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


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 6

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

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Tuesday May 29, 2012 - Revisiting key issues of the Ernest Bai Koroma (APC) Manifesto of 2007 as selective justice human rights abuses gain foothold in Sierra Leone. Impunity on the rise as the police become a part of the repressive regime. Corruption, more corruption and filthy corruption on the increase with the magician's sacred cows having a field day.Smoke and mirrors President Koroma - why has he failed to comment on heinous crimes committed against ordinary Sierra Leoneans?

According to Dr Dr more Dr Ernest Bai Koroma's doctrine on the dispensation of justice in a democratic society - the conviction of a perceived political and hence sworn opponent like Aziz Carew - is something that must be cheered, something that must be seen as the APC's manifesto of 2007 in which a number of promises were made to the people. And Aziz Carew is a Sierra Leonean who has no right to self-defence when he is attacked in his own home by government and party agents - and because he dared and his supporters dared to resist those deadly and brutal attacks, he was beaten to a state of coma from which he only recovered after treatment in hospital where he had to be put on intravenous fluids (drip).Aziz Carew lies in a coma - the Gestapo Chief of Police insisted he was pretending to be in a coma to evade "justice".

Sierra Leone's all-knowing Gestapo Chief Francis Munu told the media, including international outlets that their target Mr Aziz Carew was pretending to be in a coma and as soon as the man recovered was whisked off to prison while his assailants walked free indicating to all and sundry, including representatives of the international community operating in Sierra Leone that with the right political connections (APC) impunity is let loose upon Sierra Leone once again after those terrible years in which Sierra Leoneans witnessed the laws of the land interpreted to suit State House and political parties in power.

May 25 this year was the day fifteen years ago when a murderous junta headed by fugitive war crimes suspect Johnny Paul Koroma launched a campaign of mindless terror and massive human rights abuses on all perceived opponents - student, human rights activists, pro-democracy journalists and concerned groups as well as all those associated with the ousted Tejan Kabbah government and members of the Sierra Leone People's Party, the SLPP. As resentment grew against them, the junta labelled the AFRC invited the even more murderous and human-rights-abusing RUF to join them in "feasting" on the freedoms of the people as accounts of human rights abuses, rape, looting and arson reached alarming proportions.

The rights group Amnesty International noted, among others of just how terrible things had become and how the gun-toting and machete-wielding beasts of no nation tried to usher in their system of justice

"Violence and insecurity followed the military coup, both in the capital, Freetown, and in other parts of the country. On the day of the coup and during the following days as many as one hundred people died in Freetown in the ensuing violence. Many others were injured. There were many incidents of rape and widespread looting. Many judges, lawyers and senior police officers have been among the thousands of people fleeing Sierra Leone...There is a large number of cases pending before the criminal courts which have all but ceased to function. The AFRC announced that People’s Revolutionary Courts would be established, composed of people without legal training. Murder, robbery and rape are reported to continue at unprecedented levels in Freetown; soldiers and RUF forces have frequently been implicated in these crimes."

It was the hope of every Sierra Leonean that with the country now at peace after the war was officially declared over in 2002 by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, everyone in his or her own sphere of life would contribute to the buttressing of the ideals of good governance, respect for the rule of law and that all would be treated fairly before established courts as opposed to those suggested by the murderous junta. Indeed hearts were uplifted when in the APC Manifesto of 2007, it was noted among others that any incoming APC government would demonstrate in practice crucial reforms relating to the judiciary and human rights -


7.1 ...that justice will be dispensed with fairness and citizens will have access to redress if there is any doubt as to the fair application of the law. The inequitable applications of the law and the lack of fair access to the judicial system have been some of the reasons that have contributed to undermining the rule of law in Sierra Leone. The ability of the judiciary to properly dispense with justice has been handicapped by political interference and extremely unattractive salaries and poor conditions of service...

When in government, the APC will ...establish clear procedures to ensure an independent, impartial and autonomous judiciary...separate the offices of the Minister of Justice and that of of the Attorney-General...ensure expeditious dispensation of justice

16. HUMAN RIGHTS - ...much of the misery and injustice of our time is the result of the reckless use of power. The abuse of power is a human problem and nobody seems to have a built-in immunity from its corrosive effect.

