Concerned Sierra Leoneans: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 August 2020:
We are immensely despondent to witness the premeditated killings by the Sierra Leone security forces of unarmed and innocent youths, who staged a peaceful protest against the removal of their electricity asset that belongs to the Municipality of Makeni on the 17/07/20 and 18/07/20.
It was an utter and deliberate contravention of Articles 7 and 8 of Rome Statue, Articles: 1; 4 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights and Article 2 of the Commonwealth Charter.
This malicious act to murder innocent youths with assault rifles made for military warfare was triggered by the outrageous speech made by HE President Maada Bio that set the stage for excessive lethal force against peaceful civilians when he addressed the nation on 8th May 2020.
We want to take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of all those who sadly lost their lives.
The President promised to stifle all democratic principles and hit harder against citizens who do not share his militarised democracy and members of the main Opposition party.
The President’s Resident Minister North Abu Abu responded to his abhorrent speech by viciously threatened the people in the North especially Makeni and Tonkolili that “he will make sure, the parents of young boys and girls who stand in his way wear black clothing to mourn their children”.
Within few months of the Resident Minister’s threat, the parents of Makeni are currently wearing black clothing and mourning their children butchered in broad daylight by security forces who were trained to protect the lives and properties of citizens under the command and control of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and his henchmen hired to orchestrate these attacks and slaughtered innocent Sierra Leoneans.
Furthermore, 51 indigenes from Makeni are being detained without charge, contravening the legally prescribed detention period, and denied the right to bail. Notwithstanding, unconfirmed source has informed us that few have been released.
We unequivocally condemn this appalling and illegal act and urge the Government of President Julius Maada Bio to respect their human rights by releasing them immediately.
Concerned Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora in no uncertain terms condemns the excessive use of lethal force, gross destruction and horrendous tragedy of young innocent lives that has no place in a genuine democracy.
Full and impartial investigation must be launched to determine the criminal liability of the security forces, chain of command and the rules of engagement and strategies of policing peaceful protest in Sierra Leone.
It is prevalent that, the right to a peaceful protest is enshrined in our laws S.26 of Sierra Leone Constitution 1991. The Government of Sierra Leone must bear in mind that, our democratic credentials are judged by upholding the principles of this Constitution consistently.
Under the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court and the principle of complementarity, if a state refused to prosecute or embark on an investigation that is not shrouded in a black box of lies or whitewashed of crimes against humanity it will trigger an intervention and preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The ICC will minimise the state choice to cherry pick it prosecuting capacity under the principle of complementarity to hold those who commit widespread or systematic attacks against civilian population like the premeditated attack in Makeni accountable no matter how long it takes.
In concluding, in pursuant to International law and jurisprudence on command and control by superiority, a Head of State or superior will be held responsible if he/she fails to discharge their duties as superiors either by deliberately failing to perform them or by culpably or wilfully disregarding them.
International Criminal Law imposes liability for omissions upon a superior a duty to prevent crimes which he/she knows or has reason to know had been committed, by subordinates over whom he/she has effective control.
Signed: Concerned Sierra Leoneans
- First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK
- Minister for Africa, UK
- Secretary of State for International Development, UK
- UN Secretary General
- Amnesty International, UK
- ECOWAS President
- UK High Commissioner, Sierra Leone
- US Ambassador, Sierra Leone
- African Union
- US State Department
- Her Majesty Opposition Party leader
- Chairman of the Conservation Party
- Commonwealth Secretariat
- Speaker of the House of Commons
- President of the UK Supreme Court
- European Union
- Harriet Harman, Chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee, UK Parliament
- Neil Coyle MP
- Leaders of the Liberal Democrats
- First Minister of Scotland
- First Minister of Wales
- First Minister of Northern Ireland
- Prime Minister of Norway
- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
- Minister of International Development, Norway
Watch another concerned Sierra Leonean – Ibrahim Fofanah speaking about the Makeni massacre here: