The Eonomic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice yesterday 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, which additionally has original jurisdiction to hear complaints of the violation of human rights brought by ECOWAS citizens, dismissed, in limine, the argument of Sierra Leone to the effect that the ECOWAS Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.
The court also ruled that 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.
The ECOWAS Court held that it had jurisdiction to hear the application by Sam Sumana for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
Salaries and emoluments
According to the court, the removal of 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.
It ruled that Sierra Leone should pay to Sumana all his salaries, emoluments, perquisites, etc. from the date of removal to date.
It also ruled 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”.
Costs were awarded to the applicant, Sumana, to be calculated by the Registry of the court.
Sumana was represented by two law firms in Nigeria and Ghana, Falana & Falana and Atuguba & Associates, led by Femi Falana and Dr Raymond Atuguba.
Source: Daily Graphic
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