By KABS KANU
Former UN Diplomat
Yesterday, many Sierra Leoneans, some of them supporters of the ruling SLPP, displayed strong aversion to our articles blaming President Maada Bio for the violent attack at Mile 91 and the attendant rapes and killing of an innocent 29 year old boy. Their argument is that the horrific deeds were committed by the Sierra Leone Police and not the President or his party, the SLPP, so President Bio is not to blame . REALLY ?
First of all, from all the testimonies from the scene and even from officials of the Bio Government, the Yoni attack was not a Police operation. The Police top brass were not informed about the operation. The raid , according to the Local Unit Commander ( LUC ) at Mile 91 and ONS officials was ordered by President Bio. But we are dealing with that in a separate article.
While the people defending President Bio are entitled to their defence, they better try to learn more about how the international world and international system and politics operate today in our globalized world. I have chosen to take my time to provide this very important information to them so that they will understand that we no longer live in the world of the distant past when there was no interconnectivity between state and the world community in terms of accountability for violations of international law . Today, the demands and expectations of the international system in this globalized world are that the state is now held accountable for the fundamental rights to life and protection from harm of its citizens.
The United Nations established the system in the early 2000s through the instrumentality, first of the late Secretary General, Kofi Annan. The system dictates that leaders and the state can be held accountable for the welfare of their citizens , under the UN RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT CONCEPT, introduced following the perceived failure of the states to protect their citizens from the the bloody atrocities in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia , Bosnia, Kosovo etc.
According to the UN Office of Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, which was ultimately set up, “The concept of the responsibility to protect drew inspiration of Francis Deng’s idea of “State sovereignty as a responsibility” and affirmed the notion that sovereignty is not just protection from outside interference – rather is a matter of states having positive responsibilities for their population’s welfare, and to assist each other. Consequently, the primary responsibility for the protection of its people rested first and foremost with the State itself.”
Did you hear that, SLPP supporters ? In our new globalized world of accountability for human rights abuses , the UN now deems it that the primary responsibility for the protection of the people now rests first and foremost with the state itself. We have learnt that the Mile 91 raid was not a police operation , but if it had been so, with the Police being a state institution , the state is first to carry the blame.
The UN Doctrine of RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT has therefore invested on the Head of State and his government the primary responsibility for making sure that their citizens are safe. This particular case becomes even more serious and it implicates President Bio even more via the revelation that his office ordered the raid.
Since President Bio came to power in March, serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law have been committed by his supporters and the Police , but Mr. Bio is deceiving himself that as long as he personally is not the one out there with knives and guns committing the acts, he is not culpable. YOU ARE WRONG, SIR. YOU ARE DEAD WRONG ! ! ! You have the primary responsibility to protect your people. The bucks starts and stops with you.
It is even an act of gross ignorance and irresponsibility by President Bio and SLPP supporters to say that the government inherited a fractured and indisciplined Police Force. First of all, this is not true. The SLPP inherited a well-trained and professional Police Force But again, even if that had been true, the excuse is not acceptable because the questions that will be asked are : WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO RESTRAIN THE POLICE DURING YOUR TENURE ? DID YOU IMPOSE ON THE POLICE ANY MANDATORY CODE OF CONDUCT OR ETHICS TO RESTRAIN THEM FROM COMMITTING ATROCITIES ? WHAT PUNITIVE MEASURES HAVE YOU INSTITUTED TO DETER THESE ATROCITIES ? WHAT DID YOU DO TO MAKE THE POLICE A FORCE FOR GOOD ?
The APC is no longer in power and the APC is no longer accountable for atrocities in the nation . It is the SLPP that is in power and thus accountable for whatever happens in Sierra Leone.
Therefore, President Bio is responsible for the rapes and killing by the Police at Mile 91. The international system looks at President Bio as having functional leadership oversight over the nation and where armed individuals persist to commit atrocities , it is the fault of President Bio.. It shows that he was reckless with his duties as Head of State. He failed to protect his people and deserves to be blamed.