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By Amin Kef Sesay

The Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Victor I. Lansana ESQ, has on the 31st January 2022 informed a cross section of  members of the Fourth Estate that the Commission will soon institute a public inquiry into the conducts of law enforcement officials across the country relating to allegations of human Rights violations.

During the Press briefing, the Vice Chairman of the Commission, Victor I. Lansana, disclosed that they have monitored, received and documented many allegations of human rights violations by law enforcement officials especially in the maintenance of Public Order of which the Commission has decided to institute a public inquiry.

He added that the scope of the Public Inquiry will be for seven years starting from 2015-2021.

The Human Rights Commission Vice Chair disclosed that the issues that will determine the inquiry are surrounded around the following; whether law enforcement officials used disproportionate force in the execution of their duties contrary to the UN Guiding Principles of the use of force and fire Arms; whether there were loss of lives and grievous bodily harm resulting from excessive use of force by law enforcement officials contrary to Section 16 of the 1991 constitution; whether law enforcement officials lost their lives or sustain grievous bodily harm in the hands  of members of the public while carrying their lawful duties contrary to Section 16 of the constitution among other reasons.

The Vice Chairman of the Commission also intimated that the inquiry will be divided into three phases which is the pre-inquiry stage which  will start from January-March for preparation of data collection, collection of further data on alleged human rights violations among others. Phase two of the inquiry will commence from April-May of which three panels will be sitting in different locations, Western Area, North-West and the South-East.

Phase three of the inquiry, which will commence from June to August, will deal with collation of evidence and analysis, Report produced and disseminated, strategic engagement with law enforcement agencies, and ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented.

“Members of the public are hereby invited to participate in the inquiry by providing information that will be useful in determining the issues before the panel. This information should be presented in the form of written memoranda either by individuals or groups of individuals or interested organization,” he welcomed inputs.

Victor Lansana also furthered that any person, institution or organization that wish to be named as an interested party in the inquiry, should make an application to be so named within a period of one month after the publication of the public notice. He concluded by sending a strong worded warning that any  falsification of documents and/or misleading information provided for the purposes of the inquiry will lead to punitive measures as provided for by the HRCSL complaint rules.

Courtesy of the Calabash 31 January 2022

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