223/98 Forum of Conscience / Sierra Leone Summary of Facts 1. The complaint is submitted by the Forum of Conscience, a Sierra Leonean Human Rights NGO, on behalf of 24 soldiers who were executed on 19th October 1998 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. 2. The Complainant alleges that the 24 soldiers were tried and sentenced to death by a Court Martial for their alleged roles in the coup that overthrew the elected government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabah. 3. The communication alleges further that the trial of the soldiers by the Court Martial was flawed in law and in violation of Sierra Leone's obligation under the African Charter. 4. It is also alleged that the Court Martial that tried and convicted the above- mentioned victims allowed no right of appeal against conviction or sentence to a higher tribunal and was therefore in breach of Article 7 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. 5. The complainant contends that the public execution of the 24 soldiers on 19th October 1998 after being denied right of appeal to a higher tribunal also amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of the right to life contrary to Article 4 of the African Charter. Complaint The Complainant alleges violation of Articles 1, 4 and 7 (1) (a) and 7(1) (d) of the African Charter. Procedure 6. The communication was received at the Secretariat on 24th October 1998. 7. At its 25th Ordinary Session held in Bujumbura, Burundi, the Commission postponed consideration of the communication to its 26th Ordinary Session. 8. On 11th May 1999, the Secretariat of the Commission notified the parties of this decision. 9. At its 26th Ordinary Session held in Kigali, Rwanda, the Commission decided to be seized of the communication. 10. Between 14th and 19th February 2000, when the Commission's delegation visited Sierra Leone on a promotional mission, the subject of the complaint was taken up with relevant government officials, including the Attorney General of Sierra Leone. 11. On 2nd March 2000, the Secretariat of the Commission informed the parties of the decision taken by the Commission at its 26th Ordinary Session. 12. On the 11 April 2000, the complainant responded to the indicated herein. 1 . 13. At its 27th Ordinary Session held in Algeria, the Commission examined the case and declared it admissible. It requested the parties to furnish it with arguments on the merits of the case. 14. The above decision was communicated to the parties on 12th July 2000. Law Admissibility 15. The Commission takes note of the fact that the complaint was filed on behalf of people who were already executed. In this regard, the Commission held that there were no local remedies for the complainant to exhaust. Further that even if such possibility had existed, the execution of the victims had completely foreclosed such a remedy. 1

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