the Commission on Monday 4t" August, 2003.
Best Regards.
                                    Unisa Sesay
                                    Programme Manager,
                                    Information, Education
                                    and Communication

NnCSA is supported by the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) via the Emergency Recovery Support Fund; UNDP (Support for Resettlement and Rehabilitation Project); Islamic Development Bank (Integrated Rural Development Project); AfDB (SAPA Project) and the government of Sierra Leone.

THEMATIC HEARINGS
"Promoting Reconciliation and National integration (including Reparations)"

Submitted to
THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
The Commissioner of NaCSA
July 2003

Mr. Chairman, Members of the TRC

I wish to express my personal appreciation and that of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) for being invited to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to participate in this phase of the process of national reconciliation which will afford me the opportunity to address certain issues which are not only very pertinent to the TRC's mandate, but also have wider implications for Government. The theme itself,. "Promoting Reconciliation and Reintegration (including Reparations)" is very challenging and I am certain that by the time I finish my testimony I would have been able to unveil the complexities, issues and challenges involved in the process of promoting reconciliation and reintegration. I dare say that these cannot be addressed by any one institution or organization - be it the Government, the United Nations, Multilateral and Bilateral Organizations or NGOs. Rather, it calls for the active participation of all these groups in strong partnerships with communities through-out the country.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to present my testimony within the framework of the mandate of NaCSA, formally NCRRR, which defines the parameters for its activities. Notwithstanding this, I will endeavour, to respond to any other related issues that the Commission would want to raise.

Let me begin with a brief history of NaCSA as background information which I hope will be useful in guiding the discussions that may follow from this presentation. The Commission was established first as a Ministry by His Excellency the President, Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabba upon his election as President of Sierra Leone in 1996. It was then the Ministry of Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (MNRRR), specifically established to lead the new Government's programme in tackling the devastation caused by the war. Unfortunately, just about a year later, its activities were disrupted by the overthrow of the elected Government. After the return of the democratically elected Government from exile in 1998, the MNRRR was transformed into the National Commission for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (NCRRR) to enable it make quick decisions and reduce bureaucracy, with the following mandate:

  • To be responsible, on behalf of government, for the overall planning, programming, coordination, supervision and monitoring of all humanitarian, resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in consequence of the rebel war;
  • To coordinate the activities of all non-governmental organizations engaged in relief, rehabilitation, resettlement and reconstruction work in consequence of the rebel war
  • To ensure that the activities of implementing partners, including international agencies and non-governmental organizations, are in conformity with the National Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Programme (NRRRP) of the Government;
  • To design an operational and procedural framework that will be credible and flexible enough to facilitate effective collaboration and coordination among Government departments and other partners;
  • To establish a separate Financial Management and Procurement Unit (FMPU) to ensure appropriate use of donor resources in a transparent manner for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation;
  • To ensure that all implementing partners submit periodic reports of their activities to the Commission.

Following the successful implementation of multi-sectoral sub-projects throughout the country, the NCRRR was transformed into NaCSA in the year 2000, with an expanded mandate to promote community-based and sustainable development activities, leading to the alleviation of poverty and improvement in the speed, quality and impact of development activities, in cooperation with its strategic partners. In practical terms, NaCSA has moved from a largely humanitarian Agency to a Social Fund and is now acting as a bridge between Relief and Development.

The Commission's role in promoting Reconciliation and Reintegration has therefore been pursued essentially through the resettlement of internally Displaced Persons and Refugees, as well as the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of services, infrastructure and livelihoods in war-affected communities, covering Agriculture, Education, Community infrastructure, Health, Information and Sensitization, Micro-enterprise promotion, and Resettlement and Rehabilitation.

Clearly, the achievement of national reconciliation between victims and perpetrators of the war requires far more than these interventions and it is therefore important to realize that NaCSA is merely laying the foundations to what should be a sustained and comprehensive process. Indeed, in the area of reconciliation and reintegration, one must look at the combined mandates and activities of both NaCSA and NCDDR in order to fully appreciate Government's overall strategy and commitment. Essentially, NCDDR is providing targeted assistance to ex-combatants in order to fulfill Government's obligation under the Lome Peace Agreement and to facilitate their peaceful reintegration into civil society, thereby stabilizing the peace process. In contrast, NaCSA is providing recovery and reintegration support to the civilian element of societies the displaced, returnees, host communities, youths, women and the disabled. Naturally the needs and demands of post-war Sierra Leone are far greater than what NaCSA and NCDDR can provide, and hence Government has sought assistance from our international development partners at every opportunity to contribute to the challenge. NaCSA's role in this awareness and fund raising drive will be highlighted later.

Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance.
An important component of NaCSA's contribution to the reconciliation and reintegration process has been to facilitate the building of partnerships and networks to provide leadership in the coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, resettlement of Displaced Persons (IDPs and Returnees) and the reconciliation and reintegration process. In this, NaCSA has been guided by the basic rights approach enshrined in the constitution and various international instruments - treaties, conventions, laws etc. which the Government has ratified. These legal instruments not only provide a focus to the Commission, but are also critical in providing services, without fear or favour, to any group or category of people in the country.

Throughout its seven-year existence, NaCSA, on behalf of Government, has played the principal role in providing Humanitarian Assistance to the displaced, through the establishment of effective and decentralized coordination mechanisms and structures, fostering partnerships and establishing networks with funding agencies and implementing partners. In terms of coordination, at the center is the National Consultative Forum chaired by myself and to which all the Sectoral and Technical Committees report weekly for approval of policies, procedures, plans etc. Membership includes government line ministries, UN agencies, NGOs, Civil Society representatives etc.

This mechanism and structures are replicated in each Region of the country, even at the height of the crisis, when some Regional and District Headquarter towns were inaccessible to the Government. This arrangement ensured consistency with Government policies, as well as in the delivery of assistance by agencies. In terms of partnerships and networking, pipeline agencies were identified and the country mapped out amongst the agencies to ensure country-wide provision of support. Participatory planning processes like the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) and Donor's conferences are also coordinated with input from NaCSA, so as to present a common message to donors and thereby increase the chances for support. This approach ensured adequate humanitarian support to the displaced and other war-affected persons.

The coordination of Humanitarian Assistance has implications for the promotion of reconciliation, for if not managed well, it will sow the seeds of future conflicts. To this end therefore, policies, principles and strategies were carefully thought through to ensure fairness, equity and transparency. NaCSA facilitated the adoption of a Resettlement Strategy by Cabinet which provided the framework, policy guidelines and basic criteria for addressing displacement within the country. In addition to this, other International instruments that aim at protecting displaced persons were reviewed and adapted to the local conditions and in every instance this process was systematic, transparent and very participatory. All Line Ministries, agencies, security forces, donors, Local leaders were automatically engaged within the coordination structures, according to their competences, whilst the Displaced were active members of the Camp Management and Resettlement Committees. Through these mechanisms, standardized assessments, targeting, packages, rations, minimum standards, responsibilities of Government and agencies etc. were designed and adopted, which formed the basis for monitoring and evaluation of impact.
The significance of this approach for reconciliation can hardly be emphasized in a nation rife with rumour-mongering and where the illiteracy level is very high, thereby limiting access to information in the print media. NaCSA's efforts at coordination have been commended in and out of the country as a model for equity and transparency, as well as providing a forum for ensuring information-sharing and dissemination. By ensuring that principles and policies are adhered to in every camp in the country, regardless of tribe, place of origin or religion, the seeds of future reconciliation within Communities were sown. There were other thematic interventions and initiatives that were undertaken in camps and host communities which are supporting the reconciliation process, namely Peace Building, HIV/AIDS, War Affected Children, Trauma Healing etc. These have yielded good dividends as resettled populations, are by and large living in harmony with their host communities.

Resettlement
The issue of resettlement has been crucial in the Sierra Leonean context. Out of a population of about 5 million, it has been estimated that up to 2 million were displaced - 500,000 as refugees and the rest as IDPs. In order to address the issue of supporting the resettlement process, the same approach of partnership-building and coordination was adopted to allow for the resettlement of about 230,000 IDPs from Camps and another 200,000 from Host communities.

Mr. Chairman, to give you an indication of the complex task that the Commission had at the height of the crises in 1999, there were six camps in the East, four in the North, nine in the Western Area and fourteen in the South. In addition to these, there were IDPs in Host Communities in Mandu, Bo, Yele, Malal Mara, Lokomassama, Mile 91 and its environs, Roruks, Rogbere Junction, Calaba Town etc. The Freetown camps included two camps at Grafton and Aberdeen for Amputees, and War Wounded. I am pleased to report that over a four-phase period -June, 2000 to December, 2002 all the IDPs have been resettled in various parts of the country. The only remaining IDPs to be resettled are about 140 amputees and dependants, and War wounded. In addition, another estimated 135,000 Sierra Leonean Refugees, out of a population of 195,000 in the sub-region have also been resettled in various parts of the country, with support from UNHCR. Again, the standard packages and support are provided so as to prevent conflict between IDPs and Returnees.

As indicated above, the same approach of adherence to principles and policies, to ensure equity and transparency, guided the resettlement process to a successful conclusion. The resettlement packages were standardized for all the regions, displaced beneficiaries in camps and host communities, returnees etc. These include choice of resettlement area, free transportation, medical screening before transportation, a non-food item package which included plastic sheets for erection of temporary shelter and food for two months. District-level security assessments and transparent criteria for declaration of safety of chiefdoms were applied for every district.

Reintegration
As a strategy to reintegrate the displaced and support the recovery of war-affected host communities, NaCSA and its partners adopted a community-based approach to support communities receiving displaced persons. Social services and livelihood systems such as schools, clinics, agricultural seeds and tools, livestock, food for work to support agriculture and roads rehabilitation, were provided to these communities. To further promote reconciliation and reintegration, access to such opportunities were opened to all community members and not targeted at particular sub-groups, such as ex-combatants, returnees, IDPs etc.

NaCSA is quite aware that it could not undertake these activities alone and so, we not only developed programmes to support the resettlement and reintegration process but also provided direction to donors and partners, participated in fund-raising and embarked on an advocacy role for areas affected by the war. Through the Emergency Recovery Support Fund (ERSF), the Social Action and Poverty Alleviation (SAPA) Project, the Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP), the Support to Resettlement and Reintegration Project (SRRP), and Labour Intensive Public Works (LIPW) programmes, NaCSA has supported seven hundred and twenty-seven (727) sub-projects throughout the country, which are aimed at the restoration of basic services to communities and reintegration of the displaced and host populations.

Similar community recovery interventions are being undertaken by DFID, the EU, The World Bank, UN Agencies and NGOs. Through its advocacy and fund-raising activities, NaCSA contributed to the donor conference in Paris which yielded significant pledges to Sierra Leone and contributed to raising funds for UNHCR. NaCSA has also recently secured funding from the World Bank, African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank to support social reintegration and reconciliation over a five-year period. Through all these, NaCSA continues to play a major role in the reintegration process, providing support at community level through the provision of basic services, shelter and the promotion of livelihood systems, job creation and micro-credit. Significantly, the building of social capital will represent an important element of the social fund approach as the delivery of project inputs.

Reparation
Mr. Chairman, members, Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue of reparations is enshrined in International instruments to which Sierra Leone is a signatory and which guided the discussions and agreements embodied in the Lome Peace Accord signed between the Government and the RUF on July 7th 1999. These include the declarations and principles of Human Rights adopted by the UN and the OAU, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. Two fundamental principles in these instruments are 1) The Right to Reparation and 2) The Right to an effective Remedy. The former was adopted by the Permanent Court on International Justice (as contained in the Report of the International Law Commission -53rd session April -Aug 2002) which states that "the breach of an international obligation entails the duty to afford reparation" whilst the latter states that "Human Rights violations entail a duty to provide an effective remedy to afford redress to the victims." The African Charter is very explicit that the remedy should be judicial.

It is within this context that the role of NaCSA, then NCRRR, was clearly defined in the Lome Peace Accord. Article XXVIII states that "The Government, through the NCRRR, and with support from the International Community shall provide appropriate financial and technical resources for post war Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Development". With reparations, on the other hand, the Lome Agreement provided that the Government, with support of the International Community, would design and implement a program for the rehabilitation of war victims, through the establishment of a special fund for the War Victims- see Article XXIV of the Accord. In this, it will be guided by the recommendations of the TRC which will be binding on the Government and the International Community. It is very explicit here that the authors of the article were aware that reparation is a complex issue which should be financed through a different funding mechanism and managed by a separate body with expertise in reparation laws, principles and strategies to ensure that the system is transparent and not abused.

Within it's mandate, NaCSA has successfully mobilized resources for the maintenance of the Human Rights of the displaced to shelter and basic services in camps and during the resettlement process. Community-based support has also been delivered by NaCSA, through Line Ministries, NGOs, CBOs etc to support the reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration of resettling communities. These include seeds and tools, Food for Work, Schools, Clinics, Shelter, Micro-credit, etc. NaCSA, on behalf of the Government, was very instrumental in advocating for special packages for the very vulnerable amputees and War Wounded. In this respect, it was able to access funds from the Norwegian Government for the construction of houses, provision of furniture and a six-month resettlement food ration (instead of two) for amputees that were registered by then. Similarly, it accessed the Bill Clinton Fund for amputees and the disabled, which is currently being implemented through the OMEGA Initiative and utilized to support the rehabilitation of this category of people in communities. Within the new NaCSA programmes, the amputees and other categories of the disabled are also specifically targeted for shelter assistance. As a policy, all community development structures that are dealing with NaCSA should include a proportion of disabled and Women, as Gender sensitivity is also a cornerstone in NaCSA's programmes.

These gains notwithstanding, Mr. Chairman, the issues of reparation and remedy for amputees and other war-wounded persons cannot be limited to the movement of the amputees back to communities, or the provision of food for six months. It involves the adoption of policies and setting up of structures that will deal with the amputees as war victims in the first place, and with disability as a phenomenon within our society, in the second place. It calls for rules of engagement, roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders -Line Ministries, NGOs the Private sector etc. It also entails strategies to identify the target beneficiaries.    I am pleased to inform you all that H.E. the President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabba and his Vice President Hon. Solomon Berewa, both being legally minded, are strongly committed to the need for providing reparations. On all the occasions we have discussed these issues, they have always emphasized the need for the continued engagement of our partners and the government to look into reparations.

At this juncture, let me say a few words on the issue of disparity in the support to victims and perpetrators which is constantly brought to our attention at NaCSA and DDR. The provision of reintegration support packages to ex-combatants was part of the Government's agreement made in Lome in 1999 to encourage the fighting forces to join the peace process. It should not be seen therefore as a reward to ex-combatants, but rather as part of the compromise that was deemed necessary at the time to "buy the peace" and ensure stability of the country during a fragile period.

Unfortunately, limited resources mean that NaCSA will never be able to provide a similar package for every one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the war. Hence, NaCSA has focused on targeting community services and community livelihood systems as a way of reaching as many people as possible. However, Government has made stringent efforts to provide targeted support to some of the more visible groups of war-affected victims. Support to the displaced in camps and to their subsequent resettlement has been mentioned. But in addition, 256 amputees and war wounded family heads and their 1,862 dependants have been resettled and provided with houses costing $4,000/unit, furniture worth Le500, 000, non-food items and a six-month food ration to each family. Whilst these can in no way compensate for the loss of the means of income and dignity (due to the loss of limbs and feet), yet these should be looked at as part of the provision of reparation by the Government and Donors.
Having said that, NaCSA fully supports the setting up of the War Victims Fund or other funding mechanisms for War Victims such as Lottery or a Safety Net scheme, as soon as possible, to address the needs of the amputees in the short run, and the formulation of a policy on disability which will address most of their concerns in a much more systematic and sustainable way. Other non-financial, but equally important forms of reparation should also be explored.

