Following the attack, vandalisation and looting of the SLPP Headquarters and alleged rape of 6 female supporters on March 13 and 16, 2009, the international community and civil society organizations have facilitated several efforts for bi-partisan dialogue. Yesterday Dr. Kadie Sesay addressed a Press briefing at the SLPP Office to challenge the Inspector General of Police Brima Acha Kamara’s recent report on the matter.
Dr. Kadie Sesay lamented that “what is most disheartening is the unprofessional and premature dismissal of the cases of rape of 6 Sierra Leonean women. This is a dishonest attempt to influence the work of the Commission of Enquiry into the rape cases and an abuse of our women folk.”
“In any case, there is an internationally accepted code that in the investigation of rape cases, only the court can pass a verdict. The business of the police is to investigate and submit findings to the Judiciary for possible prosecution. It is improper and unprofessional and against international practice for the Inspector General of Police to publicly pass verdict on the reported rape cases” she said.
Dr. Kadie Sesay also noted that the investigation is in progress and because of the allegations of police partiality and unprofessional conduct, among other things, the Communiqué proposes the conduct of an independent review into the attack, vandalisation and looting of the SLPP Headquarters.
The Communiqué also recommends an Independent Commission of Enquiry into reported cases of rape. We are pleased that H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma has agreed to the independent investigation of these acts. We look forward to the commencement of these investigations. She stressed.
She further stated that whilst, these efforts are in progress, it is imperative that we all work together to ensure the successful implementation of the Joint Communiqué. Dr. Kadie said the recent emergency press briefing called by the Inspector General of Police held on Monday April 6, 2009 and the ensuing radio interviews have the potentials to undermine the Communiqué and reverse this nation to political violence.
It would be recalled that, following the attack on the SLPP Office on September 17, 2007 the police commenced investigation into the matter. Whilst the investigation was in progress, the Inspector General of Police prematurely accused the SLPP supporters of attacking the SLPP Office. Although there was an investigation into the incident of August 13, 2008, no report has been produced and no action followed.
She said that there are police investigations into the March 13 and 16, 2009 attacks and destruction of our office as well as the reported cases of rape. On March 18, 2009, the Inspector General, as usual admitted a case of rape in a premise outside the SLPP Office. In the emergency press briefing on Monday April 6, 2009, Mr. Acha Kamara again dismissed the involvement of notorious thugs like Foday Government Wharf and Idrissa Kamara, ak.a. Leather boot.
Additionally, the 22 youths that were trapped in the main hall of the SLPP Headquarters and rescued by the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General were immediately charged to court whilst perpetrators were freed. The Criminal Investigation Department has also invited some of our members for further clarification meaning that the police investigation is still in progress. Yet, the Inspector General of Police continues with premature propaganda in favour of APC. This is unacceptable. She argued.
This negative action of the Inspector General to protect criminals will promote the culture of impunity and pervert justice. This action will also undermine the smooth implementation of the Joint Communiqué. She therefore called on all peace loving Sierra Leoneans to oppose any act by whosoever to undermine the implementation of this historic document we have just signed.
On our part, she said “we have already sent copies to SLPP district offices for dissemination and onward transmission to all constituencies. We have also sent copies to all MPs, briefed our stakeholders and have started sensitizing our membership nationwide. We are firmly committed to the Joint Communiqué and would like to reiterate our firm commitment to peace and stability in our country.”
The visits by the National Secretary-General of the APC, Mr. Victor Foh and later H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma to the SLPP Headquarters were very positive moves in building the confidence of our membership. We look forward to improved relationship between the two parties, she concluded.