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Reading: Sierra Leone Court of Appeal rules against absolute immunity for high-ranking officials
Reading: Sierra Leone Court of Appeal rules against absolute immunity for high-ranking officials

Sierra Leone Court of Appeal rules against absolute immunity for high-ranking officials

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Sierra Leone Court
Sierra Leone Court

On December 14th, 2023, the Sierra Leone Court of Appeal issued a final verdict on a case that has been in the public eye since October 13th, 2020. The case was initiated by the former president, Ernest Bai Koroma, who filed a Notice of Appeal against the respondents, the Attorney-General, and Minister of Justice, citing seven grounds.

This landmark judgment challenges conventional norms and establishes a crucial legal standpoint in Sierra Leone. The Court’s decision signifies a departure from the notion of absolute immunity for high-ranking officials, asserting that accountability remains paramount, even for those who have held the highest office in the land. During the courtroom proceedings, the Court of Appeal delivered a significant pronouncement. The judges, in unanimity, declared that “there is no legal provision, whether in statute or common law, in Sierra Leone that grants absolute immunity to any individual, including the President.” The ruling emphasized that such immunity does not shield a person from investigation and subsequent prosecution for gross misconduct, particularly criminal offenses, including corruption, whether committed during their tenure or after leaving office.

The case has broader implications for the country’s legal landscape, potentially influencing future legal proceedings involving public figures. It underscores the commitment of the judiciary to uphold the rule of law and ensure that no individual is beyond the reach of justice. Former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s appeal and the subsequent ruling have sparked discussions across the nation, prompting a reevaluation of legal frameworks and immunity provisions. The judgment stands as a testament to the principles of transparency, accountability, and the pursuit of justice within the nation’s legal system

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