In summary, Mr. Chairman, the promotion of reconciliation and reintegration in post-war Sierra Leone is a huge challenge. Essentially, it involves giving all of our citizens a stake in society and a stake in a peaceful future, be they combatants, youths, displaced, disabled etc. However, the reintegration challenge can only be achieved through an integrated national strategy which promotes access to basic human rights, such as food security, shelter, health, education, other social services and economic opportunities and to justice and security. This takes time and resources, but most of all, it will take a new spirit of transparency, equity, and inclusion between Government and the people at national, regional, district, chiefdom and community levels. NaCSA is proud to have made a contribution to this challenge, but is under no illusion as to the scale of the task ahead. However, it is a task that we embrace and a task which must be achieved to ensure a peaceful future for our country.

We continue to count on the support of all stakeholders and partners in identifying new ideas and strategies to fulfill Government's task of caring for the war victims and affected communities. Let me end by acknowledging the very positive role the TRC has played in facilitating national reconciliation. The formation of your Commission has indeed been vital and timely in our peace building efforts through Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation.

Mr. Chairman, the sustained development of the peace process is indispensable to the continued well-being of the country and its people, and indeed the sub-region of West Africa.

I thank you for your attention.



TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
PROMOTING NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND NATIONAL REINTEGRATION
(Including reparations)
APC PRESENTATION - TUESDAY 5TH AUGUST 2003

His Excellency the President, Chairman and Members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Ladies and Gentlemen:

Our Party, the All Peoples Congress (APC) has been with you at your thematic and institutional hearings since you started Public Sessions on Monday, 5th May 2003. The APC attaches great importance to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is with this in mind that my party has been very cooperative in making submissions and public appearances. This Commission is playing a cardinal role in our efforts to reconcile and unite our war torn nation and every Sierra Leonean must be very thankful to you.

To pursue national unity and reconciliation for the wellbeing of all Sierra Leoneans and sustain our hard earned peace indeed requires reconciliation between all sections of Sierra Leonean society. The people of Sierra Leone have achieved victory in war. Now they want prosperity in peace. We have learnt an instructive lesson as a nation that peace is not an abstract concept. To be real, it must be won and worked for.

The burden of responsibility for the reconstruction of our country and the reconciliation of our people now largely rests with the SLPP Government. It is important for them to stay, focused on this by running the country in a transparent manner and showing genuine commitment to building a democratic society where basic human rights, justice and equal opportunities are strictly observed. The APC hopes that the SLPP will live up to these expectations. We can assure this Commission, the nation and the international community that the APC will never obstruct any genuine efforts of the SLPP directed at achieving these cherished aims. We shall however, vigorously oppose any actions that in any way attempt to interfere with the democratic rights and freedom of the citizens of this country. For it is precisely the systematic erosion of individual rights and freedom, the inability to administer justice fairly and the biased approach to development and opportunity that led to the tragic events of the past decade.

Among others, the causes of the RUF war included bad governance, political exclusion, and poor conduct of elections. These are the evils that are to be avoided especially during this crucial period of healing the social and economic wounds that have been inflicted upon us.

What is alarming at this time is that we are now witnessing the same vices of bad governance being practised by the SLPP in a manner approaching callousness. We do not see the efforts at fence mending and removing the seeds of division that initially laid the basis for the tragic war. Instead of progressing towards unity, the SLPP is deliberately widening the divide between the people. In fact it has gone so bad that many civil servants and public employees are afraid to talk to people known to be members, supporters or even sympathisers of the APC. There is a feeling of siege, a culture of fear among those holding positions in the community - a fear that they may, lose their jobs if they are seen associating with anyone who is remotely associated with the APC. People are locked out of offices, friends avoid socialising with assumed APC friends, employers hesitate to employ anyone with a taint of APC on him or her. Contracts of Government, NaCSA and Parastatal are only awarded to known SLPP supporters. Even temporary holiday jobs for students are given only to those whose names appear on an SLPP supporters' list furnished by the SLPP executive from the relevant college. This is depriving individuals of their basic rights and throwing the policy of equal opportunity into the political dustbin. A growing number of Sierra Leoneans now complain of this highly divisive policy. Such a policy of deprivation can only, lead to frustration, alienation and ultimate bitterness. It cannot sustain lasting peace.

We appeal to the SLPP especially HE the President, to take Positive action in deeds and words', to educate their members that in our young and fragile democracy, the concept of the winner takes all is unacceptable. In whatever party one finds oneself, they must be accorded the same rights and privileges and share the same duties and obligations.

Corruption continues to plague our country; much is desired with regard to arrest this malaise. Efforts made so far to fight against corruption have failed. The fight against corruption now needs a new and robust approach. It must be prominent in our agenda to move forward. Democracy, sustainable peace, national development and reconciliation cannot be achieved if corruption is not properly and seriously addressed.

Another precept that must be accepted by all if peace and reconciliation are to be sustained is that sovereignty belongs to the people. This is a cardinal principle of democracy that must be ingrained in the minds of Sierra Leoneans - especially those in authority. Failure to accept this basic tenet of good governance has been one of the major causes of instability in our country, matched only by unbridled corruption. The rigging of elections has become an art in Sierra Leonean politics. We ought to stand by the name of this Commission and speak the truth - all elections from 1967 to 2002 have left much to be desired. Various strange election theories and phrases aimed at rigging have been coined by the fertile imagination of politicians who wished to interfere unfairly with election results and tip the balance in their favour. All of this was carried out with corrupt hand picked political servants of the ruling party that go under the name of a National Electoral Commission. Thus the peoples' will has been thwarted over and over again with the resulting bitterness, anger and frustration. National reconciliation cannot be achieved with an SLPP puppet National Electoral Commission. The APC accepted this Commission's conduct of the May 14, 2002 Parliamentary and Presidential elections in the interest of national peace and reconciliation. We recommend a re-constitution of the National Electoral Commission.

Bad governance has also given the military and rebels a welcome excuse to tread into areas where they have no business. We in the APC recognize that the ballot box is the legitimate medium for change of government and condemn in the strongest terms the intrusion of the military in the governance of the country - whether it was by Hinga Norman in 1967, Valentine Strasser in 1992 or Johnny Paul Koroma in 1997.

But to ensure that these tragic events do not recur, we have to commit ourselves - all of us, of whatever political shade - to the ideal of the sovereignty of the people by holding free, fair and transparent elections at all times. When the people have spoken through the ballot box, we must accept it.

At this point I must caution the government on the pending local government elections which rumour has it that they may be held on a non-party basis. We believe that local government is an excellent forum for developing our young democracy and empowering the people. The word non-partisan smacks of the one-party politics that the APC thankfully dumped into the political dustbin over a decade ago. To avoid dissatisfaction and anger, we suggest that the Local Government Elections are held on a democratic ticket with parties fielding their candidates. If we lose, we will accept it with dignity; if we win, we shall be gracious in victory. But we do not fear to accept the verdict of the people. What we must fear is their anger when they perceive that they are being consistently deprived of their rights.

Further on the question of reconciliation, it would be pertinent to learn some lessons - very pertinent lessons - from former President J.S. Momoh. On attaining power, Momoh demonstrated a good spirit of national unity and reconciliation by inviting a number of SLPP stalwarts who had been in self-exile for a long time. The late Sir Banja Tejan-Sie and Maigore Kallon (former Chairman of the SLPP and Foreign Minister in both the Albert Margai and Kabbah regimes), were personally invited by President Momoh to come home; they were both given a red carpet welcome by the President and given substantial assistance to enable them restart their lives after a long absence from home. Accompanied by the then Second Vice-President Salia Jusu-Sheriff, they were flown in the Presidential helicopter to Bo and Kenema so the people would know that it was time to heal the wounds of the past. Dr. John Karefa-Smart was likewise accorded the same courtesies. A beneficiary of this symbolic reconciliatory gesture by President Momoh is our present Head of State, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Houses and properties confiscated by the military junta that seized power in 1967 were returned to their respective owners. Paramount Chiefs Komkanda, Alikali Modu and Koblo Pathbana were reinstated and their staffs of office returned to them.

Most importantly, President Momoh reversed an earlier decision by his predecessor and reverted to the original date of April 27th as the National Day instead of April 19th (the day Sierra Leone attained Republican State). On April 27 1987, President Momoh held a State Memorial Service at Sir Milton Margai's grave because he wanted to use that as another symbol of national unity. After all, Sir Milton is the founding father of independent Sierra Leone and it is only fit that he be the symbol of a united Sierra Leone. All the surviving Ministers who served under Sir Milton and Sir Albert and members of the Margai family were invited and they all laid wreaths on the grave. It was a touching moment to see Sierra Leoneans from different parties standing side by side, paying homage to this icon of our nationhood - President Momoh, late G.S. Panda, D.L. Sumner, John Nelson Williams, Chief Sam Margai and former President Siaka Stevens. But sadly, when President Kabbah held a service on April 27 this year at the same spot in memory of Sir Miton, Momoh's laudable example was not followed.    Instead of making it a national service, President Kabbah chose to make it only an SLPP affair thus detracting from the unifying symbol of our national hero. We suggest that in furtherance of national reconciliation, future services of this nature could be used to further national unity, not pamper narrow partisan politics.

The saddest thing though is that President Kabbah and the SLPP have now meted the most uncompassionate treatment to former President Momoh who strove so hard to reconcile this nation. The irony is that it was President Momoh who worked selflessly to bring the multi party constitution we now enjoy into being. Lest we forget or anyone detracts from Momoh's efforts at ushering in multi-party politics (as many SLPP die-hards constantly but unsuccessfully try to do) I quote from one of his speeches on his efforts to introduce a multi-party system of government.

In early 1990 while addressing the people of Kono and Kailahun, I initiated the debate on returning the country to a multi party democracy as long as that was the wish of the majority of the people. Without any form of pressure, I drew the nation's attention to the debate that was raging in other parts of the world and to the collapse of Eastern Europe's one party dictatorships.    After that statement, the debate became wide open and everyone has had the opportunity of freely participating in it.

Working for, and introducing multi party democracy was Momoh's ultimate effort in trying to bring peace and stability to our nation. This man died frustrated in Guinea, denied of a11 his benefits from the state. President Kabbah and the SLPP government would have made a big leap towards reconciliation if they had rehabilitated President Momoh. For sustained stability, other former Presidents, now and in future, should be treated with the dignity and compassion they deserve. This should have been done not as favour to Momoh, but because it is the right thing to do.

It is pertinent at this stage to note that the SLPP continues to illegally occupy APC properties including the Party's National Headquarters at 39 Siaka Stevens Street and its Multi purpose (We Yone) Building at Old Railway Line, Brookfields. These properties were never the subject of any Judicial Commission of Inquiry but were forcefully seized by the illegal military NPRC Junta. Yet the SLPP continues to endorse a military illegality by unfairly appropriating these properties to their use. This is surely not the golden path to reconciliation that we all want to see. We believe that in the interest of national unity and reconciliation, all properties seized by Comnissions of Inquiry- since 1967 to January 2002 be returned to their owners.

Our party's submission to the TRC stated that the RUF rebel war is the worst tragedy that has befallen this country. We laid bare roles played by international conspirators in fuelling this national tragedy using our diamonds. We believe that the TRC has uncovered the role played by blood diamonds in the conflict and we recommend that various agreements recently entered into for the exploitation of our mineral resources - Diamonds, Gold, Rutile, Bauxite, Iron Ore - be renegotiated in the better interest of the nation and people in the mining areas.

The APC notes with satisfaction that evidence before the TRC underscores the mal-administration of the notorious NPRC junta that carried out many extra-judicial killings and brought mayhem to this nation. We believe it was a mistake on the part of the SLPP to grant amnesty and safe haven to members of the NPRC without holding them to account for the horrible crimes they committed. In some ways, it could be argued that the license the members of the NPRC enjoyed served as a model of aspiration for the subsequent senseless actions of the AFRC junta. The APC recommends that the extra-judicial killings by the NPRC in December 1992 of former Inspector General of Police James Bambay Kamara, Col. Yayah Kanu and Kawuta Dumbuya and others be thoroughly investigated.

The unfortunate popularisation of the term `collaborator' by the SLPP resulted in the dismissals of many Sierra Leoneans from their jobs both in the private and public sectors and death by lynching of several of our supporters including Alhaji Musa Kabia, Sheik Mostaba, Sakoma following the restoration of the SLPP government in February 1998. These dismissals and killings represent premeditated vengeance and a sad chapter in our country's history. They remain the biggest blot in President Kabbah's democratic governance and must be investigated and appropriate reparations paid to members of their families.

When President Kabbah, the SLPP and the 1991 Constitution were re-instated in February 1998, the Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic misjudged the situation and undertook some unfortunate actions that were detrimental to State Security, Peace and Reconciliation.

  • He pitched the mono-ethnic SLPP Kamajor Militia against the Sierra Leone Armed Forces thereby escalating the civil war.
  • He announced the disbanding of the regular army thus pushing the soldiers to join forces with the rebels.
  • He appointed Chief Hinga Norman as Deputy Minister of Defence being fully aware that Norman was Commander of the Kamajor Militia that was fighting the Army.
  • President Kabbah made a statement in Makeni that the North should apologize to the rest of the country because Foday Sankoh, the RUF Leader, has a northern name and is said to have hailed from the North. This unfortunate statement caused great resentment among northerners who saw it not only as a poor effort to disguise the real origins of the RUF but also as a deliberate attempt to create a regional divide and fan ethnic animosity. We hope that now that President Kabbah and the whole country know the truth about who really are the RUF, he will graciously apologise for this unfortunate and annoying statement.

When President Kabbah was in Guinea in 1997, he informed the world that all those Sierra Leoneans who stayed behind when he was toppled in a coup were rebels and `collaborators'. Let me ask in all seriousness, did President Kabbah honestly believe that all Sierra Leoneans including Doctors, Teachers, Nurses, Policemen, Soldiers, Electricity Workers and Central Bank Officials should all have abandoned the country and troop after him into Guinea? Worse still, he created further misery for Sierra Leoneans he left behind in Guinea when he returned to Sierra Leone by also labeling them as rebels. This statement prompted the Guinean authorities to unleash unprecedented violence against these unfortunate Sierra Leoneans.

The President's inability to halt rampant corruption in SLPP governance makes the government an accomplice to massive destruction of our national economv. Instead of minizing corruption, it is now a sad reality that corruption is growing in size and sophistication on a daily basis.

The Sierra Leone Armed Forces, the Police including the State Security Division should always be made to enjoy their constitutional rights and perform their duties. Marginalizing them, depriving them of their privileges, housing the Kamajors at Brookfields Hotel while the army were in dilapidated barracks all amounted to bad judgement, which fueled the crisis.

Even though they were dressed up in fake legality, Sierra Leoneans saw that the 1998 treason trials were unfair, irregular and had no legality. In a desperate effort to exterminate perceived political opponents, an obnoxious Public Notice No. 4 of 9thApril 1998 was hurriedly issued thus amending the criminal Procedure Act of 1965 and effectively denying accused persons of fair hearing. With indecent haste and reckless indifference, the Kabbah SLPP administration killed 24 (twenty four) soldiers - most of them senior officers - after a very poorly conducted court martial of dubious credibility.

