• August 29, 2023


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That the letter to President Julius Maada Bio from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – ICC, Karim A. A. Khan, is authentic has been cleared by the acknowledgement of the president’s spokesman, Hon Alhaji Alpha Sahid Bakar Kanu, of their receipt of the letter that has now been shared widely on the news media. That the president is not worried, we have been informed differently; the explanation for why he could possibly be invited, as per the principal’s spokesman, we dare present other possibilities.

According to sources close to the corridors of power, the letter of invitation, though initially trivialised, has been causing sleepless nights and worries about the true intention of the letter.

‘We have been reliably informed that this invitation is not to praise the president, it is not to give him a position. You have to understand that people receive our president out of courtesy and diplomatic protocol. It does not mean that they are not aware of our elections problem. You should not think that as “doctor of coups” as his wife described him that the ICC will want to discuss the issues across West Africa with military coups. His expertise is not needed here; Westerners know how to deal with junta regimes,’ our sources opined.

What we have been told is that speculations are rife at Fort Thornton that this meeting could spell the beginning of the end of the road for the principal’s return after getting rid of the Brigadier General’s uniform for the suit of a democrat. People we are told are being asked to come up with a list of possible charges the ICC could bring and even list of possible charges that people or organisations could make against the principal at the ICC. The good, the bad and the ugly of Karim Asad Ahmad Khan’s letter to Bio are being looked into by our government in Freetown.

What we know is that the prosecutor is a very serious guy and from his profile we do not see any reason for him to want to meet our principal if it does not have to do with human rights issues.

According to the ICC on 12 February 2021, Mr Karim A. A. Khan KC was elected as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Nineteenth Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in New York. Mr Khan was sworn-in on 16 June 2021. Karim A. A. Khan was an Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and served as the first Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to promote accountability for crimes committed by Da’esh/ISIL in Iraq (UNITAD) between 2018 and 2021.

UNITAD was established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2379 (2017), to promote accountability efforts for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Da’esh/ISIL. Karim is a barrister and Queen’s Counsel with more than 25 years of professional experience as an international criminal law and human rights lawyer.

He has extensive experience as a prosecutor, victim’s counsel and defence lawyer in domestic and international criminal tribunals, including, but not limited to, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He has also represented victims of human rights violations in Africa and Asia.

From his profile we can see that Mr Khan’s area of focus is mainly genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and human rights abuses. It cannot be overstated here that when we consider the history of our principal including actions they took as a military junta that resulted to several executions of past leaders or public figures and the actions of his subordinates since he became head in 2018, Mr Khan should have had a meeting with him a long time ago. That would have saved us from what has been going on since the 24 June elections results were announced.

In democratic jurisprudence the actions of the body are not wholly divorced from the head, as all things flow from the head. Consequently, the actions of those you hire can be seen as yours. The principle of command or superior instruction dictates that if you as a principal calls people terrorists and soldiers or other security sector people were to shoot them, they did so because you the principal called the people terrorists, and it is the job of any well-meaning state security officer, army and or police, of the state to shoot such a one.

From practice our president is not being considered for any leadership roles in the comity of nations based on the ICC letter. His “electoral victory” has not been accepted by any nation or organisation of note. Based on how he “won” the presidency and in light of how leaders are accused of orchestrating institutional coups have been ousted by the military in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, we cannot divorce this invitation from the ICC prosecutor to our head of government as a meeting to discuss his role in the system of things.

His presence at the UN will not be because he is not wanted there; it will happen because he is wanted and expected to be there. His guilt or how this invite will end up will be determined based on if he attends the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly and Debates, or if he sends a representative.

According to sources in the legal sector, the principal should indeed be worried. His and the actions of those under him have resulted to the deaths of civilians and officers, with widespread destruction of private and public property. A case can be made going back to the 90s.

‘Will he be arrested like Charles Taylor in someone else’s country, we cannot really say but we should not count it out as we speculate on how things could be for Sierra Leone and our head of government after Tuesday, 19 September 2023. We will have to wait and see, but Karim Khan does not invite people to offer them positions or discuss electoral issues or their roles in the military’s actions in other nations. Our president loves to travel and be seen at such events. This is a great bait or coup by the ICC. Remember the ICC is at The Hague and this event is scheduled to take place at New York,’ our legal source intimated this press.

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