The Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) has condemned discriminatory Citizenship in the Laws of Sierra Leone.

sierra leone constitution 1991

They made this on Tuesday 24 November 2015 while making their presentation to the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC).

CARL presented that the new constitution should have a simplify section on citizenship and should follow the approach set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Furthermore, the Organization states that the new constitution should repeal any law that deprives persons born in Sierra Leone of citizenship on the basis of color (such as on the basis of their grandparents not being of Negro African descent) and that the new constitution should clearly states that anyone born in Sierra Leone is equally entitled to rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship.

CARL also recommended that section 16 of the 1991 Constitution be amended to incorporate the principle that the right to life is inviolable.

They recommends that a new section 16 (1) should be inserted to state that every human being shall be entitled to the respect for his or her life and the integrity of his or her person, as recommended by the TRC report.

The organization further mentioned that the death penalty be totally abolished in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone for all offences. They stated that it is an imperative recommendation of the TRC report, meaning the government is required to implement it immediately or as soon as possible.

“ If the penalty remains mandatory, Sierra Leone will continue to fail in its obligation to comply with article 7 of ICCPR which states that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” CARL mentioned

They pointed out that the constitution reinforces citizens’ right to life by prohibiting capital punishment, without necessarily prohibiting abortion.

Carl recommended to the Committee that all emergency measures be subject to judicial review by the courts of Sierra Leone and also the United Nations Human Rights Committee states that, “during a state of emergency, judicial remedies must be available so that citizens can contest the legality of special measures, including detention.”

They mentioned that the South African Constitution has already contains such a provision and that section 37 (3) states that: “any competent court may decide on the validity of a declaration of a state of emergency and any extension of a declaration of a state of emergency”.

They organization said, pursuant to section 124 of the 1991constitution, the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone is the arbiter of all constitutional matters, but the TRC report recommends that serious consideration be given to extending constitutional jurisdiction to other courts making up judicature, namely the High Court of justice and Court of Appeal and said that CARL fully adopts the recommendation made by TRC.

However, the TRC also recommends the setting up of separate constitutional court to arbitrate all constitutional matters, as this would contribute to the development of a more vibrant constitutional jurisprudence in Sierra Leone which would, therefore, require an amendment to section 124 of the constitution.