The APC appeals to the TRC to address that miscarriage of justice against political opponents in the interest of reconciliation. We would like to see the TRC investigate those court martial trials. The APC believes that these revenge arrests, trials and executions cannot promote national reconciliation. They are a bad precedent for our fledging democracy.

As a party, we are saddened that the SLPP has not rendered remorse and apology for these executions. The APC appeals to the TRC to recommend that the laws of Treason and Court Martial be scrupulously guarded to avoid abuse and misuse.

My party further appeals for a review of the death penalty in accordance with current international human rights standards of justice.

The strength of the APC lies in the many, infrastructural developments the party undertook all over the country. Our greatest pride and strength are found within the pages of the 1991 Mu1ti-Party Democratic Constitution (Act N0.6 of 1991). This is our gift to Sierra Leone and we appeal to the SLPP to hold sacred this Constitution in the interest of democracy. Bad governance and undemocratic tendencies breed violence and revolt. We urge the SLPP to give Sierra Leoneans democratic governance.

The peace we are currently enjoying is a result of the resolve of all Sierra Leoneans to have peace. The APC congratulates all Sierra Leoneans for accomplishing this feat.

The brutal and inhumane amputations and other atrocities carried out by the RUF and Kamajors have left indelible scars in our society. These amputees are sad reminders that we must always strive to avoid actions in governance that may cause friction and tragedy. In the quest for reconciliation, the APC submits that amputees should be appropriately, cared for and adequately compensated.

My party is proud of her record in office and these records are visible all over Sierra Leone. But despite all of our achievements, one has to remember that politics is not saintly and it becomes dirty with greed, impropriety and undemocratic overtures on the part of the players. As we urge our brothers and sisters in the SLPP to play the game according to the rule, we assure them that we shall also be doing the same; for we all owe it to our country, to those who suffered all forms of deprivation and to those who lost their lives or limbs, during this sad conflict. At the same time, we extend to all Sierra Leoneans of whatever political party a hand of friendship, with our hearts emptied of bitterness and hold everyone in a warm embrace of reconciliation.

We have of course made mistakes over the years and to all those who we may have hurt in any way, we say - SORRY. The APC asks for your forgiveness.

Let us all henceforth commit ourselves to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution, let us all work together as brothers and sisters trying to achieve the same goal - the progress of our country and the furtherance of the well being of our people. We may express our different views about how to get there but as long as we respect our differences, listen to one another, hold human rights, justice and individual freedom sacred, fight against corruption, show compassion when in authority, I believe we shall find that harmony to work together and live in peace. In this way, the country will have cooperation, unity and peace and not suspicion, division and instability.

I thank you.

Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma
Leader of the ALL Peoples Congress
And Minority Party Leader of the
Sierra Leone House of Parliament


 

Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP)
Lightfoot Boston Street,
Freetown.

January 28 2003.

Rt. Rev. Joseph C. Humper
Chairman - TRC
RSL.

Dear Sir,

We are pleased to have received an invitation of submission from your institution mandated by the GOSL and the terms of the Lome Peace Accord. Not to allow superfluous, concisely we will commence with the wanted materials from the fourth paragraph.

1. The causes of the conflict:

a. Citizens have been marginalized for a longer period
b. The Religious institutions failure to speak on direct issues to the governed body for corrections.
c. The failure of previous governments listening to her citizens.
d. The failure of Governments in the past to understand the cry of the masses
e. Rampant corruptions within the circles of governance.

2a. The roles of actors, schools and countries dissecting the facts of actors, institutions and countries, the RUFP would like to embrace countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Gambia, Mali, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana. This compliment differs from sending contingents respectively.

Nigeria: Nigeria had been a prey motivator for the peace in Sierra Leone. Factions paid visits to Nigeria for either transparent education to conflict resolutions or practical lectures on confidence building.

Despite, Nigeria provided office equipment to the RUFP to encourage the lcadership to come down and disarm for the benefit of the Sierra Leonean masses

Liberia: Liberia has never benefited from the war in Sierra Leone. She only opened a corridor for the departure of men that were captured during the conflict simply, prisoners of war. Liberia also encouraged fluent meeting of factions to discuss pertinent issues for a way forward.

Togo: Certainly, Togo should be given a medal for accepting the key to the stop doors of men and women in arms. This was a risk. The Lome Peace Accord, which led to the peace in Sierra Leone, should be complemented under the auspices of our beloved state, Togo. Bravo to His Excellency Eyadema.

However, the implementations started too late and the calls have been shun according to the accord.

Mildly, the Trust Fund, the occupations of parties in the conflict in governance, parastatals et all.

The RUFP is also commending the former Malian President, His Excellencey Konare, H.E. Yaya Jammeh of Gambia, Former President of Ghana, H. E. Jerry Rawlings and the Former President of Cote d'Ivoire, H.E. Henry Bedei and also the present Secretary General of the African Union, Mr. Amara Essy for jobs well done for peace in Sierra Leone.

3a. How Can A Repetition Of The Conflict Be Avoided?

A) We are to eradicate all factors responsible for the war for a positive directions especially those outlined in the Lome Peace Accord because the accord speaks for all parties involved in the conflict.
B) Victims have positive assistance in the same accord; despite any philanthropist in Sierra Leone and at Diaspora can help these war victims by either establishing an account of mutual understanding or make the children of these victims achieve free educations. NGOs are doing well as per hearings from mass medias.
C) The GOSL should continue assisting these men with good shelters and rations.
D) The GOSL should also encourage the NCDDR to continue the reintegration till most victims can independently survive.
E) The handicaps should also practice play lets, carnivals, etc. for helps.

4. How Perpetrators May Be Reintegrated Into Society That The Nation May Be Healed And Rebuilt.
This question should also allow me answer on a comfortable bed.

a. Perpetrators must face Special Court.
b. To completely avoid executions because when a doer is executed, he can only vanish the world and is quick to forget him. He can only be remembered when the action is repeated.
c. To keep perpetrators at homes under governmental surveillance and allow his families to visit him. Visitations will enable the doer to say some facts leading to his arrest when he is at leisure time. Good medications are necessary, free movements give men sound brain.

Sir, the perpetrators should be given the responsibility to take care of what they have destroyed and wounded like victims. Anyone coming with a war should know that wounded must prevail. He has his source of income to uphold the solutions.

We will comply with all calls from TRC.

Long live the TRC

Long live the State and Governance. May God bless our State.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Jonathan Kposowa
Sec. General - RUFP



SIERRA LEONE GOVERNMENT STATEMENT

HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT ALHAJI DR. AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH

Made Before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Tuesday, 5th August, 2003

OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
STATE HOUSE
FREETOWN
SIERRA LEONE


Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, I aN delighted to have been invited to make a statement at these public hearings of the  Truth and Reconciliation Commission, particularly on the theme "Promoting Reconciliat ion and National Reintegration". In dealing with this theme, I take the view that it will be useful if I put within its proper historical perspective the situation prevailing in Sierra Leone, which makes the promotion of reconciliation and national reintegration an active and necessary element of State Policy

INTRODUCTION

1. The peace achieved at the end of the eleven years of war in this country can be sustained only if there is reconciliation among the people and if national reintegration is actively and successfully pursued. Thus reconciliation and national reintegration are necessary ingredients in the peace building process which we need to embark upon in order to avoid the-recurrence of war. Therefore to promote reconciliation and national reintegration we need to understand what were the root causes of the war itself and how those root causes are to be eradicated for good. It is for this reason that I have deemed it necessary to take the Commission back to an appropriate point in the history of this country to narrate the events and elements which, in my view cumulatively gave rise to the war. It is also important to narrate the role played by some of the actors in that war, and how they subscribed to the causes of the war or to the war itself. I will proffer no justification or explanation here for the conduct of any of the actors because there is no justification that can be found for their conduct.   

My concern here is merely to state the facts that occurred as a matter of history and the role my Government has played and continues to play not only to ensure that peace returns to the country but also to put in place measures to prevent another war, promote reconciliation and national reintegration.

2. Sierra Leone became independent from Britain on the 27th April, 1961. At that time and for some years thereafter good governance and the rule of law prevailed.    Multi-party Government and democracy were the two systems bequeathed to this country. Both systems were valued and held in high esteem by the population until the advent of the APC Government in 1968. That Government from its inception systematically dismantled those two systems up to a point that not even a shadow of them remained. Thus for a period covering nearly three decades what prevailed in Sierra Leone was a one-party totalitarian form of Government starting as a de facto one party government in 1968 until it was formalized by the One Party Constitution of 1978 which remained in force up to 1991. The consequence was the disenchantment of the population with the state and the organs of government, the pervasiveness of bad governance and the total lack of    accontability by public officers.    Such public officers by and large held office by virtue of their membership of the only recognized party (the APC) or as a favour from that party which they regarded as their duty to serve if they were to retain their positions. The party in this situation became preoccupied with its own survival and for this reason it would not tolerate any dissent or opposition which it crushed by brutal force. What follows now will give details of what I regar as factors which cumulatively gave rise to the war.

3. Multi-Party political system continued to be practiced in Sierra Leone for some years even after Independence in 1961. After the controversial election of 1967 and the intervening one-year of military rule in 1967/68, the All People's Congress (APC) Party took over the Government from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in 1968. By diverse and often questionable constitutional amendments, Sierra Leone was transformed from a monarchical democratic system of Government to a Republic in 1971, with a Ceremonial President, which, within less than 24 hours, was again changed to an Executive Presidential Government. This situation was aggravated by various electoral manipulations at bye-elections following successful election petitions filed by the A.P.C. Party against the SLPP and other devices such as the use of thugs and the rigging of those bye elections. From 1968 Sierra Leone as already mentioned became a de facto One Party State.   

By formalizing the one-party system in the d1978 Constitution the APC Party became the sole political party. The membership of that Party then became a necessary pre-condition for the participation by any person in the political life and indeed in the governance of this country. This was the situation that prevailed up to 1991 when the Government was obliged reluctantly to yield to popular outcry for the return to political pluralism. This resulted in the promulgation of the 1991 Constitution. A number of political parties including the SLPP and the People's Democratic were registered in that year in readiness for the elections, which were to be held in 1992.

4. It needs to be mentioned here that sometime in 1966, Sir Albert Margai who had succeeded Sir Milton Margai as Prime Minister and leader of the SLPP, in 1964 proposed the introduction of a one party system of government. Because of the opposition received from all and sundry especially from the A. P.C. Party to any change from the multi-party democratic system of government, Sir Albert dropped the idea of a one party system and nothing was heard about it it again until in 1978 when that system was formally introduced by the APC Government. By the promulgation of a multi-party Constitution in 199l the APC Party was merely grudgingly making good what it had formally deprived the country of for close to two decades.

THE ALL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS PARTY'S ATTITUDE TO THE 1991 CONSTITUTION AND ITS DESIRE TO RETAIN ITS GRIP ON POWER AT ALL COSTS

5. The promulgation of the 1991 multi-party Constitution resulted in the registration of a number of political parties, and with this the A.P.C. Party, which had been in-office since 1968 felt its position threatened. A number of its previous supporters had reverted to the SLPP to which they originally belonged or had joined the PDP. So much for the state of affairs up to and immediately after 1991.

6. The rebel war in neighbouring Liberia had commenced in 1989 with the express objective of removing President Samuel Doe from office in that country. Charles Taylor, who later became President of Liberia had come to Sierra Leone with the view of using this country as a springboard for staging a rebellion against Doe. The APC first received him and even encouraged him to do so. This initial encouragement for Charles Taylor, we are told, was as a result of some financial consideration paid by him to the higher echelons of the APC regime. The APC Government then failed to keep to its own part of the bargain. It had a change of heart and had Charles Taylor arrested, incarcerated at the Pademba Road Prisons for a while and then expelled from the country. This conduct by the APC regime is a factor that might have provoked the hostility of Charles Taylor and his active participation in the rebel war in Sierra Leone. He is known to have organized and sponsored the initial invasion into Sierra Leone by arming and directing the invaders and his support for them remained active all throughout the rebel war.

7. There is no attempt here to justify the attitude of Charles Taylor and the stance he took against the people of this country.    But a salutary lesson can be learnt from the relationship that was forged between the APC Government then and this man and the transaction or deal that is imputed to have transpired between the two. That lesson is that matters of State should be embarked upon with greater caution and circumspection and the receipt of personal gain should never determine how important matters of State should be decided. It would have been quite proper for the then APC Government to have declined to allow Charles  Taylor the use of Sierra Leone territory for hostile activity against a sister country such as Liberia. But the impropriety lay in first accepting such use and for a consideration, and then reneging on it. This country and its people have paid most dearly and are still paying for such improper conduct of the APC Government.

8. The rebel war in Sierra Leone commenced in March 1991, and the multi-party Constitution of 1991 became effective in October of that year. With the registration of a number of political parties under that Constitution and with the threat perceived by the APC to its Position which for the first time became assailable and the real prospect of its losing the elections slated for 1992 under that Constitution, the APC Party began devising strategies to guarantee its continued grip on power. Some of those strategies were to wage war against Liberia not for the purpose of staving off the rebel incursion but in order to provide a justification for not holding the scheduled 1992 elections. Other strategies the APC Party considered adopting were either to use the war then in progress as a pretext for declaring a state of emergency and for establishing an interim government. This would necessarily have resulted in postponing the elections. A reserved strategy which that Party was adept in implementing was, in the event that those elections could not be postponed, to embark on the extensive use of public funds to rig the scheduled elections in its favour. In other words, even though there had been a serious incursion into Sierra Leone's territory, the only preoccupation of the A.P.C. Government was to retain political power. Thus, after October 1991, the APC Party was determined to embark upon any measures, which would result in the elections proposed for 1992 to be postponed indefinitely and thus frustrate the desire of the people for a smooth political change and for a restoration of normal democratic multi-party governance in this country after a dearth of more than two decades.

9. The modalities for giving effect to the scheme hatched by the APC Party were debated at length at one of the high level meetings of that Party held at their Office and under the Chairmanship of the then Inspector-General of Police, the late Mr. Bambay Kamara. '.' quote here verbatim and in extenso excerpts from the Minutes of that meeting which I had since come by:

"Speaker AA: The state of emergency will not solve the problem either, but to declare war against Liberia. Registration of P.D.P. has brought untold confusion in the Party. We have lost most of our thugs to P.D.P. and other Parties. SLPP would have been no threat to A.P.C. They are mild people or Party. PDP has given SLPP minds to face us... -

Speaker BB: Chairman... About the state of emergency, Haja solemnly appeal -    to Chairman and A.P.C. to see that it goes through. It will be total destruction to A.P.C. survival if it fails. This is a big test.

Speaker CC: Let us address ourselves seriously to the formation of interim government. You are bound by law to include opposition members in policy-making cabinet. They would want to know how much we have got for the war and how much spent. The country's budget must be known. These are the monies we depend on to rig the elections and to make anything necessary to bring victory. How can we do these effectively if we have these oppositions among us?

Speaker DD: I wholeheartedly agree with the lst Speaker Haja. Indeed we have lost almost all our thugs and supporters to P.D.P. Thaimu knows us better than any of the parties. We have to exercise patience to destroy P.D.P.  For SLPP is no threat to A.P.C. in any form. They cannot stand tensions and thugs.

Speaker EE: APC is at a crucial point since we are not accountable to anybody now. Let us use the war front funds and national funds to persuade Honourable Members to vote in favour of counter motion as Honourable Sankoh is going to withdraw his private motion. We cannot afford to lose any steps now..."

