August 8, 2018
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation has emphasised Sierra Leone’s commitment to domesticate the Rome Statue.
Dr. Alie B.S. Kabba was speaking yesterday at the Civil Service Training School in Freetown during a seminar organised by the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statue.
“Under the New Direction, our commitment to international law is as solid as Mount Kilimanjaro. We can’t have peace and justice without to international law. We’ll not compromise our commitment to international obligations and laws; we can’t contradict ourselves doing the right thing internationally but doing wrong locally,” he said. We are very clear on it. We are an opposition party that assumed governance few months back. As a matter of must, we needed to present a compelling vision to the electorate across the country.”
Dr. Kabba said that the new administration would work assiduously to achieve their key priorities, including respect for international treaties and protocols.
“We have no intention from retreating from our commitment to national development. We have to go out there with strong moral foundation that we want the world to be a place where every woman, every child and every physically challenged person have access to justice,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said government was also committed to ensuring that procedures were in place within the judicial system for everyone to have access to justice and that if those procedures were in place impunity would be a thing of the past.
“I want to assure everybody that our government will continue to engage civil society as far as this conversation is concerned so that we can tailor how we can continue to boost our standing in the international community,” he noted.
Earlier, Executive Director of CARL, Ibrahim Tommy, said the roundtable seminar organised by his institution with funds from Trust Africa was to create space for conversation about Sierra Leone’s role in promoting international laws and government’s commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He said the country signed the Rome Statue on 17th October 1998 and became the 20th state to ratify the Statue on 15th September 2000, although it is yet to be domesticated for its full implementation.
“Nearly 18 years since the statutory was ratified, the government has still not passed a law to ensure that it gives effect to it locally. It is part of our strong effort – civil society organisations and other actors – to ensure it is domesticated,” he said.
Tommy expressed optimism though that at the end of the roundtable discussion the new administration and the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic would indicate their positions on a couple of issues, including tension between the African Union and the International Criminal Court.
He said it would be helpful for the government to continue to support the ICC and domesticate the Rome Statue.
“It is my genuine hope that during this roundtable discussion and the several seminars we have been organising for nearly two decades long for the domestication of the Rome Statue will bear dividend,” he stated.
Talking on advocacy efforts by CSOs to get government to domesticate the Rome Statute , Raheem Kamara of Manifesto 99 said two bills had been drafted on the domestication of the Statue that are still gathering dust in the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
He said: “The ICC is a global challenge to impunity, so Sierra Leone should rise up to the challenge to domesticate the Rome Statute,” adding that the Statute was very important.
Meanwhile, statements were also made by a representative from the office of the Attorney General, Law Reform Commission and the Chairman, Human Rights Committee in Parliament, Hon. Hindolo M. Gevao.
Two decades ago in Rome, 120 States signed the Rome Statute as part of efforts to fight against war crimes and crimes against humanity within the framework of confronting impunity within states boundaries. Currently, the number of States Parties is 123, 33 of them from Africa.