Africa: ECOWAS court rules that Sierra Leone Vice President was illegally Removed


The ECOWAS Court of Justice, which additionally has original jurisdiction to hear complaints of the violation of Human Rights brought by ECOWAS citizens, has today, Monday the 27th of November, 2017, ruled that the removal of Vice President Sam Sumana from office in 2015 by President Koroma, violated his fundamental human rights to fair hearing and to participate in politics, as guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (in particular Articles 7 and 13), and other international human rights instruments.

The Court dismissed, in limine, the argument of Sierra Leone to the effect that the ECOWAS Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case. The reasons given by Sierra Leone for their objection are really not intelligible, as the Protocol establishing the Ecowas Court as amended (Articles 9(4) and 10(d)) is clear on the matter, and Sierra Leone is a signatory to that and related Protocols.

In sum, the ECOWAS Court held that:
1. It had jurisdiction to hear the Application by H.E. Sam Sumana for the enforcement of his Fundamental Human Rights.

2. That the removal of H.E. Sam Sumana from office was wrongful, as it violated his right to appeal the decision, and therefore his right to Natural Justice and to a fair hearing, and further occasioned a violation of his right to participate in politics.

3. That Sierra Leone should pay to H. E. Sam Sumana all his salaries, emoluments, perquisites, etc from the date of removal and to date.

4. That other reliefs sought by the Applicant would not be granted by the Court because they have either lapsed, are predicated on the domestic laws of Sierra Leone, and in order to avoid chaos in the Country (details in full judgment).

5. Costs were awarded to the Applicant, H. E. Sam Sumana, to be calculated by the Registry of the Court.

H. E. Sam Sumana was represented by two law firms in Nigeria and Ghana, Falana & Falana and Atuguba & Associates, led by Femi Falana and Dr. Raymond Atuguba.

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