10. I have decided here not to disclose the identity and names of those present at that meeting and the speakers because a number of them are now chastened and are currently engaged in activities beneficial to the governance of this country.    No useful purpose will be served by disclosing their identity as this will only cause them embarrassment and possibly the withdrawal by them of their services. But if the Commission is desirous to know the identity of these persons, I am prepared to disclose their names in confidence.   

11. I have attempted here to give the Commission an idea of the state of affairs which prevailed in the body politic of this country in the run-up to the proposed elections of 1992, which was aborted by the NPRC coup d'etat of that year. This gives an idea of the level to which the APC Party was prepared to go to satisfy its greed for power and to do so even if it meant endangering the security of this nation by plunging it into a war not as a defensive measure but for the purpose of retaining power. It also gives a glimpse of the frame of mind and attitude of the then ruling A.P.C. Government not only towards the proposed democratic elections, but more so and naturally towards the junta which ousted them, and towards my Government which succeeded them after the elections of 1996. In other words, my success at the elections of that year was not a matter the A.P.C. Party was willing to accept lightly. From the foregoing it is therefore reasonable to infer that the defeated A.P.C. Party was even prepared to be involved in machinations to cause problems for my government even if this meant creating further chaos in the country. This in fact turned out to be the case. Hence, the obvious hostility shown by that Party to my Government and the refusal of its leadership to accept my invitation to participate in the broad based national government, which I formed after the 1996 elections.

12. I have given this account not with any intention of casting aspersions on the A.P.C. Party, but merely to describe the political situation in this country at the time I became President, and the course of events that followed thereafter some of whose repercussions are still haunting us. To achieve national reconciliation we need to take due cognisance of these events and to prevent their recurring so that the appropriate atmosphere can exist for national reconciliation.

THE SECURITY SITUATION PREVAILING IN SIERRA LEONE BEFORE MY ELECTION AS PRESIDENT
13. The account following will give the Commission an idea of the prevailing precarious security position in the country at the time I first assumed office as President.

(a) Before I became President in March 1996, the RUF had already entrenched themselves in the war for close to five years both in combat and in their international contacts. They then continued to have active support principally from Liberia, Burkina Fasso, and had haven in Ivory Coast.
(b) The Sierra Leone Military Forces were then unwilling and/or unable to confront and engage the RUF in combat. On the contrary, there was clear evidence that their loyalty had been compromised to the extent that the civilian population had lost confidence in them, and because of their perceived collaboration with the rebels, they were nicknamed "sobels". This was a word coined from the words "soldiers" and "rebels" to emphasize the level of collaboration between the soldiers and the rebels.
(c) Because of the long stream of successes in combat by the RUF, their anticipation of actually taking over the Government of the entire country had been heightened. They were therefore vehemently opposed to whatever or whomever they saw as standing in their way to power. It was in this light that they perceived the democratic process that was emerging towards the end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996. Similarly the RUF considered a11 politicians participating in the election process as real enemies attempting to thwart their imminent occupation of the entire country.

MY DECLARED RESOLVE TO RESTORE PEACE TO SIERRA LEONE AND THE OBSTACLES
14. When I became President, I was very conscious of my political, constitutional and perhaps even moral obligation to strive hard and exert every effort to bring an early end to the war. The reasons for this were obvious.

(a) The population had already become war-weary, and in spite of my knowledge of the state of the military and its inability or unwillingness to prosecute the war against the rebels, I had made the ending of the war my main campaign pledge. I made this pledge in the belief that by negotiations and sound reasoning I would be able to talk the rebels out of their hostile activities against the population, persuade them to enter into negotiations with the view of concluding a peace agreement with them.  I reasonably had the belief that if they signed any agreement they would see themselves obliged to abide by their signatures.
(b) I was also convinced that with a civilian government other than the APC in power, the original stated rationale for the RUF taking up arms would have been eliminated and my new civilian government would be able to persuade them to 1ay down their arms. This conviction was based on the fact that the RUF had repeatedly stated that they embarked on armed struggle in order to oust the APC Government from power and to liberate the people of Sierra Leone from the perceived tyranny and corruption of that Government.
(c) On my assumption of office in 1996, I was quite conscious that the military had been for long completely politicized by the previous civilian regime and that by their having been in power for over four years immediately before my election to office the same military had cherished the fact of having political power which they had used mainly to accumulate wealth. I was therefore aware that they would not be inclined to be loyal to my Government in the first place and would also detest to give up power easily and completely. The NPRC military junta clearly demonstrated this attitude by their conduct as they grudgingly yielded to the holding of the elections only after persistent outcry from the civil population and pressure from the international community for the elections to be held. They unsuccessfully mounted and orchestrated a campaign with the slogan "peace before elections" which was another way of perpetuating the junta in office. Through this campaign they even attempted to ingratiate themselves with the RUF by demonstrating to the RUF that the junta was prepared to delay the holding of elections so that it would forge a power sharing arrangement with the RUF, but that the problem was with the political parties as they were pressing for the holding of elections for the purpose of permanently excluding the RUF from participating in the governance of the country. In order to convince the population that "peace before elections" was a viable proposition, and in order to demonstrate to the RUF that the junta was sincere about its desire to bring the rebels into the Government, the NPRC organized a hastily arranged peace meeting with the RUF in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast just before the date of the elections and the continuation of the meeting was adjourned to a date after the stated date for the elections.
(d) Again in order to prove its point that elections could not be held successfully before peace was achieved, the junta orchestrated acts of terror and intimidation of the e.ectorate in several parts of the country just before and during the conduct of the elections so as to cow the population down to give up the idea of holding or continuing with the elections. Of course, the prospect held out to the RUF by the military junta that the RUF had better chances of participating in government if the junta remained in office and elections postponed further heightened the expectation of the rebels of actually taking over the entire government, having regard to their successes over the military and the internal weaknesses in the military itself. In spite of all these, and because of the resolve and determination of the population, the elections were held in February/March, 1996 and I became President of Sierra Leone as a result.

MY IMMEDIATE CONCERNS ON ASSUMPTION OF OFFICE AS PRESIDENT
15. On assuming office, I was quite clear in my mind as to what needed to be done immediately:

(a) I was anxious to fulfil my election promise to end the war and to restore peace to this country. This was a near obsession for me not just because it was a political undertaking which I had made but also because I was conscious that the country needed peace, and the population was war weary and was yearning for peace. I knew that the loyalty of the military or of what remained of it could not be guaranteed to prosecute the war against the rebels successfully; I was determined to bring to an end the long fratricidal war in order to prevent the further killings of Sierra Leoneans by Sierra Leoneans on either side. The only option 1 saw available to me then was to embark on negotiations with the rebels. -This I did immediately after my inauguration. The opportunity for my first meeting with the RUF was afforded by their continued presence in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, waiting for the adjourned meeting with the junta leaders there.
(b) I knew that I had to convince the RUF that in spite of their misgivings, their situation would be better by their agreeing to negotiate peace with me than with the military junta as I was the elected leader and representative of the people of Sierra Leone and therefore the only person with authority to negotiate peace terms then agreeable to the people of Sierra Leone. Of course, the initial reaction of the RUF and their reception of me was hostile as they regarded me as a stumbling block. They thought
I and the other politicians had insisted on the holding of the elections as a deliberate device to frustrate their ambition of participating in the government and eventually their taking over - a prospect which they considered as real if the junta had remained in office and the elections had been postponed under the slogan "peace before elections". In the view of the RUF, my Government would use the Constitution, constitutional arguments and the issues of legality to frustrate their ambition. Therefore, only very grudgingly did they agree with me on an initial shaky cease-fire in anticipation of full-scale peace- talks between them and my Government.
(c) I knew I had to extract from the military or whatever had remained of it some element of loyalty for my Government and a sense of Patriotism. This was necessary because I needed their loyalty and support in any event. I never deceived myself that this was an easily achievable enterprise, but it was an enterprise I had to embark upon. I therefore appointed the leadership of the Army with due diligence and after consultations and advice from appropriate sources.
(d) While pursuing the peace process, I was also aware that the people were anxious not only to have peace but also to begin to realize concrete dividends from the restoration of a democratic government which they had obtained, after much toil and suffering. Therefore, my Government from its inception had pursued the search for peace and at the same time embarked upon measures for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of this war-torn country and its economy. Because of my relative success with this two-pronged approach, I was able to retain the patience of the population and their cooperation and support as they demonstrated at the elections of 2002.

The Peace Process in Sierra Leone
16. It will be useful to discuss at this juncture, the process which I refer to here as the Peace Process covering the period April, 1996 to January, 2002. This was a most crucial period in the history of this country. It marked the heightened atrocities of the rebels which threatened the very survival of' the nation, the attempts by my Government to bring an end to the war, the initial indifference of the international community to the plight and suffering of the people of Sierra Leone until so many lives were lost and property destroyed, the valiant determination of the people not only to rid themselves of the scourge of the rebel war but to restore their dignity and to determine their own future in a democratic manner and finally the realization of the international
    
The Abidjan Accord 1996
17. As already stated, my Government had just been elected in March, 1996. Just after this, we rushed into negotiations with the RUF. We took this step with the knowledge that the only way of bringing the war to an end was by negotiated settlement. We were aware of the problem relating to the questionable loyalty of the military to my civilian government that had just succeeded a military regime. I was elected President against the background of the heightened expectation of the RUF of actually taking over the entire country because of the successes they had already achieved in battle. Their manifest hostility to my Government which by insisting on "elections before peace" had caused them a sense of frustration was therefore explicable even though not justifiable. All these weakened the bargaining position of my Government when it entered the Abidjan Peace Talks with the RUF rebels in 1996. However, a Peace Agreement was concluded in spite of the acrimony engendered by the rebels during the negotiations.    The key elements in that Agreement worth mentioning here were -

(i) The total and immediate cessation of hostilities;
(ii) The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of all combatants;
(iii) The disbandment and withdrawal from the country of all mercenaries;
(iv) The provision of an amnesty for the rebels;
(v) The establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
(vi) The establishment of a Commission for the Consolidation of the Peace with far reaching responsibilities for ensuring that the peace agreed in that Accord was sustained.

18. The people of Sierra Leone wholeheartedly welcomed the signing of this Agreement and there was nationwide jubilation as they regarded it as the end of their woes and suffering and that it would restore lasting peace to the country. It soon turned out that the people and my Government had in fact been deceived by the RUF. A message from Foday Sankoh to Sam Bockarie alias Maskita which was intercepted by the Government only days after the signing of the Agreement, clearly showed that the RUF did not enter the peace negotiations in good faith and had no desire to abide by the terms of the resulting Peace Agreement. In that message, Foday Sankoh had communicated with his Field Commander, Sam Bockarie, alias Maskita, that he had agreed to participate in the negotiations and to sign the Peace Agreement only as a pretext to relieve himself of the pressure of the international community; that he never intended to abide by its terms. In the same message. he ordered his commanders to resume hostilities even with greater force. Indeed the ceasefire which then prevailed was unilaterally broken by the RUF immediately after the signing of the Agreement, a clear indication that the Abidjan Agreernent was doomed to fail.

19. Another matter by which Foday Sankoh demonstrated his insincerity in relation to the Abidjan Agreement was his refusal on the very day of the signing of the Agreement to append his signature to a document prepared and signed by me which needed to be mutually signed personally by him and by me to authorize the deployment of 90 UN Peace Keepers in Sierra Leone to monitor the observance of the ceasefire. The signing of that document by both of us was a precondition for such deployment. Sankoh had never agreed to sign that document. Thus, no peacekeepers came to Sierra Leone to observe the maintenance or otherwise of the ceasefire under that Agreement which was violated at will and in every respect by the RUF.

20. My Government however took measures immediately after the signing of the Abidjan Accord to implement all the obligations which on its part it had to implement under that Agreement, in particular those it could implement without needing the cooperation of the RUF to do so. Thus, I proclaimed and caused the granting of an amnesty to all the rebels to be gazetted; my Government terminated the contract entered into by the previous military regime with a mercenary South African security outfit, Executive Outcomes. I myself in principle detest the idea of mercenaries. But in the circumstances which then prevailed and to which I succeeded, the Executive Outcomes was the only credible and dependable military outfit opposing the rebels. It had held them at bay or at least successfully delayed their overrunning the entire country up to the date of the signing of the Abidjan Accord. There was therefore popular outcry that that outfit was to remain in Sierra Leone at least for a while. But because of the persistent demand of the RUF that they would sign the Abidjan Accord only if it contained a provision for the termination of the contract of the Executive Outcomes, I yielded to their demand in spite of the popular opposition and the heavy financial consequences that followed from the wrongful and premature termination of that contract. My Government is still paying the damages which followed from such termination. But my yielding to the demand of the RUF in this respect was dictated by my eagerness to produce an early negotiated settlement of the war and a speedy restoration of peace to enable my new Government to embark on the rehabilitation of the people and the economy, and the reconstruction of the extensively damaged infrastructure of the country and on meaningful development. But alas! The real motive of the RUF for their demand for the exit of the Executive Outcomes as it turned out was to facilitate their taking over of the whole country, as with this outfit gone, there remained no credible and dependable military force to oppose and resist their advance.

21. My Government was also able to persuade the international community to prevail on the RUF to nominate its representatives to the Commission for the Consolidation of the Peace. This Commission, which was to sit in Freetown, was to be made up of an equal number of representatives from the RUF and the Government with a rotating Chairman. As Foday Sankoh was still resident in Abidjan and had no intention to return to Freetown until the RUF had secured victory, the Commission was charged with the responsibility of reporting to him in Abidjan progress of their deliberations. For this reason, the entire Commission went to Abidjan early in 1997 to meet him. Foday Sankoh refused to see the members of the Commission who waited to see him for a long time. While the members of the Commission were still in Abidjan hoping to see him, Foday Sankoh left for Nigeria in March, 1997 where he was arrested for trafficking in arms. After his arrest, Sam Bockari, alias Maskita lured three of the RUF members of the Commission into a trap where they were arrested incarcerated and tortured. They.were released only in 1999 after the Lome Peace Agreement was concluded. By Foday Sankoh's refusal to see the members of the Commission in Abidjan and the subsequent arrest of its members, he had brought an end to the implementation of a very significant provision in the Abidjan Accord and thus jeopardized the success of that Accord. Again, Foday Sankoh's conduct in relation to the Commission for the Consolidation of Peace is an indication and affirmation of his initial intention as manifested in other respects, namely that he did not enter the negotiations of the Abidjan Agreement in good faith and he never wished that Agreement to succeed.

22. There were other inherent weaknesses in the Abidjan Accord itself which, on hindsight, I considered as contributing to its failure. These were in addition to the factors external to the Accord and to the real hope of the RUF of taking the entire country because of the military situation which then prevailed. In the first place, there was little or no political incentive in the Accord for the RUF to abide by the Abidjan Peace Accord. This contrasts that Accord sharply with the Lome Peace Agreement.   

Of course, the absence of any power sharing provisions in the Accord was of no great inducement, which to them would have been merely half of the loaf. They already had firmly within their grip, or at least they thought, more than half of the loaf. The remainder of the loaf was attainable with ease. Thus they did not seriously demand or make power sharing or political incentives a pre-condition for signing the Accord. To the credit of the RUF however, same attempts were made at making some social demands, for example, free education for all, of course, without consideration to the devastated state of the country's economy at the time, all due to them. Secondly, there was also a minimal provision for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration without any specific source of funding referred to, which meant that the average fighter within the RUF's movement was unlikely to receive any form of monetary payment and would hardly be able to show anything for the years of fighting he had been engaged in. Thirdly, unlike the Lome Peace Agreement, the Abidjan Accord did not provide for a definite time scale for the implementation of its provisions except in the case of the Government which had to do certain things within a rigid time period, for example, to abrogate the agreement with the Executive Outcomes within a month of the signing of the Accord. Fourthly, most of the obligations under the Abidjan Accord were imposed on the Government. Besides the obligation to cease hostilities and a few others, the RUF was not required to do anything or anything within a specific time frame.

