Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 November 2022:
The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) last week launched a study report entitled, “A Review of the Administration of Electoral Justice in Sierra Leone: Challenges and Opportunities for Reforms”.
Funded by the Irish Embassy, the study report provides an assessment of the legal and structural environment for effective administration of electoral justice.
Presenting the report to Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards, the Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone, Claire Buckley said, “The report we share today is part of Ireland’s overall support to the conduct of peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in 2023…It is our hope that this work will support ongoing work of the justice sector to strengthen the existing electoral justice systems that resolves electoral contestations in and outside the courts”.
Chief Justice Edwards expressed appreciation for the work of CARL in producing the report and thanked the Irish Embassy for its support.
He said there have been some electoral legal reforms in the last couple of years and promised that the judiciary will continue to play its own part to ensure access to justice for electoral disputes.
The launch was attended by Justice Eku Roberts (JSC), Chernor M. Bah MP and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Patricia Narsu Ndanema – the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission.
The Executive Director of CARL – Ibrahim Tommy said, “We want to help build and strengthen an electoral justice system that resolves election-related complaints, guaranteeing full compliance with the law, and to help democracy in Sierra Leone thrive”.
The report identifies the common sources or causes of electoral complaints and discusses how the inadequacies in electoral justice mechanisms undermine access to justice and its impact for peaceful and transparent electoral processes.
The report also reflects on the handling of electoral disputes since 2007, pointing out that delays in adjudicating electoral disputes undermine access to electoral justice and the consolidation of democratic gains.