In a bid to facilitate and put mechanisms in place geared towards attaining a peaceful and accountable electoral process in the country, the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law – Sierra Leone (CARL-SL) has on Tuesday 7th February, 2023 launched the Electoral Justice & Security Projects.
The two projects that seek to support electoral justice and accountability for human rights violations and electoral offences during the elections were launched at CARL’s Head Office on Circular Road in Freetown.
Speaking during the launch, the Executive Director, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law – Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Tommy, said the two projects, which are funded by the Government of Ireland and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), respectively seek to advance efforts towards a peaceful and accountable electoral process, adding that the projects will support the speedy and fair resolution of election-related complaints, ensure accountability for human rights violations during the electoral process and strengthen the capacity of law enforcement officers and alternative electoral dispute resolution bodies.
“When laws regulating public elections are deemed to have been breached or violated, it is critically important that those charged with the responsibility of enforcing and or interpreting the law do so with fairness, professionalism and reasonable speed. That’s the only way we can reduce violence in elections and enhance public trust in the process,” he stated.
The Executive Director added that the two projects provide an opportunity for effective collaboration between CARL, its partners and State actors to address any issue that arises.
He said that specifically the Irish Aid-funded project, which is part of a broader project, coordinated by the Institute for Governance Reform, will support the documentation of electoral complaints and calls for the speedy resolution of such complaints by the courts and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, furthering that CARL will also raise awareness about electoral laws and processes, and undertake advocacy for the protection of the civic space, including the right to Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Speech.
Ibrahim Tommy revealed that OSIWA’s funding will support the implementation of a Project titled: “Promoting a Safe and Peaceful Electoral Process through an Accountable Security Sector”.
He intimated that as part of the Project, CARL will document and produce reports on incidents of police brutality and politically-motivated violence, monitor proceedings before accountability mechanisms relating to incidents of police brutality, undertake advocacy for increased funding to oversight and law enforcement institutions, and contribute to empowering the capacity of law enforcement agencies.
“A recent report by CARL on the administration of electoral justice concluded that elections in Sierra Leone are often characterized by incidents of politically-motivated violence, an inadequate and highhanded response by law enforcement officers, and delay in addressing electoral complaints and holding perpetrators to account. These projects will build on the gains made over the past two years as part of the Irish Aid funded Projects implemented by CARL, the Institute of Governance Reform, and the Office of National Security,” he assured and concluded.