23. Thus, as a result of the provisions in the Abidjan Accord, while the Government was dismantling its meager remaining security and defence outfit and structures, the RUF was consolidating its own, making further penetration into the country and further strengthening its alliance with the members of the Sierra Leone Military Forces. Existence of this alliance became apparent when the coup d'etat of the 25th May, 1997 occurred. The rapidity  with which the makers of that coup invited the RUF to participate with them in the coup and the equal rapidity of the positive response of the RUF to that invitation and their presence in Freetown and other towns which they had not been able to penetrate earlier are all clear manifestations of the existence of such alliance long before the date of the coup.

THE INITIAL INDIFFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO THE PLIGHT OF SIERRA LEONE
24. For some years the war in Sierra Leone was treated as a localized conflict which did not deserve international attention or even indirect intervention. This was the position up to the time I assumed power in 1996. I made several requests for international assistance to strengthen the capacity of the security forces especially in the areas of intelligence gathering and training but to these requests I either received a flat refusal or where there was some positive response, the assistance given was too paltry to make any significant impact-. I give here some instances of the way in which the international community initially reacted to my requests for assistance and the dire need we then had to build up a dependable intelligence network.

(a) After the signing of the Abidjan Accord in 1996 and when it became apparent to me that the RUF was not going to comply with the terms of that Accord, I started thinking of other ideas of beefing up the security of the country. My initial approach was to the Americans to assist us with weapons, as our armoury was empty. The rebuff I had from my request was that the United States Government would not as a matter of policy provide to a third world country aid which might turnout to be lethal.
(b) I then requested the Americans and the British to assist us with the training of our soldiers at the Benguema Training Centre. The  response was to send five soldiers, two Americans and three British. The highest rank of them was that of a Sergeant. In the course of the training at Benguema there was a report of a rebel attack at Kabala. I ordered the deployment of some soldiers who were then being trained by the British and Americans to Kabala to deal with that attack. These soldiers mutinied instead of complying with my orders as their Commander-in-Chief. The reaction of the American and British training team to this situation was to leave the country without even saying goodbye.
(c) A real handicap which my Government faced after the Abidjan Accord which again had adverse effect on the security situation in the country, was not only the absence of a dependable system of gathering intelligence, but the failure by the security forces to provide my Government with reliable and credible intelligence which would form a proper basis for the Government to make policies or take actions relating to the security of the country. When they gave intelligence reports such reports were full of contradictions, deliberate falsehoods and deceptions, all aimed at misleading my Government into believing that the army, in relation to the conduct of the war, was on top of the situation. Sometimes, I would receive at the same time two intelligence reports about the same situation or incident which were so diametrically opposed to each other that I was unable to act on either of them.

At one time I received an intelligence report that the rebels were preparing an attack on Pujehun and within moments I received another report that the rebels were leaving Pujehun to attack Kailahun. In that situation I would not decide whether I was to order the defence of Pujehun or of Kailahun.

(ii) On a number of occasions the army Chief and his men brought to me information about a successful military campaign by them which resulted in the routing or dislocation of the enemy and seizure of destruction of its logistics including even the killing of known rebel commanders. Such a false account was given to me in relation to a purported attack of government troops on a rebel camp in the provinces. In the report it was alleged that that camp was wholly destroyed, a large number of rebels including their commander, Superman, was killed. A photograph of a charred bed alleged to have been that of Superman was produced to me as proof of the truth of the contents of that report. Superman was one of the most hated of the rebel commanders as he was notorious for his unrelenting propensity to cause mayhem and carnage on the civilian population. As it turned out, the report was wholly untrue. The particular camp was never attacked by Government troops and it remained intact long after the Lome Peace Agreement in 1999. Superman himself remained alive for a long time after that report and he perished only in a brawl that ensued later within the ranks of the rebels themselves.

(iii) In the attempt of the security forces to furnish me with false intelligence reports, I had the experience of listening in the military network to a conversation between two military officers one giving a glowing account of a very successful exploit by the Government troops against the rebels. This conversation became the subject of a Situation Report (Sitrep), which was presented to me in order to give the impression that the military's conduct of the war against the rebels deserved to be commended. It turned out that the contents of that Sitrep did not bear any reality to any event at all, but that the two officers who were in conversation were each in different rooms of State House.

(iv) When I received from members of the public information relating to security matters, the only means I had for checking on the status of such information was to refer it to the existing security outfit for investigation. I had no means of verifying the accuracy of whatever findings on that information that was reported to me.

As a result of this appalling lack of dependable means for me to be furnished with credible and truthful intelligence, I sought from the United Kingdom Government, assistance in this area. My request was turned down on the grounds that to assist an African Government in the area of intelligence would amount to assisting that Government to -entrench itself and to resist any regime change. Because of this latter rebuff, my Government increasingly turned for assistance in this area and other areas to our ECOWAS neighbours, principally Nigeria, and then Guinea and others.

The military coup of May, 1997
25. On my taking up office as President in 1996 thereby succeeding a military junta, the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) I was bequeathed with a security outfit which had been politicized for years as I have already mentioned and which regarded itself as having loyalty not to the Government of the day but to the only political class which they had known over the years and to which they had related. The one thing the NRPC coup of 1992 did was to bring an end to that political hegemony and to prevent it from perpetuating itself further. But the ill effect of that coup, like all others, was to entrench the military in government in this case for a period of four years. In this situation, even when the leadership of the NPRC appeared to have given up power on the assumption of office of my civilian Government in 1996 there still remained in the military in both senior and junior ranks, elements who had tasted power and what they considered as the perquisites of power. They were not prepared to give these up lightly and become loyal to my civilian Government. These were, for instance, personal bodyguards, drivers and batmen of the NPRC Secretaries of State. Such lackeys, because of the positions occupied by their patrons were able to amass a lot of ill-gotten wealth by their extortion and intimidation of the civilian population who held such soldiers in awe. The fear of their losing their undeserved privileges and of an end of the opportunities they had for amassing more-wealth illegally was one main reason for their unwillingness to accept the changes from a military regime to civilian rule.

26. In addition to their continued active collaboration with the rebels, they attempted a number of coups d'etat, which were foiled. One such coup plot involving an acting Major Johnny Paul Koroma was unearthed early in 1997. In order to produce a thorough and objective investigation into the allegations relating to that plot I requested the Government of Nigeria to assist my Government by the provision of experienced Nigerian investigators. As a result of those investigations Major Johnny Paul Koroma and a number of junior military officers were charged with treason. In this case, even though all the accused persons were military men and therefore liable to be tried by courtmartial, they were all indicted in a civilian court. The trial was in progress when the AFRC coup occurred in May, 1997. The prisons were broken into and the accused persons were released. Major Johnny Paul Koroma became the leader and Chairman of the junta. I and my Government then went into exile in Guinea from where we operated. The entire Sierra Leone populace and the international community totally rejected that coup, refused to cooperate with the junta, and demanded the immediate and unconditional restoration of my civilian government.

27. Because of the refusal of the AFRC (which was now in formal league with the RUF) to relinquish power and the uncompromising insistence of the people of the country and the international community on the restoration of my civilian government, it became necessary for ECOWAS to device an exit strategy for the AFRC. This became the Conakry Peace Plan of November, 1997. By this plan, the AFRC/RUF were to take measures one after another to dismantle their outfit with a view of restoring my Government back in Sierra Leone within six months of the conclusion of the Plan. Of course, the AFRC/ RUF failed to comply and this resulted in the military intervention by ECOMOG in February, 1998, the ousting of that military junta and the eventual restoration of my Government in Freetown.

28. It needs to be stated that my Government was not a party to the Conakry Peace Plan of 1997. It only had an observer status at the talks that resulted in that Plan. My Government did not wish to compromise its constitutional credentials by entering into a dialogue with the AFRC/RUF on the status of that junta on which it did not at all wish to confer even de facto legality. Again, the issue of power sharing between my Government and the AFRC/RUF junta or for that matter any other entity appeared for the first time in the Conakry Peace Plan.

The Lome Peace Agreement 1999
29. During the intervention by ECOMOG in February, 1998, a number of the senior cadre of the AFRC/RUF junta and their men escaped arrest and sought refuge in the jungle. There they regrouped in readiness to make a comeback. They intensified their activities predominantly in the diamond mining areas. Thus, they were able to mine diamonds which they exchanged cheaply for weapons with which they armed themselves to the teeth. The concentration of ECOMOG was mainly in the large towns. The AFRC/RUF' were able to move through the jungle into Freetown. It was the invasion of the Capital City of Freetown and the slaughtering of thousands of civilians which, for the first time, awakened genuine international awareness to the plight of the civilian population. That incursion was remarkable because of the speed with which it almost engulfed the city and by the level of the mayhem and destruction which resulted from it.

30. The outcome of that incursion was the dire need for the acceleration of the peace process. In collaboration with ECOWAS, the international community was now willing to intervene, at least diplomatically, and they together with the Government were now determined to find a workable and lasting solution to the rebel menace in this country. This led to the commencement of the dialogue which resulted in the Lome Peace Agreement of 1999. The initial stage for the dialogue was set when I was invited to Lome to sign a Ceasefire Agreement with the RUF Leader, Foday Sankoh in March, 1999. I did this amidst a lot of misgivings from the people of Sierra Leone. From the bitter experience they had had regarding Foday Sankoh's attitude to the Abidjan Peace Accord they on the one hand, preferred an all out war against the rebels and an attainment of peace by their defeat in battle. I on the other, was aware of the handicaps and limitations of the Government to proceed that way. I was also aware of the pending restoration of a democratically elected Government in Nigeria as a result of which the continued stay of the Nigerian contingent in ECOMOG in Sierra Leone, which was by far the largest, could not be guaranteed. Thus I chose the path of dialogue, but this time, careful to avoid the pitfalls and weaknesses in the Abidjan Peace Accord.

31. In my opinion, there is  the need to state here why a new Peace Agreement was necessary in order to reactivate the Peace Process; why we did not just resurrect the Abidjan Peace Accord, which after all had never been abrogated.  It was even reaffirmed in the Lome Agreement itself. The most important element now was the AFRC factor, which was not present in the Abidjan Peace Accord. There was also the emergence of a new portent force, the Civil Defence Forces to which too recognition had to be given in any new arrangement. Thus, the objective aimed to be achieved by a new peace agreement could not be achieved by merely effecting a patchwork to the Abidjan Peace Accord.

Reasons for the Relative Success of the Lome Peace Agreement 1999
32. Although a number of terms in the Abidjan Peace Accord were imported into the Lome Peace Agreement, there were additional key factors on the ground and in the latter Agreement itself that led to its success.

(a) There was then a robust presence of ECOMOG on the ground which was given a role in the monitoring of the implementation and observance of the terms of the Agreement. ECOMOG, unlike the Sierra Leone army had already demonstrated their ability and willingness to successfully confront the AFRC/RUF.
(b) There were above all else the power sharing provisions in the Lome Agreement. These included Cabinet, Deputy, Ministerial, Ambassadorial positions and Directorships in Parastatals.
(c) There was the appointment of the RUF Leader as Chairman of the newly provided-for Commission for the Management of Strategic Mineral Resources plus status equivalent to Vice-President.
(d) Extensive provisions were made for the payment of all sorts of fees and allowances to the rank and file of the RUF in exchange for their participation in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.
(e) There were numerous provisions in the Agreement itself committing the international community to the funding or assisting in the funding of a number of the activities or institutions established by the Agreement.

33. All these offers and provisions in that Agreement proved too tantalizing for the AFRC/RUF to refuse. It was these new provisions which finally tilted the balance in favour of the peace process. The benefits of all those offers had to be enjoyed in Sierra Leone and they could not be enjoyed by a person still engaged in war against the Government. Thus the disarmament proceeded steadily.

34. Another matter which assisted the implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement was the fact that activities that were provided for in the Agreement had to be performed within stated time periods.

Further, that Agreement like the Abidjan Accord, also conferred on the members of the AFRC/RUF a blanket amnesty for all their wrong doings up to the date of the Agreement.

35. To the average Sierra Leonean, the terms of the Lome Agreement were like a bitter pill they were asked to swallow. It was like the case of the perpetrators being richly rewarded whilst the poor victims received nothing at all and were further required in the name of reconciliation to forgive and forget. Had it not been for the events of May 8, 2000 the members of the AFRC/RUF would most likely still be enjoying the benefits of the provisions of the Lome Peace Agreement. But fortutuously as it turned out, the temptation arose within the ranks of the AFRC/RUF to continuously breach the terms of the Agreement. In the process, they articulated one of the weaknesses inherent in the Agreement which was that in the absence of any provision vis-a-vis accountability and particularly because of the blanket amnesty the attitude of the rank and file of the members of the AFRC/RUF was that they could continue to commit further atrocities without being held to account. We had resisted the persuasion of the international community for the exclusion of war crimes, crimes against humanity and against international humanitarian law from the applicability of the amnesty provision in the Lome Agreement. We did this deliberately. We realized that limiting the operation of the amnesty provisions would give a justification to the AFRC/RUF for refusing to sign that Agreement and for the resumption of hostilities in the country. Thus, we put beyond the ability and outside the jurisdiction of our domestic courts power over the prosecution of crimes committed before the signing of the Lome Agreement since the amnesty granted amount to a constitutional bar to any form of prosecution in our domestic courts in respect of the offences amnestied. Further, there was no provision in the Agreement that was to act as a deterrent against the resumption of'hostilities on the part of the AFRC/RUF. This led to numerous occasions of violent acts by individual members of AFRC/RUF particularly in the provinces - all in the belief that those acts would go unpunished. Thus, the threat of the AFRC/RUF resuming hostilities was always hanging like the sword of Damocles over the heads of Sierra Leoneans.

36. Indeed, both the Abidjan Peace Accord and the Lome Peace Agreement provided for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and obviously since the Commission would not have powers to punish, the AFRC/RUF willingly agreed to its inclusion in the Agreement. Again even long before the enactment of the legislation for the establishment of the TRC, I had myself embarked upon a nationwide campaign to urge reconciliation and forgiveness as I regarded this as a most important element for the sustenance of the peace. I had also urged my Ministers and other Government officials and functionaries to take advantage of their private or public discussions with members of the public to do the same. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act, 2000 was promulgated, I established a committee comprising some key Ministers and RUF members to tour the provinces together to urge reconciliation and reintegration of ex-combatants in their communities of origin.

37. But alas! The insincerity of the AFRC/RUF both in negotiating and adhering to the Peace Agreements had been abundantly manifested by the 8th of May, 2000. Although they were anxious to receive and utilize all the benefits and privileges accorded them under the Lome Peace Agreement, they certainly were not interested in the burdens thereunder, nor did they consider themselves bound by that Agreement in so far as it imposed any obligations on them. Unfortunately, they could not and did not avail themselves of the benefits without fulfilling their own obligations since there were no conditions precedent to be fulfilled by them, nor were these benefits tied up reciprocally to any obligations on their part. Rather, most of the Government's obligations were to be performed within the context of a strict time frame regardless of non-performance on the part of the AFRC/RUF. It was therefore inevitable that the harassed, brutalized and dehumanized citizens of Sierra Leone would finally rise against the excesses of the AFRC/RUF which were in flagrant violation of what the people considered as the final peace settlement in the form of the Lome Peace Agreement. The people organized a peaceful demonstration and marched on the residence of Foday Sankoh, the rebel leader, to insist on his observing the terms of the Agreement and to refrain from continuing with activities which obviously threatened the peace, activities such as the continued taking as hostages of UN Peace Keepers and the persistent laying of ambushes on the highways for unsuspecting civilian travellers. His response to this peaceful demonstration was the cold-blooded murder of 21 of the demonstrators.

