World Day against the Death Penalty: NPWJ congratulates Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma awarded ‘abolitionist of the year 2012’

11 Oct, 2012 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome – New York, 11 October 2012

On 10 October 2012, during a ceremony held at State House in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the seat of the Presidency of the Republic, a delegation of Hands Off Cain (HOC) and the Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) conferred the Award “Abolitionist of the Year 2012” to President Ernest Bai Koroma in recognition of his engagement to abolish the death penalty in Sierra Leone as well as in international fora. The HOC/NRPTT delegation was composed of the Secretary of HOC, Sergio D’Elia; the co-vice President of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Senator Marco Perduca; and Elisabetta Zamparutti, Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Treasurer of HOC.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by Franklyn Bai Kargbo, Sierra Leone Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Ambassador Allieu Ibrahim Kanu, former Sierra Leone Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations and member of the General Council of the NRPTT, Rahim Kamara, Director of the NGO Manifesto 99 and member of the General Council of the NRPTT, and Amnesty International.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel and Coordinator of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice warmly congratulates President Ernest Bai Koroma for being awarded “Abolitionist of the Year 2012” in recognition of his demonstrated commitment to support a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty in Sierra Leone.

“Since President Koroma came to office in 2007, there have been no executions carried out in the country; in fact, the death penalty has not been carried out in Sierra Leone for the past 14 years.  In 2011, on the occasion of Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations, President Koroma commuted all death sentences of people on death row to life imprisonment. The same year, the Government of Sierra Leone accepted in principle fifteen resolutions issued by the UN Human Rights Council calling for the abolishment of the death penalty, subject to a Constitutional Review process that is scheduled to be resumed after the elections to be held in mid-November this year.

“For these reasons, President Koroma was an excellent choice as recipient of this year’s “Abolitionist of the Year”. We look forward to his continued leadership on this issue and to the Government of Sierra Leone taking all necessary steps to abolish the death penalty in national legislation as well as to demonstrate its commitment at international level by voting in favour of the Universal Moratorium of the Death Penalty expected in December this year at the United Nations General Assembly.”

No Peace Without Justice and Sierra Leone
NPWJ’s long standing and wide ranging program in Sierra Leone is designed to contribute to accountability for violations of international criminal law. The program has contributed to the establishment and functioning of the Special Court, as well as to strengthening Sierra Leonean society’s ability to address violations of human rights and humanitarian law. In recent years, NPWJ has also been working in Sierra Leone on ICC issues, including implementing legislation and holding seminars and round table discussions. NPWJ plans to continue its involvement in Sierra Leone for the purpose of enabling the government and local stakeholders to participate in and influence the processes for re-establishing and maintaining the rule of law, peace and stability.

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-3915.