An APC Government is committed to limiting this tendency by ensuring the sanctity of life and the dignity of man. The APC Government will meet internationally accepted standards of promoting and protecting the rights and dignity of every man, woman and child... protect, promote and respect all Sierra Leoneans from the violation of their human rights so that the true ideals of democracy can be realised.

As has been exhibited once too often since Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC party came to power, all these promises were never meant to be implemented but have now been shown to be cyanide pills coated with sugar to deceive Sierra Leoneans and all those interested in seeing the country become a land whose rulers are fit for purpose in the observance of good democratic principles. Alas this has not been the case and under Ernest Bai Koroma the magician, all APC party members as well as the armed wing of the party - parading as the  OSD branch of the police have, it would appear, been given the green light to commit any and every crime including murder - sure in the knowledge that with the Executive manipulating the Judiciary and to a great extent the Legislature, wrong doers with the right connections to State House and the APC party top guns would always be free to commit more such acts.

On the day Ernest Bai Koroma was declared winner of the second round poll after he defeated Mr Solomon Berewa of the SLPP, the losing party's offices in Freetown were comprehensively sacked leaving one person dead at the scene. Up to the time of writing this - no investigation into that death has been announced. No regret at that loss of a Sierra Leonean life was expressed by President Koroma who must have heard about it. And to give Sierra Leoneans of what is yet to come - the then Police Chief, one Brima Acha Kamara told the world's media that the SLPP office was attacked by SLPP members who were owed money by the outgoing government for work they had done for the SLPP and for which they had not been paid!!!! Brima Acha Kamara a graduate of Fourah Bay College and who incidentally was helped into that office by President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah did not blink an eyelid as he told the media that those who ransacked the SLPP office were on an "Operation Pay Yourself"...and that from the  head of the police whose duty it has always been to investigate any and all kinds of crimes!!!!

And while this outlandish excuse was sounding all over Sierra Leone, the armed wing of the party, the OSD were seen celebrating with a frenzy and high sense of expectations that got many worried Sierra Leoneans asking just why a police unit that is supposed to be apolitical was clearly showing a preference for the former opposition APC that had just won the polls.

Why the OSD was celebrating then has now been made obvious to everyone. They now know that they can commit any crime including murder and that the Ernest Bai Koroma government will always ensure that they are not made to account as has been seen in the recent murder of Sierra Leonean woman Musu Conteh. Even before this, after the troubles in Bo when the SLPP Presidential flag bearer Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was on a visit there, a commission set up by President Ernest Bai Koroma clearly identified all those who were to blame. The report identified the OSD police personnel who deliberately shot and killed a bike rider on that day. Up to the time of writing that policeman is still wearing regulatory uniforms and carrying arms on behalf of the APC and President Koroma.The blood soaked body of the murdered Musu Conteh. She was killed while protesting for her rights in Sierra Leone

No action was taken against the APC supporters who perpetrated the violence against the SLPP including the wounding of Maada Bio. What Sierra Leoneans witnessed was the hauling of SLPP members including a sitting MP before the courts to be locked up after the constant refusal of bail for their freedom.

On one key occasion when the headquarters of the opposition SLPP was attacked and thoroughly ransacked and re-sacked with at least two vehicles parked in the compound set on fire, President Dr Dr and more Drs Ernest Bai Koroma set up the Shears-Moses Commission of Inquiry with that body submitting its findings in time for action by the President. Disobeying laid down constitutional rules that the government must come out with a White Paper on what it intends to do within a stated timeframe, it was only through international pressure that forced the magician to come out with anything but a proper White Paper two years later, nitpicking and failing to take decisive action as it related to one of his bodyguards, the notorious and human rights-abusing Idrissa Kamara, otherwise known as Leatherboot the serious serial human rights abuser who served both AFRC and RUF as his penchant for bloodletting would allow him to do. We reproduce these excerpts

Even after this massive display of violence against the opposition by APC party members as well as the police, a scenario witnessed by all around at the time, when it came to the dispensation of justice, twenty two opposition members were charged to court by the police.