38. It was as a direct result of the events that led up to and inclusive of the incidence of the 8th May, 2000 that my Government realised the insistence of the international community that there was a need to introduce some form of accountability mechanism and, an avenue for the punishment of the perpetrators of the war crimes and other crimes. The Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General had, during the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement, expressly reserved the right of the international community not to be bound by the amnesty provision in respect of flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes. This belated realization of my Government resulted in an agreement with the United Nations in January, 2001 for the setting up of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Civil Defence Force
39. At this point I consider it necessary to give a brief account of the Civil Defence Force as this outfit played a very significant role in the peace process. The promotion of reconciliation and national reintegration will be incomplete without their participation and cooperation in the process. At a particular point they were perceived as and became the embodiment of the collective will and determination of the population to resist the combined forces of the RUF rebels, AFRC and all other forces opposed to the legitimate regime of this country. For this reason it is important to include in this presentation a historical account of the CDF, how this institution evolved, the role it played and its relationship with the military forces.

40. Quite early after the RUF incursion into Sierra Leone in 1991 many able-bodied men volunteered to assist the Sierra Leone army in diverse ways in the prosecution of the war within their localities. Some of this assistance included providing information, guides and porter services in terrains in which they were obviously more familiar with. Some of the much younger volunteers had even become adopted members (so to speak) of some military units as they provided food, shelter and clothing and traveled with them virtually everywhere they went. The more adventurous of the volunteers were even encouraged to carry out more challenging tasks including penetrating behind rebel lines. Sometimes they were given weapons for such missions.

41. Before long, these volunteers, now named vigilantes, increasingly became casualties. Their numbers had increased many times and in most units they almost outnumbered the military personnel. This situation on many occasions interfered or impacted negatively on the performance of the forces as situations later proved. The Vigilantes at a later stage as they became more adventurous and became casualties made a collective request for their lot to be issued with weapons. In response to this request they were issued with MK 4 rifles and a substantial amount of ammunition. This practice heralded the proliferation of arms in the Eastern and Southern Sierra Leone for the most part of 1991 and 1992.

42. Gradually the demands of the Vigilantes increased in types, quantities and quality of the equipment they asked for. In addition to the stores supplied, the Military was to start receiving subsidies to formally provide rations for the Vigilantes. The level of such provisions and rations will be given below. Control of many of the Vigilante groups became very difficult for most units. It was reported then that many of the Vigilantes had been engaged in reprisal killings of their people as they avenged the brutal killings and burning of their family houses by rebels believed to have been aided by rival towns mates. Also reported was collusion between the rebels and some units of the military. This explains the lack of trust by the CDF of the military much later in the conflict.

43. By 1992 when the NPRC overthrew the APC government, perhaps the most organized of the Vigilante groups was the TAMABORO group from Koinadugu District. They were drawn from local hunters in the district and were believed to have supernatural powers, like many other groups that were formed long after. Some of these powers were widely accepted to have been demonstrated in many attacks the Tamaboro group led. Before long, however, the Tamaboro group became disillusioned as they complained they were unfavourably treated as compared to the Vigilantes located with the military forces deployed in the Eastern and Southern Provinces. Twice between 1992 and 1994 the Tamaboros were asked to return their weapons and return home.

44. With the increased demands of the Vigilantes and the need for them to have some formal military training, a few hundreds of them in the Eastern and Southern Provinces were selected and absorbed as Border Guards (BGs) and allocated military-style identification numbers. These Border Guards received their initial training within the units around which they were recruited. At the completion of their training, they were paid monthly allowances. By this time, the Border Guards could use about every type of weapon the soldiers were using.

45. Additional intakes or absorption of the Vigilantes or Border Guards were made and within the first three years of the war their numerical strength had almost equaled that of the regular army. At this point the distrust between the military and the Vigilantes/ Border Guards was mounting. The Vigilantes perceived some of the regular forces as colluding with the RUF rebels to attack their villages, kill their relations and destroy their properties.

46. By 1992 when the NPRC announced formally that Vigilante groups were to be formed in every locality, there were already many such groupings in many parts in the South and East working closely with the military. As the conflict moved to the North more Vigilante groups were formed in Port Loko, Bombali and Tonkolili Districts. These regional groupings developed later in the GBETHIS and KAPRAS in Temne areas in the North, and Tamaboro (reactivated) in Koinadugu and DONSOS in the Kono District. By far the largest grouping was the KAMAJORS, which drew its membership from the large Vigilante groups already existing in most of the Eastern and Southern Provinces. The Vigilante groups came to be referred to collectively as the Civil Defence Force (CDF).

47. The Kamajors were more cohesive and enjoyed the support of large numbers of sons and daughters both locally and in the Diaspora. Many had rightly assessed and experienced that the greatest destruction of human and material resources had taken place in their own homelands by that time. Other motivating factors included the frustration over the less-than desired efforts demonstrated by the military already perceived to be an extension of the already overthrown APC - hence their invigorating determination to provide their own defence. So, by the time the 1996 elections drew nearer and the established support demonstrated by the potential winning SLPP, the Kamajors and by extension the other CDF elements enjoyed considerable support not limited to their individual base areas. The people had then developed a collective and nationalistic faith in their resolve to take the defence of their country and their livelihood with or without their armed forces. The CDF symbolised that determination.

48. The CDF continued to play significant roles in providing the necessary leverage at critical stages for Government to tilt the scale to its favour - first against the RUF and on many occasions against the combined forces of the RUF and AFRC. For this reason, the CDF became a household name as the people embraced it as the viable option. They provided the leverage at the 1996 elections; they were the vanguard of the ECOMOG-led force that countered the AFRC/RUF junta; they provided the leverage when the RUF misbehaved again and again - notably during the May 8, 2000 problem; they helped to send a clear message to all renegades that the people meant to realize the peace promised by my Presidency sooner rather than later, by the end of 2000. At the end of their voluntary service they gracefully disarmed, demobilized and most have since returned to their respective homes. Those who opted to go through the Military Reintegration Programme and were successful are now proud members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). Others still have been trained or are being trained in preparation for their reintegration into profitable civilian life.

49. It needs to be stated here that the role played by the CDF was at considerable cost to the Government. The numerical strength of the CDF nationwide was, towards the end of the war, given as 8,600 men.

The following expenditure on the CDF excluding cost of arms and ammunition for the Financial Year 2001 gives an idea of the financial burden the Government necessarily carried:

Ration: (rice):
5,160 bags @ Le28,000.00 per bag. That is, Le'.44,480,000.00 per month or-Le733,760,000.00 per annum

Condiments:   
Le400 per person for 30 days. That is, Le103,200,000.00 per month or-Le1,238,400,000.00 per annum

Other Expenditures: (transportation, fuel etc.)
Le753,418,491.36.00 per annum.

These figures show that the Government's total expenditure on the CDF for the Financial Year 2001 was Le3,725,578,491.36 (Three billion, seven hundred and twenty-five million, five hundred and seventy-eight thousand, four hundred and ninety-one leones and thirty-six cents).

Expenditure on the RSLAF for the Financial Year 2001:
The expenditure on an estimated 15,000 men in the RSLAF in the Financial Year 2001 is given below. Again, these figures exclude salaries and allowances and the cost of arms and ammunition. The expenditure on the RSLAF for the same. period was:

(i) Diets-Rice: 7,000 bags @ Le 29,000.00 per bag Le2,436,000,000.00.
(ii) Cash Ration Condiments: Le600.00 per soldier per day for 30 days-Le279,000,000.00 but government approved, only Le270,000,000.00 per month.
(iii) Standing Monthly Imprest to Joint Support Command for Unclassified expenditure-Le100,000.000.00.
(iv) Medical Imprest-Le50,000,000.00 monthly to Director, Forces Medical services for the procurement of medical items for the Military not provided in the drugs contract.
(v) Imprest for CDS-Le5,000,000.00 monthly.
(vi) Drugs-Le100,000,000.00 monthly.
(vii) Other Hospital equipment-Le2,914,387,692.00 monthly.
(viii) Fuel and Lubricants-Le2,782,978,767.00 monthly.
(ix) Support and Attack Helicopter Contract-Le5,475,387,692.00 per annum.    .
(x) Spares for vehicles etc.-Le1,039,357,950.00.
(xi) Building Materials and related expenses for maintenance of military properties and buildings-Le 1,177,825,978.00.
(xii) Stationery, Office equipment and furniture-Le 1,015,476,427.00.
(xiii) Utility Bills-700,880,127.00.
(xiv) Travelling overseas and Intelligence    gathering Le1,552,352,667.00.
(xv) G1098 Stores-Le 1199820,550.00.
(xvi) Payment to Freetown Funeral Service s-Le 17,58 5, 000. 00. (xvii) Rents and Compensations-Le302,669,540.00.
(xviii) Refund to Social Security Fund for Rice-Le922,040,000.00.
(xix) Ferry Crossing-Le 68,799,300.00.

Total expenditure on the RSLAF for the year 2001 was Le25,625,561,690 (twenty-five billion, six hundred and twenty-five million five hundred and sixty-one thousand six hundred and ninety Leones).

50. The logistics support and the disbursement of the funds to the CDF was through their National Civil Coordinator, with whom their administration and supervision lay. The funds were provided direct from the Ministry of Finance through the Ministry of Defence.

51. As President, I did not and could not have interfered in the operations or the internal organization of the CDF as I was not a member of the Society to which all the members of the CDF had to belong and which created a bond among them. My role was confined to ensuring that Government provided the required funds and logistics and to insisting that the membership of the CDF was contented, motivated enough to perform their security roles.

The Special Task Force
52. Another group which I came to know about much later as part of the security units utilized by the military, was the "Special Task Force". I was never briefed about this when I assumed office as President in 1996. I knew about the existence of this unit only on the day of the AFRC coup d'etat. Yet the army without regard for the origin and true motive of the members of this group had used them regularly and depended on them considerably.

53. It is important for this Commission to be told of the role played by this unit in thwarting our peace efforts. It is an instance of the reckless regard with which our national army treated the security of the country.

54. The SPECIAL TASK FORCE was a grouping of mainly Liberian militia personnel who survived the several internal power struggles that characterized the initial coalition force put together to counter Charles Taylor's NPFL forces in Liberia.

55. By late 1990 when the Liberian war had reached the outskirts of Monrovia, the refugee flow into Sierra Leone had reached its highest peak. Among these refugees were a substantial number of remnants of the late President Samuel Doe's Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and Liberia Police Force personnel who had fled the fighting. Their common objective was to regroup and return to Liberia to continue their resistance against Charles Taylor's N P F L. This group included a number of influential Liberians who were supporters of the late Samuel Doe's regime. This new alliance was received by the APC, Government and allowed to remain in the country, and a special relationship developed between them and the Government. Gradually and predictably these Liberians requested for support from the Government, initially by way of better accommodation facilities for their leaders and then financial support. When the RUF incursion occurred in Sierra Leone in March, 1991 the then APC Government yielded to their demand to be supplied with weapons which they could use to stave off the Charles Taylor inspired incursion. By this time, they had developed independent ambitions of their own, namely to use the weapons supplied them by the APC Government to invade Liberia and halt the rapid advances of Charles Taylor. Thus instead of utilizing the weapons supplied them in the defence of this country they hid them and always came back demanding more weapons for more military operations, many of which were only stage-managed.

56. Eventually, the unit of Liberian dissidents and refugees in Sierra Leone was named ULIMO with Roosevelt Johnson as their field commander. Again the new structure was fraught with intrigues amongst the various tribal groups notably KHRANS and MADINGOS.    A split occurred, Alhaji Koroma spearheaded a splinter group - ULIMO K backed by Madingo financiers based in Kenema (and some key Guinean top officials). The other group holding allegiance to Roosevelt Johnson became the ULIMO J faction.

57. When the NPRC Government took over in 1992 ULIMO did not take long to support the overthrow of the APC Government. Efforts by the ousted APC regime to get them to mobilise against the NPRC did not yield much. Again, at that stage ULIMO used the opportunity to acquire more weapons and other logistical support. They joined the new regime as they now saw a better future in the perceived-to-be more youthful NPRC.

58. The NPRC inherited from the APC regime the problem of ULIMO, but it too never settled it or attempted to settle it. All it did was to insist on the dropping of the "J" and "K" from the names of the two factions and to collectively rename them SPECIAL TASK FORCE (STF). The Special Task Force was then almost incorporated into the Sierra Leone Army and they received salaries, allowances and their supplies were regularly replenished. The two leaders of the ULIMO K and ULIMO J factions, Alhaji Koroma and General Johnson respectively later became members of the interim Government of Liberia headed by Charles Taylor. Brigadier David Livingston Bropleli eventually became the new head of the Special Task Force.

59. The Special Task Force had its own command line separate from that of the Sierra Leone Army. Their personnel were attached to the army units throughout the country. For many operations, however, the Special Task Force elements in the units were regrouped into one large unit. There was a general understanding that the Special Task Force were experienced in jungle warfare and could match the RUF in the brutal manner in which they handled their troops-and hence their perceived effectiveness in jungle fighting compared to the troops of the Sierra Leone Army.

60. My Government inherited the STF, but I had not known of the existence of this outfit within the security apparatus as no one briefed me about its existence. Incidentally this situation was no different from the military's about my persistent requests to know more about the military itself especially in such crucial matters as the strength of the military. There was no other means by which I could source such information. But as the war was still waging I allowed the status quo to continue while my Government continued to provide funds, rations and other logistics as demanded by the military.

61. I first knew of the existence of the Special Task Force as part of our security apparatus on the 25th May, 1997, the day of the AFRC coup. While I was listening to the military network, I heard the then Chief of Defence Staff of the Sierra Leone military, ordering the Special Task Force to move and engage the disloyal troops so as to foil the incipient coup. Instead of doing this, the Special Task Force moved and joined forces with the AFRC junta and together they overpowered the few remaining loyal troops. Their leader, General Bropleh was compensated by the AFRC junta when he was made adviser to Johnny Paul Koroma and given special privileges.

62. General Bropleh and his STF followers fled together with other AFRC Junta personnel when the ECOMOG-led force removed the junta from Freetown in February, 1998. Together they played an active role in all the attacks that displaced ECOMOG and Government troops in such places as Koidu, Makeni, Kamakwie and Lunsar. They supported the January 6th 1999 attack of Freetown. On the recall of all military personnel in 2000 after the granting of the amnesty in the Lome Peace Agreement 1999, the STF resurfaced with General Bropleh still at the helm of the Force. When this fact came to my knowledge I ordered the expulsion of General Bropleh and his men from Sierra Leone. He made a U-turn and was back in the country. I finally succeeded in getting him out of the country when I insisted with UNHCR that it was their responsibility to secure a safe haven for this man and that his continued stay in Sierra Leone was no longer desirable.

63. This account, I hope, gives the Commission an idea of the precarious security situation which prevailed in the country before and after my assumption of office. That situation did not arise accidentally. It was contrived without due regard for the true security of the people of this country and it was the people who became victims, of the reckless conduct of their Government.
    
