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Wednesday, 22 March 2017 21:28

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely those of the author)

In every state, the justice system can be properly evaluated based on the manner in which the poor and vulnerable people do access justice. Effective administration of justice is the cornerstone of good governance, rule of law and human rights.  The enjoyment of the right to access to justice and the dispensation of justice in any state must not stand on political influence or affluent. It is prejudicialto discriminate against the poor and vulnerable persons wanting to access justice.

The justice system of any state must not be operating in a way that the poor and vulnerable are discriminated against due to their inability to hire the services of legal practitioners.  The right to access to justice essentially is one of the fundamental human rights. In my view, Justice surpasses the boundaries of a single legal system. In actual fact, Justice is a virtue and in essence, it is more than a sector and even more than a power. The right to access to justice is one of the most important human rights and it is conceived as both a means and an end to justice.


Establishing a legal Aid system in any state is one way by which the government can provide for the poor and vulnerable people to enable them have access to justice. Legal aid is a medium by which the poor and vulnerable people in society will enjoy the right to access to justice without any limitation.  It is obvious that without an effective and or operative legal system, the poor and vulnerable people will continue to wallow in despair by facing huge challenges in accessing justice.  Access to justice is a human right which ought to be protected by law and guaranteed by the state. When a state fails to create the enabling environment for the promotion and protection of fundamentalhuman rights, those rights will definitely become meaningless.  The fact is access to justice is a germane component of the Rule of Law.



Access to justice can be perceived as both a means and an end to justice. It is a means as it concerns the efficient method of enabling users of justice system to benefit from the end product of justice. Likewise, it can be perceived as an end, in the protection of an individual’s right to justice through ease of access when the need arises. The lack of access to justice and or the unfair dispensation of justice in any state will ultimately undermine the tenets of good governance, rule of law and human rights.


The popularly known phrase “Rule of Law” is frequently used but little explained or understood that no one is above the law. The term ‘rule of law’ can be interpreted as the restriction of arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established rules or guidelines. Effective legal aid has undoubtedly been deemed one of the most important aspects of access to justice. The fight in the promotion and protection of the right to access to justice must not be hindered by anyone. This means public officials, rule of law and development advocates are therefore energized to implement new strategies to ensure that the right to access to justice is constructively promoted and protected. It is the responsibility of government to ensure that this very important Rule of Law guarantee is not sacrificed due to other factors like unavailability of funds.


The plain truth is that for a Legal Aid scheme to function effectively, government must in the first place aware of the fact thatthere are huge number ofmembers of the public likethe poor and vulnerable ones who are suffering in accessing justice. Secondly, government must have passion for these people, and thirdly, government must be committed in providing consistent and adequate funding to the Legal Aid Board. It is an established fact that operative legal aid has undoubtedly been deemed the most important aspect of access to justice. In developing and developed countries, financing of an effective legal aid program is of priority to governments.A central reasoning is that the extent to which legality is valued, facilitated and guaranteed by the treatment of the necessary components is a determinant of whether the said components work to make legal aid systems effective.


The point is made that effectiveness of law, being a cognitive institution, requires that the legal aid system is sustainable and demand-oriented, being targeted at the needs of the most needy “rights-holders” and constantly being monitored and evaluated, albeit avoiding bureaucracy. The legal aid service should be comparable to paid legal services and be aimed at client-satisfaction or high clients’ approval. Where possible, it should facilitate diversion from litigation to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), to save the poor and vulnerable people from the challenges faced in courts and the strain on public funds.A few examples of the kinds of cases which have traditionally qualified for legal aid include: when someone with dementia is facing eviction and cannot fight the case against their local authority by themselves; when a victim of domestic violence needs to ensure safety for themselves (and in many cases also their children); and when someone has been accused of committing a crime.


Access to justice as a fundamental human right and it can be render meaningless if government does not create the enabling environment for the poor and the vulnerable ones to enjoy it without any discrimination. Legal aid is essential to guaranteeing equal access to justice for the poor and the vulnerable people in society.Normally, laws have been known to exist and the essence for that is to regulate human behaviour. Law regulates society and sets standards by which the rights of every individual or creature, their person or property are respected promoted and protected. Sierra Leone as a state is a member of the world community and being such must be governed by certain rules which ensure that society operate regularly like other members of the global community. From that we observe that the law itself forms a social instrument which acts as a lubricating oil for the effectiveness of society. Therefore, an effective and operative legal aid system is an important aspect of access to justice.Conclusively,establishing a legal Aid system in any state is one way by which the government can provide for the poor and vulnerable people to enable them have access to justice



26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.


Media News

Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.




Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”


View Point

How and Why I endorse Julius Maada Bio for President?

I have

I have endorsed Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for the SLPP presidential ticket in the March 7 2018 elections because I strongly believe in his project and ability to succeed as our next president if given the opportunity.  Perhaps I need to provide  some context as to how, when and why I took this decision.

Maada Bio is the second presidential candidate I have ever endorsed in Sierra Leone. The first was late president TejanKabbah during the campaigns in the 1996 general elections, which he won. I was then publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Expo Times, which won the best-selling newspaper award from the National Vendors Association that year. At the time, my newspaper was the largest circulation and most widely read newspaper in the country and my nearest competitors were For Di People and Concord Times. When the presidential election campaigns became heated and the battle lines were clearly drawn with the three front-runners, TejanKabbah of the SLPP, Karefa-Smart of the UNPP, and Thaimu Bangura of PDP (SORBEH), For Di People declared for and endorsed Karefa-Smart and the UNPP while Concord Times declared for and endorsed Thaimu Bangura and the PDP. Dr Prince Harding and Banda-Thomas then approached me to endorse and help TejanKabbah of the SLPP, who was then the clear frontrunner according to Opinion polls, to win the elections. 


News - Press Release

EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.


Society -Local News


'A nation cannot progress when its citizens allow bribery to prevail over their sense of patriotism', says Simeon D. Sam Crop Officer, Tonkolili Agriculture Office. He made this statement at an awareness raising engagement organized by the Northern Region Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday 4th October 2017.  

Addressing staff of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) at their Post Office Road Office in Magburaka, ACC Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh said, the Pay No Bribe (PNB) campaign is a sustained approach which gives opportunity to ministries, departments and agencies to deal with bribery issues from within their institutions.

Mr. Saccoh stated that the PNB has enabled citizens to interact with the reporting platform, report incidents of bribery using the PNB channels. Saccoh noted that though Tonkolili is not a PNB district, citizens in that part of the country should be aware of the campaign and could use the platform equally.



U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.



PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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