It would seem that the policy of the government and we daresay modus operandi against the opposition and perceived opponents acts out like this. Target an opponent, send APC party supporters, yea thugs the Sierra Leone version of the Nazi brown shirts, to beat up and brutalise all those with the target especially if they belong to the opposition. Arrest the opposition members on one pretext or the other. Have them charged to court and deny them bail after several court appearances. Get a judge who reads from the same musical score as the government to preside over the case and pronounce judgement. Case closed. It's jail or fines for the opposition and where things become too embarrassing a fine. Final aim achieved - the opposition is demonised and deprived of their basic rights while the government thugs go free to ply their trade whenever needed by the government. This is Ernest Bai Koroma's empire - where impunity reigns and where the rule of law has been given a back seat.This is a part of the picture of the violence on the opposition party in March 2009.

We view all these happenings, the murder of Sierra Leoneans to protect land and natural resources stolen from them and given to Koroma associates in the mining sector, violent attacks on the opposition after which they are thrown into jail after conviction in compromised courts as the dress rehearsal for what is being planned as Sierra Leone gets ready for crucial elections in November this year.

We fear that as those elections get closer the opposition strongholds will be attacked by APC and government thugs including the police resulting in the arrest of opposition members on one flimsy excuse or the other and hence disallow the opposition from fielding candidates of their choice.

We know what the APC did in the past and we would want to warn the international community not to wait until things get out hand. This is the time to act and prevent a bloody build-up to the November elections by a clearly desperate Ernest Bai Koroma who would be willing to intimidate, torture and kill as many of his perceived opponents as he can lay his hands on just to get a second term.

Wherever E T Kamara is now - let him tell those within his hearing just what led to the disenfranchisement of eight SLPP candidates during a certain bye election in Bo contested among others by one Alhaji M S Mustapha.

We know that at least two UK naval vessels are now in West African waters and could be around until the November elections - but that will not be enough. The diplomatic community must be put on alert so that Sierra Leone can be saved from another round of human rights abuses and the flagrant disregard for the life and limb of Sierra Leoneans. The recent importation of war weapons in a country preparing for elections in November does not augur well for the consolidation of peace and security as well as democracy and good governance. Despite the government's claim that such war weapons have been handed over to the army, there is no evidence that this has been the case. At any rate there is nothing to stop the government secretly arming the police with these weapons and quite willing to use them as was witnessed in the latest Bumbuna incident in which Musu Conteh was killed and many others suffered from gunshot wounds.

The Ernest Bai Koroma display of political intolerance, extreme violence to intimidate perceived opponents and the use of the security forces to further the aim of his party is not a good omen and all and everything must be done to bring him to book lest Sierra Leone sinks into another round of the kind of violence we all would rather be left in a nightmare.

The APC was in opposition from 1996 to 2007 and in elections won by the SLPP in 1996 and 2002 no report was made of SLPP supporters attacking APC party offices or supporters. None...until the APC won the flawed 2007 polls and despite Christiana Thorpe's illegal and high-handed action, the SLPP allowed things to stand wanting to consolidate the peace and democracy in Sierra Leone never mind the Burkina Faso connections that had been milked by Ernest Bai Koroma for a possible return to mayhem had the SLPP won and declared winner of the 2007 polls.

We would also want to remind the few who could have forgotten - that when Foday Sankoh launched his RUF rebellion from Liberia into Sierra Leone, he was helped along not only by the Charles Taylor NPFL rebel group, but was aided by regular Burkinabe troops - from the same country that Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC delegation paid the longest visit immediately after his declaration as winner of the 2007 polls.

A United Nations Panel of Experts investigating the movement of arms to the rebels in Sierra Leone noted, among others, the role of Burkina Faso in fuelling the brutal and murderous was in Sierra Leone.

B. Weapons flights into Liberia

202. Virtually all of the weapons shipped into RUF territory are trans-shipped through at least two other countries between their point of origin and RUF territory in Sierra Leone. In virtually all cases, the last transit point before shipment into Sierra Leone is Liberia. The weapons reach Liberia in a variety of ways - occasionally by sea but most frequently by air. The Panel went to considerable lengths to document some of these shipments in order to demonstrate how the supply chain works.

