Awareness Times Newspaper can confirm that former Cabinet Ministers of the erstwhile All Peoples Congress (APC) led government are preparing to file legal papers to the Supreme Court on the matter of the impending abuse of their human rights to a free and fair judicial process as enshrined in the 1991 Constitution as well as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The current Government is insisting on having Commissions of Inquiry (COIs) be held without obeying the dictates of the Constitution which, in a protective measure, states precisely how such COIs should be regulated.
The Constitution does not grant self-regulation powers to Commissioners. However, the Government is pushing for the Commissioners to regulate themselves which the APC as a party and its Ministers, are rejecting as unconstitutional and contrary to Section 150 of the 1991 Constitution which section is a human rights protective clause based on historical antecedents.
According to several of the former APC Cabinet Ministers who spoke to this newspaper, they had long since prepared their legal papers to file under several sections including Section 28 of the Sierra Leone Constitution which mandates the Chief Justice to ensure such matters are heard, argued and ruled upon within no more than 30 days.
They however said they had delayed to file for strategic reasons.
It can be recalled that a Supreme Court case which was brought a month ago by the Sierra Leone Bar Association touching on the same issue of Section 150 which says only the Rules of Court Committee has such powers to make rules for regulation of COIs, has not yet been listed for hearing.
It appears the Honourable Chief Justice is exercising his discretion not to have the Bar association matter listed down for hearing as yet. However, in the matters being planned by the former APC Ministers, they will be coming under several laws but particularly under a specific Section that has to do with their human rights.
This means the Chief Justice has to list their matters down immediately and have them handled by five judges of the Supreme Court; all within less than 30 days.
“We have prepared our Case long ago… But the time was not right to file. It is now the best time for us to file the kind of case we plan to file. We will be doing so soon. We had to wait until after the three Judges appointed as Sole Commissioners had purported to issue their own rules and directions in contravention of the laid down Law of the Constitution which says the Rules of Court Committee should do so. Any time earlier was not Strategic. We are definitely going to Supreme Court for our rights to a fair and legal judicial process,” a former female Cabinet Minister stated.
About the threats to use force to drag them from their houses to go and face a Judicial body that they claim is unconstitutional, one of the former male Ministers said “They are busy marching through the streets with policemen and soldiers in a display of muscle power. They are using muscle power to bully and intimidate and it is so shameful but we are using brain power. We believe brainpower will defeat muscle power because the pen has always been mightier than the sword and it is always been good to jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war”.
Another senior APC functionary said: “The Rule of Law must prevail inside Sierra Leone. It prevailed under Tejan Kabbah. It prevailed under Ernest Bai Koroma and it should prevail under H.E. Julius Maada Bio. Our President should protect the Consitution. Not circumvent it. Simple!”