Envoys of Sierra Leone and South Sudan to China on Monday, 22nd August, 2016 had information and experience sharing session on both countries’ wars, post war challenges, process of truth, reconciliation and healing, hybrid courts and international justice tribunals and legislation for truth commission.
The meeting came, following a request to Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma by South Sudan’s Ambassador to China, Dr. Michael Milli Hussein “to share and learn from the experiences” of Sierra Leone’s peace process.
Ambassador Alimamy P. Koroma highlighted a number of institutions that played a major role in facilitating an end to the civil war, not least civil society and religious groups and the international community, including the UN and regional bodies.
With a non partisan approach, he said, religious bodies and civil society groups largely helped in the process, further encouraging his South Sudanese counterpart to ensure a strengthened civil society in his country.
The post war rebuilding efforts included investigating causes of the war and ensuring justice for victims of the war, both leading to the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a Special Court.
On the creation of the Special Court, Ambassador Koroma said, it was as the result of a request to the United Nations in 2000 by the then Government of Sierra Leone for “a special court” to try those “who bear the greatest responsibility” for the decade long civil war in the country.
Though the court’s establishment was a government decision, he said, there was little or nothing government could say or do in terms of proceedings.
A Truth and Reconciliation approach, he further said, could be a better approach to addressing post war challenges, since, in his view, it gives opportunity to victims to speak out and share experiences.“It also gives an opportunity for perpetrators to apologize and victims would see their sufferings being acknowledged”, Ambassador Koroma said.
South Sudan’s Ambassador, Dr. Michael Milli Hussein whilst speaking, also shared his country’s war experience and ongoing peace efforts.
He spoke of the existence of civil society groups and how they have been major players in the peace process.
As country, he said, they have agreed for a TRC model as in the case with Sierra Leone and Liberia but that there had been some calls for a hybrid court from regional bodies.
Issues bordering on post war reconstruction efforts, disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation processes; role of neighboring countries, opening up of the political space for a participatory approach and involvement of civil militia groups in the conflicts of both countries, were extensively discussed by both envoys.
Both envoys have agreed to further discussions by way of follow-up meetings.
Attending the session were officials from the Sierra Leone Embassy including Minister Counsellor/Head of Chancery Unisa Sahid Kamara, the Counsellor and First Secretary.
Dr. Michael Milli Hussein was accompanied by his deputy, Raphael Nhial Kulang, Head of Economic, Trade and Investments Section, Monday Semaya K. Kumba, Defense Attaché, Brig.Gen Bior Kuir Deng Bior and First Secretary, Peter Cafenol Oryomo.
John Baimba Sesay
Sierra Leone Embassy
People’s Republic of China