Case study: Burkina Faso delivery of Ukrainian weapons
203. A shipment of 68 tons of weapons arrived at Ouagadougou on 13 March 1999. It included 715 boxes of weapons and cartridges, and 408 boxes of cartridge powder. The inventory also included anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and rocket propelled grenades and their launchers.

204. This shipment has now been well documented. Documentation provided in April and June 1999 by the Ukraine government to United Nations Sanctions Committees shows that the weapons were part of a contract between a Gibraltar-based company representing the Ministry of Defence of Burkina Faso, and the Ukrainian State-owned company Ukrspetsexport. An aircraft of the British company Air Foyle, acting as an agent for the Ukrainian air carrier Antonov Design Bureau, shipped the cargo, under a contract with the Gibraltar-based company, Chartered Engineering and Technical Services. A Ukrainian licence for sale of the weaponry was granted after Ukrspetsexport had received an end-user certificate from the Ministry of Defence of Burkina Faso.

205. The end-user certificate was dated 10 February 1999. The document authorized the Gibraltar-based company to purchase the weapons for sole use of the Ministry of Defence of Burkina Faso. The document also certified that Burkina Faso would be the final destination of the cargo and the end-user of the weaponry. The document is signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbert Diendéré, head of the Presidential Guard of Burkina Faso. During a visit by a Panel Member to Ukraine, this sequence of events was reconfirmed.

206. The authorities of Burkina Faso, in correspondence with the United Nations Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone, denied allegations that the weapons had been re-exported to a third country, Liberia, and during a visit to Burkina Faso the Panel was shown weapons that were purportedly in that shipment.Terrified SLPP supporters in March 2009 as their party office in Freetown is attacked by the police and APC supporters

207. The weapons in question, however, were not retained in Burkina Faso. They were temporarily off-loaded in Ouagadougou and some were trucked to Bobo Dioulasso. The bulk of them were then trans-shipped within a matter of days to Liberia.

208. Most were flown aboard a BAC-111 owned by an Israeli businessman of Ukrainian origin, Leonid Minin. The aircraft bore the Cayman registration VP-CLM and was operated by a company named LIMAD, registered in Monaco. Minin was, and may remain, a business partner and confidant of Liberian President Charles Taylor. He is identified in the police records of several countries and has a history of involvement in criminal activities ranging from east European organized crime, trafficking in stolen works of art, illegal possession of fire arms, arms trafficking and money laundering. Minin uses several aliases. He has been refused entry into many countries, including Ukraine, and travels with many different passports. Minin offered the aircraft mentioned above for sale to Charles Taylor as a Presidential jet, and for a period between 1998 and 1999, it was used for this purpose. It was also used to transport arms.

209. Regarding the shipment in question, the aircraft flew from Ibiza in Spain to Robertsfield in Liberia on 8 March 1999. On 15 March, two days after the arrival of the Ukrainian weapons in Ouagadougou, the plane flew from Monrovia to Ouagadougou. On 16 March the plane was loaded with weapons and flew back to Liberia. On the 17th, it returned to Ouagadougou. After a flight to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, the plane flew again from Ouagadougou to Liberia with weapons on the 19th. On the 25th the plane flew again from Liberia to Ouagadougou and returned on the same day with weapons. On the 27th the plane flew again to Ouagadougou and from there to Bobo Dioulasso for the weapons that had been trucked there. The aircraft made three flights over the next three days between Bobo Dioulasso and Liberia. On 31 March the plane flew back to Spain. Because the plane had a VIP configuration, it had only limited cargo capacity, which is why so many flights were necessary.

210. A second plane, an Antonov operated by a Liberian company named Weasua, is reported by eye-witnesses to have flown part of the cargo to Liberia from Bobo Dioulasso.

211. Minin's BAC-111 was used for an earlier shipment of weapons and related equipment from Niamey Airport in Niger to Monrovia. This occurred in December 1998, shortly after Minin purchased the plane and started to operate it in the region. On 22 December 1998, the BAC-111 made two trips from Niamey to Monrovia. On the second trip, it took a consignment of weapons, probably from existing stocks of the armed forces of Niger. The weapons were off-loaded into vehicles of the Liberian military. A few days after these events, the RUF rebels started a major offensive that eventually resulted in the destructive January 1999 raid on Freetown."



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