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CARL presents position paper to CRC

…recommends reduction in presidential powers, bar on more time

November 25, 2015 By Alusine Sesay

The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) yesterday presented twenty-five recommendations as their position paper to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC), recommending among other things the reduction in powers of the president and for the reviewed constitution to limit the presidential tenure to two terms.

CARL also recommends that the new constitution should grant citizens the right to challenge emergency measures pronounced by the president, including the declaration of state of emergency, by way of a petition for a judicial review by the courts.

The accountability and rights group says the revised constitution should make provision for the establishment of a separate Constitutional Court to hear and determine constitutional matters, noting that the move would significantly contribute to the development of a more vibrant constitutional jurisprudence in Sierra Leone.

The organisation made extensive use of the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC) Report to draw up its recommendations which was presented to the CRC.

Executive Director, Ibrahim Tommy, called on the CRC to undertake further consultations across the country, using both traditional and social media to reach national consensus on what core values citizens would want protected and enhanced in the new constitution.

The organisation’s position paper called for the abolition of all forms of discrimination that currently exist in the 1991 constitution, citing discrimination against women and the right to citizens.

They urged the CRC to proscribe the death penalty and enhance access to justice for all citizens, adding that the reviewed constitution should also make social and economic rights, especially those relating to basic needs, justiciable.

They also recommended that the reviewed constitution ban all forms of torture and ensure increased access to justice and accountability for social and economic crimes.

While acknowledging the increasing lack of accountability in public finance management as part of impediments to overcoming development challenges, CARL further recommended the establishment of institutions with increased independence to enhance accountability and transparency in public finance.

They demanded a clear separation of the Offices of Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in order that the former could perform entirely professional functions, while allowing the latter to provide administrative and political oversight.

The organisation recommended that the next constitution states in clear terms that anyone who has exhausted their two term of office under the 1991 constitution be ineligible to contest or hold the same or similar positions under the new constitution.

Chairman of the CRC, Justice Edmond Cowan commended CARL for their presentation, which he described as professional and one that brought out topical issues that borders on the lives of citizens.

He promised that the committee would take the organisation’s position paper into consideration.

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