CONCLUSION
64. In this Statement I have endeavoured to furnish the Commission with an account of the political experience the people of Sierra Leone went through for nearly three decades and how this adversely impacted on the security of this country. I have illustrated the consequences which flowed from the conduct of previous Governments when such conduct was not focused on or did not take into account the interest of the people arid the nation which those governments purported to serve. I have shown how a Government which is more preoccupied with its own survival is bound to embark on measures which will alienate from it the citizens who do not necessarily subscribe to its views on national issues and thereby exclude them from participation in the governance of the nation. I have further narrated the myriad of state actions which resulted in the destruction of national cohesion and in the alienation of the people whom it is now our duty to reconcile and reintegrate. Some of the matters I have narrated here are within my personal knowledge. Some have come to my knowledge from the materials I have come by, as a result of my own researches or from the accounts given to me by persons credible enough to be believed. I am aware that this Commission will be submitting its Report and Recommendations to me in due course for my consideration. Be that as it may, I now wish to bring to the attention of the Commission some of my own views and thoughts on how reconciliation can be promoted in this country and how national reintegration can better be achieved, and the steps and measures my Government has taken so far in this direction. I believe that these will not only prevent a recurrence of the horrible experiences the people of this country have gone through, but will also further promote national cohesion.
     (1)    Sierra Leone Governments should always strive to maintain peaceful relations with other countries, especially neighbouring countries. Efforts should be made at giving this country a reputation of a haven of peace where both citizens and non-citizens can live in peace. Instead of embarking on a deliberate policy of fuming conflicts and discord in neighbouring countries, our Governments should strive to make Sierra Leone a Centre for peace talks and peace settlements and the resolution of conflicts between countries and within sister countries.

     (2)    Government and all opinion formers should lead in the promotion of reconciliation and national reintegration. The effort in this regard should be real and practical. I have referred in this Statement to the practical steps my Government has taken and continues to take in this direction. I have since established the office of reconciliation and national reintegration with the former Vice-President of Sierra Leone as head. His principal role is to visit areas in the country where there may be a concentration of persons who because of their activities during the war are now afraid or reluctant to return to their original localities. His business is to reconcile those persons to their communities and facilitate their reintegration.

     (3)    Government should maintain zero tolerance for corruption. Above all, Government should avoid the use of public funds to promote partisan political causes and in order to ensure its stay in power. I have given in this Statement a glaring example of how the APC Party was intent on using public funds to prevent the holding of elections which it was sure to lose. This was an instance of blatant abuse of office and it was bound to provoke the resentment of the people.

     (4)    Government should espouse the observance of human rights by all State Organs. Every citizen should experience fairness and equality of treatment by the State. It is for this reason that my Government is contemplating the establishment of an effective human rights organization as a successor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is hoped that when established that unit will ensure the protection of the rights of the citizens even against the Government. More importantly it would be structured in such a way and given enough capacity to educate the citizens adequately on their rights under the law and also their civic obligations. I hold the view that unless the people are aware of their rights and their civic duties, they cannot insist on the observance of those rights nor can the Government properly expect them to perform their own civic obligations to the State and their community.

     (5)    Any effort whether made overtly or covertly or by any ruse by the government or President to extend its or his stay in office beyond the period provided for in the Constitution should be condemned and criminalized. We have seen in this country how Governments stage-managed demonstrations demanding the continued stay in office of a President irrespective of the Constitutional provision on the matter.

     (6)    The use of hired thugs to advance any political objective should be proscribed as a threat to the security of the State.

      (7)    All civil defence organizations shall only operate within the security system of the country. Where such organizations become necessary, they should be an integral part of the security apparatus of the country and subject to its formal command structure.

      (8)    Government should practise measures which will promote national cohesion. Thus appointments to public offices not made on merit but on the basis of regional, religious or personal affiliations can only militate against the promotion of national cohesion.

      (9)    I am aware of the cynical attitude of the people generally towards politicians.    Because of the record of politicians in this country, the attitude of the people is, with some justification even more cynical. If there is no change in the behaviour of politicians, the people will lose confidence in them. The consequence of this happening will be awful to contemplate. One way to restore the trust and confidence of the people in all those holding political offices is to convince them that they hold such offices for the purpose of serving the population and not for personal enrichment or self aggrandizement. Our catchword as politicians should be service. We need to demonstrate this in a practical way. It is for this reason that I have often described myself as the Chief Servant of the people and required all other public officers to regard themselves as servants of the people. A practical way of,our illustration of the concept of service and not personal gain is by subjecting our own salaries to the determination by a Commission comprising Civil Society and other prominent citizens, particularly those who have demonstrated the highest level of integrity in private or public life. This of course will require an adjustment of the present Constitutional position. This is to reinforce the point I have made elsewhere, namely, that unless the wealth of the nation is seen as being distributed equitably there is bound to grow jealousy and resentment by the governed against the governing class.

      (10)    I would insist that political parties should seek the mandate of the electorate in the form of clear-cut programmes, issues or manifestos presented to them for their choice and not by way of invoking regional, tribal or religious affiliations. Elections won on the basis of such affiliations would be bound to produce a government that will practise nepotism with adverse consequences to he nation. Similarly, I would urge that a culture be inculcated in our politicians for the practice of cooperating on matters which are in the national interest. It will not help if the Opposition Parties oppose government measures merely for the sake of making political points, and to do so even if in the process they mislead the public or incite them to disaffection against the Government. Both Government and Opposition have equal duty to refrain from conduct or public pronouncements which may tend to damage the image and reputation of the country; both have a duty to strive to achieve the best for the people and the country. It is for this reason that I often say that after elections, politics takes the back seat, and government, meaning the pursuing by the organs of the state of what is good for the people, takes the front seat. Our contribution to debates on national issues should be objective, frank and truthful and not divisive.

      (11)    Members of the public too have a duty to ensure that the Government and all organs of State work properly and in the public interest. It will be folly for any Government to pretend that it exclusively has the solution to all the problems facing the country. Members of the public who believe they have ideas or proposals which may influence the effective performance by Government of its functions should regard themselves as obliged to air out those ideas or proposals frankly and objectively, failing this, they stand the risk of forfeiting the right to criticize the Government's inaction in respect of those matters. The fanciful practice of condemning or blaming government for all ills in society which are within the power of the public to prevent or make good should be avoided.

    (12)    In the case of the military, I have already demonstrated that what they lacked was proper motivation and direction, and that they were made to owe loyalty not to the State, but to a particular political party or particular politicians. The politicization of the security forces deprived them of their professionalism and the proper focus on their constitutional role, namely, to guard and secure the State, to participate in national development and to protect and secure the people's achievement. The emphasis of my Government has since been to reverse this situation and to ensure that the security forces are given the motivation and direction needed to enable them to perform their assigned roles effectively and efficiently solely in the national interest and in a manner befitting the present democratic setting. By providing them with proper training, logistics and orientation, their general performance is progressively becoming commendable. Government is determined to even improve upon this. Government also regards it as its duty to care for the welfare of the security forces. In return, they too are required to perform their assigned roles and exhibit professionalism and patriotism in doing so. With this, they will regain the"respect of the entire citizenry. Favourable results are now emerging in this regard and there is marked cordial civilian/ military relationship developing. It is necessary that the depoliticisation of the security forces, and their maintenance of professionalism at all times should be promoted by Government. There is also the emergence of the new esprit de corps among the ranks of the forces. This is a positive trend which should be maintained and encouraged.
With all these, we can sustain the peace.

13. The attitude of workers in the public service and public Enterprises deserves my comment here. It is common knowledge that the average Sierra Leonean worker in the public sector does not exhibit the correct attitude to his work. He generally does not show the desired commitment especially in situations where he realizes only his legitimate income or salary. He engenders interest only when he stands to gain personally over and above his legitimate income. It is for this reason that Sierra Leqnean workers involve themselves in illegal and corrupt practices in their places of work even at the expense of the survival of the organizations for which they work. This attitude accounts for the prevalence of corruption in the public service. The effect of this is not only to demean the character of the worker but also to prevent the organization itself from fulfilling its objectives. In the end the public are not provided with the services which they are entitled to from that organization. Government is blamed- for this and there again exists another potential cause for popular discontent. Again, because of the negative attitude of Sierra Leoneans to their work, the nation loses opportunities to build wealth. Without this, better services cannot be provided for the population and the Government would be unable to pay salaries attractive enough to retain competent public officers and engage new ones in the public service. They are lost to the private sector with the result that the nation continues to plod on with unproductive, inefficient arid often corrupt officers.

14. Another matter which needs to be mentioned here is the attitude of the press in Sierra Leone. Indeed the Government fully subscribes to the freedom of the press. This is an important institution, which enhances the practice of democracy and helps in the promotion of good governance. The hallmark of a democratic society is the existence of a free press with the ability to expose the excesses of the government and of persons in authority. What is objectionable however, about the conduct of certain sections of the Sierra Leone Press is their unwarranted and unjustified attack on the personality and character of individuals. Some journalists do this without regard to the ethics that govern their profession and often for mean and malicious reasons. They write as facts what they know is untrue and without regard to the effect their publications would have on the reputation of those they write about. Such attitude does not promote reconciliation, especially in a country like ours just emerging from war. Another consequence of the practice of such unethical journalism is that it causes a number of persons of known impeccable character and reputation to shy away from public employment for fear that they would expose themselves unnecessarily and unjustifiably to the wrath of the press. A number of individuals of immense competence in particular areas of speciality have, for the same reason, turned down my offers of employment to public positions. In this way the nation has been deprived of the services of such persons.  I am in no way against the press exposing for public knowledge, the improper conduct of public officers and the bad character or reputation of an individual proposed for appointment to a public position. This will be a valuable contribution by the press to the good governance of this country. All that is needed is that the publication must be factual, true and objective and devoid of malice or ill motive. Otherwise, the press instead of contributing to the enhancement of democracy would sow the seed of discord among the people.

I thank you for your attention.

28a. Incidentally, before I leave the AFRC, I need to give a brief account of some of the reckless manner in which that regime dealt with the assets of this country. Some of the associates of the junta had no restraint in causing further havoc on the country.
At the request of Mr. Victor Foh, a gentleman, Mr. Michael Hart Jones, purporting to belong to a company named Africa Trade Link Ltd. entered into an arrangement with the AFRC junta whereby the unused mining and mineral reserves of this country were to be used as collateral for a loan that the junta was determined to obtain.
In this connection in a f axed message sent to Mr. Foh, dated 24th September 1997, Mr. Hart-Jones purported to have secured one billion dollars for the project. The project was to involve the Government giving four securities to the tune of $200 million and the mining concessions were to be the collateral. The funds to be raised by this arrangement were alleged to be intended to be utilized partly on the services of the AFRC junta.

The scheme was to be effected as follows:
A company named Commercial African Development Ltd. (CARD) was re-registered in Sierra Leone on the 19th day of December 1997. This Company was made to enter into a joint partnership with the junta and the mining concessions in respect of the richest mining areas in the country were given to the joint venture. Four Bank Guarantees of $50 million each dated 12th November 1997, in favour of CARD for the $200 million secured were then issued by the Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and the Minister of Finance, both appointees of the junta.
If the AFRC had not been ousted in February 1998, thereby aborting the scheme, the effect on Sierra Leone and its economy as a result of this arrangement would have been -

(a)    Laundered money would have been brought into this country undetected and this would have had serious adverse effect on the economy for a very long time. In the fax message in question, it was made clear that the one billion dollars which was said to have been earmarked to be brought to the country would have been brought stealthily and under cover.

(b) The Bank of Sierra Leone and the Government would have been encumbered with an obligation to discharge the security of $200 million as a result of a scheme that would not have benefited the people and Government of Sierra Leone, and in any case, only members of the junta and their associates like Victor Foh would have been the beneficiaries of that arrangement.

(c) The worst aspect of that scheme was that the richest and most profitable mining areas in this country were given as collateral under that arrangement and those areas were available to be mined without restriction and the proceeds from them taken away without any account given. The areas to be affected were carefully identified and mapped out.

The documents involved in this transaction are available here for the Commission's perusal.

The account of this transaction needs to be brought to the notice of the Commission merely for the purpose of further illustrating the reckless manner in which regimes, which were unaccountable, schemed to wreck the economy and destroy the mineral assets of this country.



RECOMMENDATION FOR REPARATION FOR ALL WAR AFFECTED AMPUTATED VICTIMS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY IN SIERRA LEONE

These include – Aberdeen Camp (Freetown, Western Area), Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Moyamba, Kabala, Tonkolili and Bonthe.

I Jusu Jarka, as chairman of the War Affected Amputees Association of Sierra Leone, represent the war amputees, and the ear victim s of our country generally. My main purpose here is to demand reparations for the war victims of our just ended war.

For the general public who I speak to from the forum of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), it is important that I throw light on what 'reparations' is.

'Reparations' is a sign from the perpetrator of a wrong to the victim of the wrong done that the perpetrator is sorry for what has been done.  That sign of saying “sorry' is most often done a tangible way – in money and materials; like with the payment of billions of dollars by the German government to survivors of the Holocaust in Germany during the Second World War.  The symbolic and practical act of reparation brings up hope that the perpetrator would not repeat what has been done.  Reparations thus is like a bandage, or a medicine to lessen the pain and help heal the pain of the victim.  But it is not only the victim who is healed, the entire society would be healed by reparations.  The victims of our war are obvious.

There are the hundreds of thousands of people who were brutally murdered by mainly the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, and the soldiers who changed and became rebels, calling themselves the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC).  There were women who had their pregnant stomach split opened by small rebel boys.  There were babies dumped into drums of boiling palm oil.  There were infant girls who were gang raped.  There were thousands of houses burnt down.  There are people like me, thousands of us, who had their hands and legs chopped off by rebels.  There are thousands of others, maybe millions of other Sierra Leoneans whose scars are in their minds.  And these scars in the mind could be worse as those of us with chopped off hands.  We are the victims of this war.  We have received assistance from diverse local and international sources over the past ten years. But by and large, such assistance has been token.  In the DDR programme, millions of dollars has been spent in rehabilitating and resettling some of the perpetrators of the war – nothing close has been spent on the victims of the war.  I said some of the perpetrators or the war deliberately.

Who are the perpetrators of the mass murder, rape, arson, and amputation of our ten years war?  The answer appears obvious? The rebels.  RUF, AFRC rebels, SLA, Kamajors.  Are they only perpetrators of these nasty and brutal acts on their fellow citizens? No. No.

The perpetrators of our war must include those who created the conditions that led to the war; those who did not change even as the war waged. Principal culprits are the civil servants and the politicians. They destroyed the country.  They stole most of the country's money.  They continued stealing even as the government could not provide electricity even in Freetown; even as people 'toe-line' for rice and petrol; even as banks could not give people their own money. There are the perpetrators in the judiciary. They perverted justice. Justice was reserved only for the rich and powerful.  Within the court system, the poor man became victim by the fact that he his poor. There were the leaders in business; leaders in the medical profession who kept silent as the country was being destroyed.  But to my mind, the worst of these unarmed perpetrators are the religious men in our society – the pastors and imams; the bishops; reverends; alhajis.

It is these reverends and imams who told the politicians that God had destined that the politicians rule forever – even as the politicians were destroying everything in the country. It was these religious who kept SILENT as the conditions that led to our war were created.

Even as victims of our war, even as amputees, we continue to experience the exploitation by the rich and powerful of the poor and weak. We continue to see the religious leaders being silent even as amputees were being abused.

