Globally, We Walk Tall Because of You – Judge Tells President Koroma
By State House Communications Unit
The Sierra Leone Institute of International Law (SLIIL) has said the leadership style of President Ernest Bai Koroma makes Sierra Leoneans to “walk tall with their heads held high in global corridors of justice and human rights”.
JUDGE KOROMA HANDING THE AWARD TO PRESIDENT ERNEST KOROMA
The board and members of the institute were at State House on Wednesday 23rd April 2014 to award President Koroma with their highest honour of “Fellow” in recognition of his demonstration of a high level of commitment to human rights and international law, at a presentation ceremony held at State House.
The delegation was led by the Institute’s President, Judge Abdul Gadirie Koroma (same surname but not a relative of President Koroma).
AMBASSADOR ALLIEU KANU READING THE CITATION OF THE AWARD TO PRESIDENT KOROMA
Judge A.G. Koroma who recently retired from the International Court of Justice at The Hague after serving for almost twenty years as an international jurist, said: “Your Excellency, you have shown high commitment to respect for human rights and upholding international humanitarian law for which, you tower above most of your contemporaries in Africa”.
Continuing, Judge A.G. Koroma said, “You have done this Nation proud”.
Judge Koroma gave an extensive highlight of how President Koroma serves as an exemplary supporter of human rights worldwide including his “remarkable skills in resolving the Yenga problem” through the President’s use of “international law to protect our country’s sovereignty”
“Today, we walk tall in global corridors with our heads held high because of your acclaimed leadership style,” Judge Koroma said.
Several speakers also made statements.
“We have been closely following your commitment to international humanitarian law. Your assertions, pronouncements and actions on matters concerning human rights show you are a friend of the human rights community, not only in Sierra Leone but globally,” said Mr. Rahim Kamara, a member of the Board.
Earlier, the Executive Director of the Institute, Ambassador Allieu I. Kanu, whilst introducing the distinguished delegation, told the President that they were all there to say “thank you for all what you have been doing for human rights”.
Ambassador Kanu informed of how the leadership of President Koroma heavily influenced a recent resolution of the African Union on the International Criminal Court. He said President Koroma gave instructions to the Sierra Leone delegation as to what was preferable for the African continent’s relationship with the ICC and that position, “caused the African Union Resolution to be re-crafted from the initial hard line”. He said such leadership stance of the President has not gone un-noticed around the world especially in global corridors of human rights and justice.
Furthermore, Ambassador Kanu stated that in New York and in Switzerland, the strong position of Sierra Leone under the leadership of President Koroma, with respect to many human rights issues, is now widely acknowledged. He cited the President’s stance on the Death Penalty, which “went a long way to convince other States to follow Sierra Leone’s footsteps for a moratorium on the Death Penalty”. Kanu said, “again, your stellar leadership in such matters of human rights, have not gone un-noticed around the world”.
Also as part of the visiting delegation was Madam Yeama Thompson, the Country Director of an international human rights organisation known as JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (JHR). She recognised the President’s “admirable commitment to human rights” and his respect for freedom of speech. She said JHR have been in Sierra Leone since the year 2006 during which JHR has trained up to 1,500 journalists.
“Your Excellency, I can state that the strong will from your government and especially you in particular, made our work so much easier. We appreciate your commitments and as part of the human rights family, we are thankful we have a president like yourself in Sierra Leone,” the JHR Country Director stated.
Speaking after he received the highly acclaimed international accolade, President Koroma said the honour and fine compliments being showered on him were not for him alone but were due also to “the Sierra Leone people who elected me and have continued to work with me and support me especially in the accomplishment of my government’s developmental programmes”.
President Koroma said he was “humbled” that such a “distinguished group of Sierra Leoneans” could cite him in such finery and accolades.
“A prophet is not normally honoured in his home” so “I feel very proud that even within my own domain, I have reiteration of the commendation I have been receiving from outside the country”.
“As a nation, we have come from a difficult past” President Koroma said but added that strong belief in the principle of rule of law, promotion of human rights and international law have added values to Sierra Leone’s democratic credentials which makes him very proud.
He called on Sierra Leoneans to work with him for a further entrenchment of democratic values.
He assured the Institute of his continuous commitment towards promoting human rights and international humanitarian law and wholeheartedly accepted the award and fellowship status of the institute.
The citation itself read thus; To His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Greetings! WHEREAS at the proceeding of the Board of the Sierra Leone Institute of International Law held on 23rd April 2014, Your Excellency was nominated and appointed to be awarded the highest honour of “Fellow” of the Institute in recognition of your commitment, through International Law, in promoting Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in Sierra Leone and Globally. THE AWARD of “Fellow” is also in recognition of Your Excellency’s commitment in promoting Social Justice as evidenced by the Agenda for Prosperity which is within the spirit and intendment of the United Nations Covenant On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966. THEREFORE, we do, in the presence of all these present, hereby grant unto you the Dignity of a Fellow of the Sierra Leone Institute of International Law and hereby authorise you to have, hold and enjoy the said Dignity together with all privileges thereunto belonging or appertaining. GIVEN in Freetown under our sign and public seal this Twenty Third day of April in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Fourteen”.
The delegation to State House included representatives of various human rights sectors including lawyers, students, disables and journalists. The event was successfully coordinated by the Special Executive Assistant (SEA) to the President, Dr. Sylvia Blyden.