I must use this public forum to elaborate on this further. On December 17, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone (ELCSL) launched the Amputee Welfare and Reintegration Trust in the amputee camp in Aberdeen, Freetown.  The then Foreign Minister, Dr. Sama Banya, was present among the dignitaries.  The published documents of the ELCSL stated that the amputees would need a minimum of Le. 2 billion every year to meet their basic needs of foods, housing, shelter and education for their children. We had great hope that a church institution like ELCSL would live up to its words.

In February of 2000, we saw a publication in the DEMOCRAT newspaper that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) had given $100,000 to the Amputee Trust Fund. We are aware that since the formation of the Trust Fund, only two meetings were held in February and March of 2000. in one of those meetings, Rev. Barnett, the President (now Bishop) of the Lutheran Church of Sierra Leone, promised to put in $50,000 into the Trust Fund.  He never did.  He never called another meeting after March 2000.  the Amputee Trust Fund has a Board of Directors.

They are Eric James, well known businessman, Gracie Williams, who was the former Principal of Annie Walsh Memorial School; Alhaji Daramy Rogers, who is a well known businessman based in Bo; Frank Kargbo, a prominent lawyer, who is presently Executive Secretary of the TRC; Rev. Tom Barnett, as President of the Lutheran  Church; and Alimamy Koroma, the General Secretary of the Council of Churches of Sierra Leone (CCSL).  During the second meeting  of the Board, Oswald  Hanciles was elected as Liaison to the Amputee Trust Fund. Since 2000, all of these Board Members kept silent even as the Amputees Trust Fund had become inactive. Only Oswald Hanciles, who was then communications Officer of the Lutheran Church had been agitating on behalf of the amputees – for that, Oswald Hanciles was sacked from the Lutheran Church.  We the amputees publicly thank Oswald Hanciles for his sacrifice for our cause.

And in this public manner we express our shock at the relative silence of the Board Members (Eric James only wrote a private letter to Rev. Barnett about the Fund). We also express our shock at the SILENCE of the entire Christian Church on the matter regarding the Amputee Trust Fund – which has been written so much about in the local newspapers; and discussed several times on local radio.  This coming December 2003 would make it almost FOUR YEARS since the Amputee Welfare and Reintegration Trust was launched. If Rev. Barnett and his Lutheran Church had not taken steps to kill the entire idea, if Rev. Barnett had behaved like a true Christian, the Amputee Trust Fund would have raised millions of dollars by now.  In this public manner, on behalf of the amputees, we demand a special reparation fro Rev. Barnett and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone;  we also demand reparation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in  America who have been told over the past three years what the Evangelical Lutheran church in Sierra Leone has been doing concerning the Amputee Trust Fund, but the Lutheran Church in America has kept quiet; we also demand special reparation from all the Lutherans all over the world who should know what their branch has been doing as regards amputees in Sierra Leone.  As we demand reparations as war victims, we hope that such deadly silence would end in the future.

As we demand our 'reparations' it is not only because armed men physically brutalised us; it is also because unarmed leaders in our society can rightly be said to be collaborators in our being made victims today. When all of these collaborators help to bring up the cash and materials for our reparations, then this society stands a chance of not repeating its mistakes.

We ask reparations not only from government, but also from Parliament as a body, and individual parliamentarians; from the judiciary; from civil society; from banks and insurance companies; from petroleum companies; from traders; from especially the local and global diamond industry – for it can be said that our war was also a War for Diamonds.

Those close link between reparation on the one hand, and post-conflict reconciliation and democratization on the other hand, and the importance of including a reparation component in transitional justice can be show from difference perspective.

A new post-conflict state like Sierra Leone, which commits itself to upholding the rule of law should guarantee the individual rights of all its citizens.  If the state or non state actors are responsible for acts of torture or other human rights violations committed, the Government should immediately show the seriousness of that commitment by lining up to its obligation to provide reparation to the victims (through the special fund for war victims). Honouring this commitment from the very start will shape the new political identity of Sierra Leone especially after the brutal civil war. 

Reconciliation aims to break the cycle of violence and promote peaceful co-existence.  In order to achieve this acts of revenge by victims of past oppression should be stopped or, putting it more positively,victims' legitimate hunger for justice should be accommodated. This entails public recognition of our status as victims, public recognition of our suffering and the damage we have sustained,and a serious public effort to repair at least symbolically the harm done.  It is a crucial instrument in allowing our society to get on with life.

Acknowledging and repairing the suffering of victims is a way of recognizing us, as equals with our human and civic dignity.  In order to put on with life individually and to be able to function properly in the new society, each Amputee (victims) needs a renewed self-confidence. For the restoration of his or her psychological health and dignity dignity, reparation not only in its immaterial but also in its materials, financial dimension is an important tool. Moreover, continued preoccupation with our own distress cannot but hinder Our ability to be reconciled with others. The actual psychological impact of receiving reparation can differ greatly between people. For some victims reparation may MEAN THE END OF A PERSONAL HEALING, PROCESS; FOR OTHERS 'Tr MAY BE JUST THE START OF IT.

Repatriation gives victims a role in the transitional justice process. Theoretically a political transition like Sierra Leone could limit itself to legal or institutional reforms (of the judiciary and so on) and to sanctioning perpetrators, leaving the victims out of the picture; victims are likely to be better integrated into the transitional process if a repatriation component is included. As a consequence, the confrontation between victims and perpetrators and the issue of reconciliation becomes much more relevant.

Reparation, is the context of Sierra Leone will acts as a bridge between the past and the future. It combines the backward-locking objective of compensating with the forward-looking objectives of political reform. Thus, it also helps the new state in reconciling itself with its past

In some countries, reparation functions as a compromise. In some post-conflict societies, systematic criminal prosecution of all those involved in the past oppression may threaten political stability and undermine democratic consolidation. On the other hand, requests by members of the previous regime that the past be simply forgotten are equally unacceptable. Reparation, which includes a form of sanctioning and honoring of 'victims' rights, is therefore in itself a useful instrument of comprises.

This is so in Sierra Leone where an amnesty law denies we the amputees the right to institute civic claims against perpetrators: state reparation may counter the effects of the amnesty legislation. Mr. Chairman, other Commissioners in some educational cycle different terms are used to express sometimes identical or similar concepts.

  • Reparation
  • Restitution
  • Compensation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Satisfaction
  • Redress


Restitution (or re-establishment of the situation which existed before the wrongful act was committed) was the main and preferred form of reparation, and was therefore then considered almost the same with repatriation it remains an important component of reparation as it relates to essential “belongings” such as the return of property, the restoration of liberty and the return to place of residence and the restoration of employment. However, Mr. Chairman, this is the case for us the Amputees because you will never re-establish the situation, which existed before the wrongful act was committed.  It is against this background that the sierra Leone Amputee Welfare Association is asking the TRC to be considered in making your final recommendation to the government.  Mind you we all see how the perpetrators were treated, therefore we are saying each amputee in Sierra Leone should receive a life pension scheme that will cover free medical for him/her self and also the immediate family and also to consider the following:

  1. Life person – i.e the beneficiary should receive and amount of money at the end of every month to take care of his welfare.
  2. Medical facility – for all War Affected Amputee who have suffered in the past ten years war
  3. Education – scholarship for our children starting from primary education unto university level.
  4. Feeding – the provision of food for all victims at the end of every month.
  5. Money – micro credit should be available to our caretakers/wives to enable them to do petty trading
  6. Employment facilities – creating employment for victims who are academics with skills .
  7. Identification – a provision of  National ID cards to victims of war to enable them to move freely throughout the country and across international borders and a free customs at the sea port
  8. Shelter assistance - for all war affected amputees in the country; And this reparation should be by level of amputation e.g double amputees hands and legs, single amputees hands and legs, finger amputation etc.
  9. We need communication as well. In order for us to transact our welfare throughout the universe.
  10. We need a Secretariat (an office where we would be recognized by foreign nationals, the government of Sierra Leone, newspapers, etc).
  11. We also need reparation from our formal colonial masters, British people/and all those who have dealer's licences for diamonds in Sierra Leone.

We are also requesting the Commission to submit final report to us a guiding principle for future interventions and ensure that all the recommendations are implemented.

Sir, we as victims who have suffered throughout the ten years war in Sierra Leone are appealing to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the international community to please address our emergency needs, while we await the final recommendations that the (T.R.C-) would make to the Government and. the international community. And these emergency needs are as follows:

  • Feeding -  Provision of food for all amputees throughout the country
  • Medical Facility - for all amputees who fall as an amputated victims of the war
  • Education - Provision of scholarship for our children who's parent fall as victims of war

The war victims must be included as members of the Reparation Implementing Committee.

With all what we have documented, as for reparations, our children are also victims of war. They are to be taken care of. We would continue to make noise and there would be no sustainable peace in this country, until the international community hears us.

A photocopy of this document is going to be circulated throughout the country to all amputees.

Furthermore, all those who owe funds for amputees should be submitted immediately to the TRC: like Rev Tom Barnett who use the fund of the Trust Fund, Sierra Leone Teachers Union, Sallay Gbujama/ Pastor Momodu Koroma etc. The money was donated to the Amputees by Rev Bongay.

We are also requesting the Commission to submit final report to us a guiding principle for future interventions and ensure that all the recommendations, are implemented.

Faithfully submitted on behalf of all the war affected Victims in Sierra Leone. May God heal the wounds of those who lost their loved ones and may Allah grant their souls mercy.

Thank you very much

Alhaji Jusu Jarka
Chairman
Amputee War Affected Association



TO: The Chairman, TRC
FREETOWN

THRO: The  Head of Information Unit, TRC
Mr. OZONNIA OJIELO
FREETOWN

THRO: The Executive Secretary, TRC
FREETOWN

FROM: RTD Captain MOIGBOI MOIGANDE KOSIA (SL 90)
C/O SAM BASSIE,
No. 8B Wilkinson Road
SOSOLISO SALOON, Cole Farm
FREETOWN

Sir,

APPEAL AND PETITION – REDRESS OF WRONGS
RTD CAPT. MOIGBOI MOIGANDE KOSIA – (SL 90)

I have cause very respectfully to make the following observation known to you.  For your information sir, I am a retired combatant commissioned officer from the Sierra Leone Army.  I was enlisted into the Army as a boy soldier in 1954 at the age of thirteen and a half years.  I graduated from the boys service in 1959, and was absorbed into the men's service.  I gained commission in 1965, after 18 months officer cadets training at the Military Academy.  In 1966, I was posted to the Training Depot Moa Barracks Daru as a training officer.

Due to a combination of very unfortunate circumstance, I was one of the accused officers in the Court Martial trial of late Brigadier J.A Bangura and 8 (eight) others in 1971.  After the trial, I was honourably acquitted and discharged. However, I was still in Pademba Prisons when (4) out of the eight (8) convicted officers namely Brigadier J.A Bangura, Major F.M Jawara, Major S.E Momoh and Lt JBS Kolugbonda were executed.

After my release from Pademba Road Prisons, through the sympathetic and fatherly intervention of late PRESIDENT SIAKA STEVENS, i was re-instated into the Army with my full rank against the wishes of some senior officers who were against me,  and I assumed normal duties at MOA BARRACKS DARU.  The President assured me that I could serve the Army as long as I wished.

In 1973, one week to the  commencement of the General ELECTIONS, I was unceremoniously and hastily transferred from Daru to Freetown.  No reason was given at the time for my unexpected transfer. Whilst in Freetown, two (2) days to the commencement of the general ELECTIONS,  I was unexpectedly and prematurely retired from the Army.  My retirement letter was handed over to me by Rtd. MAJOR GENERAL J.S. GOTTOR, by then a Major and adjutant of the 1st Battalion, Wilberforce Barracks, Freetown.  No reason was given or stated in the letter for my retirement, I was only told to proceed on Terminal Leave with immediate effect. The letter was signed by A.B. Toronka, approved by J.S. Momoh, then Brigadier and Force Commander RSLMF.

I wish to stat that my retirement had nothing to do with any indiscipline, misconduct or misdemeanor on my part, but a staged managed political  WITCH HUNT directed at officers and other ranks in the army from the EAST and  SOUTHERN REGIONS of Sierra Leone. Officers and other ranks from these regions suspected to be SLPP sympathizers at that time were shortlisted and retired prematurely, quarterly on 24 hours notice from the army to give room to the Northern and Western officers and men.  From 1968 onwards, soldiers were wrongly recruited into the army, all APC thugs were issued with cards for enlistment into the army.  The usual procedure for recruiting was discarded by the APC.

There was so much bitterness in the Army engendered against people and different factions, Regional and Tribal. It was wide spread in the Army.  All efforts by me to reach Momoh to find out reasons for my untimely retirement proved abortive.  It was my wish to make the Army a life long career.  I was never resettled or given any alternate employment, but left to roam the streets of Freetown for several months in search of employment. Wherever I went, I was asked to produce my APC membership card or a letter of recommendation from senior APC Ministers.  I wrote a letter of petition to late President SP Stevens, wherein I raised quite a number of issues for his fatherly and sympathetic intervention for redress of wrong.

Through the assistance of a soldier by the name of Sergeant Kulufa Turay, a personal security and body guard assigned to Dr. S.P. Stevens at the time, my petition reached its desired destination.  I was granted audience with Dr. Stevens in the presence of J.S. Momoh, who told the late President that prior to the 1973 General Elections, I was canvassing openly for the SLPP against the APC in my home Pendembu and the chiefdoms in Kailahun District. I was accused of training mercenaries from Ghana during an Advance Field firing exercise for recruits in Sulima.  This was as standing operation exercise laid down for recruits after their basic training in Daru.  The story was false, fabricated, concocted and unfounded by Momoh, Toronka and E.G.O. Caulker just to tarnish my image and character.  That particular exercise was approved by Army headquatres in Freetown.  That statement made by Momoh annoyed the president and my desire and intention to have made the Army a life long career was sealed.  I was not given an opportunity to explain myself.

I was abandoned, rejected and neglected by my former colleagues especially the senior military officers with strong APC political connections, affiliations and inclinations.  For many years, I was roaming the streets of Freetown office to office in search of employment but to no avail.  Even though I was out of the Army, I represented everything J.S. Momoh, Toronka  and others hated.  I was always among the 1st three arrested and detained on three consecutive occasions by the CID in 1974, 1985 by the CID under false arrest without charge. My struggling has been too long and my suffering too great. I have suffered much and have given more to this party (SLPP).  J. S. Momoh and others altered my life and my entire family forever.

The facts of my bitter and harsh past under APC rule to find true democracy will never be adequately completely narrated on paper.   I have sacrificed my life for the very democracy we are enjoying now.  Something must be done sir, to heal the pains  of my neglected past.   My present deplorable state need urgent attention from the present government.

The aforementioned are few of the fundamental root causes, accumulated errors, INJUSTICE, VICTIMIZATION, SEGREGATION, TRIBALISM, etc, to name a few for you to understand the history, causes and other aspects relating to the commencement of the conflict or birth of rebel war in Sierra Leone.

Sir, it is better to live with the PAINFUL TRUTH than to WALLOW in the false security of COMFORTABLE LIE.

I feel safe in submitting myself affirmatively to the TRC calls.  I assure you of my whole hearted and solid support, this including my continued EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS.

May God Almighty grant  you strength, success and guidance in all your undertakings and may HIS WILL be done for the CRY or the TRUTH to prevail. 

I pray as in duty bound, for GOD's Grace, GOD's Guidance and Protection, GOD's Blessings as you continue to grapple with and discharge the onerous duties of office.