Friday, June 25, 2010


By Victor Kaicombey.

“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”.

It is your legal rights to be “presumed Innocent until proven guilty”. The age-old legal principle, a legal norm that rest on the onus of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Many people are yet to take advantage of this principle in defence of their rights.
Consult your legal warrior and pursue your cause, that you may have all the chances to overcome the battle. Likely a shift from been ignorant to be well informed. Always seek advice from your Legal Aid before you say or do anything. Recognizing the burden of proof seems a fairly straightforward in respect and protection of your human rights, inalienable or natural rights.
Let’s take a look at the criminal justice system as the paradigm case. This is viewed by two ways by which a miscarriage of justice can come about. Either the suspect did not commit the crime, but the verdict found him guilty; or the suspect did commit the crime, but the verdict found him not guilty.

In a civilized system of justice, the risks of the first type of error are minimized as far as possible. These underscore the importance of the adage legal principle “innocent until proven guilty." The system contains safeguards and precautions in the form of high standards of proof so as to ensure that a suspect will be condemned for a certain criminal offense only if it has been established "beyond reasonable doubt" that he / she in fact committed the alleged offense.

We may try to reduce the risk of condemning an innocent person by demanding ever more exacting standards of proof but only at the expense of increasing the risk of acquitting culpable offenders. Are we realizing this type of system within our criminal justice system in Sierra Leone? Therefore, we must recognize that there is an inevitable trade-off involved in the design of our system of criminal justice. We may attempt to set our standards as high as we can, but somewhere a balance must be struck, lest the system will become unworkable by making it too difficult to pass sentence on the majority of wrongful offenders. Corruption in the legal system is a big weapon that dent the realization of criminal justice system by which justice is not given to the poor or the underprivileged in developing countries, my country is not in exception. How do we confront these challenges in our societies?

“Lack of evidence of harm is not evidence of lack of harm”
. If we are really concerned about such legal misconduct, we can put in additional investigative effort to learn more about their plausibility or likelihood. It would be absurd to halt our inquiries / investigation with an appeal...
At the other side of the coin, should our inquiries / criminal investigations be halt with an appeal? Why or why not? How do we relate with this appears to be an invitation for your comments.
Stay connected for my next article “Legal Bit”.


In Africa and some part of the world, children are being trafficked for forced labor especially in mining fields, as well as forced marriages and other harmful traditional practices. This is not only limited to Sexual exploitation.

In Sierra Leone, Poverty is an excuse based defence among the indigenous people that allow children in mining areas and the act of some harmful traditional practices like early forced marriages as one of the traditional and cultural norms in the society. This is against the international standards by which the country is a signatory to it instruments in defense and protection of the rights of the child. Apparently, the influxes in most trafficking victims are forced into prostitution in recent years.

“However, the trafficking of humans, especially our youth, is occurring in urban and rural communities across our country. We must not idly stand by and allow this heinous crime to continue. A crime against a child is a crime against humanity.” A comment from our member of Parliament (MP) in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada, Mrs. Joy Smith. “This clearly shows that Canadians, especially in Quebec, are concerned about the safety of our children.” Mrs. Smith concluded. In an effort to eradicate Child trafficking in Canada, the Canadian Government has tabled legislation, Bill C-268 in response to the call for human trafficking in Canada, a global concern. Mrs. Smith, my MP is one of my admirers in advocating, promotion and defense of human rights in Canada. She is one of the advocates behind a well drummed Bill C-268 in Canada. Yeah… we should popularize it indeed.

Bill C-268, has gained popular attention in the fight against human trafficking in Canada. This demonstrates the commitment and concern of the Canadian government in respect and protection of human rights as well as its obligations to international solidarity. “Child trafficking deserves our utmost attention and I hope that all Canadians will join in the fight against this modern day slavery.”Commented by MP Mrs. Smith.

Human trafficking must come to an end. It is a grossly wicked and reprehensible act in the human race. We have the privilege and opportunity to put an end to this heinous crime of human trafficking. Please join our team to advocate against human trafficking, a global call for justice. It should be done NOW than latter as a collective effort in the fight against human trafficking. Your comment is appreciated with thanks.

Together , We Can !!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Links of interest

Could Parlaiment Have Passed Into Law The London Mining Company Lease Agreement Hook, Line, And Sinker?

Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD)
Sierra Leone’s Parliament ratifies illegal mining agreement that is bad for the country’s development

Press Release


“AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE “: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’s Trends.

Negotiating mining agreements in most cases are based on the political well and aspirations of the government. I do encourage the negotiating policy / agreements to be in accordance with the country’s mining and minerals legal document/s that protect the environment and the rights of the indigenous.

In recent years, you can agree with me that most developing countries have been and currently in competition with others for funding from transnational mining investors by providing attractive agreements in order to explore these mining companies. This is done in expense of risking and not recognizing the growing concern of the rights of the indigenous, and with reference to the environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and other indigenous legal documents that protect the environment and the people. The articles you are about to read detail the gray areas of conflict.

Before posting the articles in question, it takes me a while to assess the trend of the said articles / press releases in connection with the mining agreement in my home country, Sierra Leone. Apparently I am yet to conclude my thesis about the documents that you are about to read. My reason is that, before my trip to overseas, I happened to be one of the civil society and human rights activists in Sierra Leone, and was privileged to be part of an active advocacy group that promote environmental and social justice in Sierra Leone, Campaign For Just Mining: Network Movement For Justice And Development – NMJD’s Initiative. With my own little and collective effort together with other campaign members in advocating for mining / environmental policies was a long way struggle before I departed.

It is so disheartening to realize that our country is still struggling and yet to realize the same vices that brought the civil conflict. In our legal systems, should the precautionary principle be made a statutory requirement for an environmental justice? How can national policies / agreements influence change if the authors are not enforcing its implementation? And why national policies / agreements are mortgaged? Should our leaders be objectively accountable for their actions? What kind of action should we take? I will suggest that we continue to engage our political leaders through a non-violence approach in order to address the current trends towards our mining agreements and policies. The people of Sierra Leone deserve attention.

I am currently a member and the Africa Rep. on the International Development Committee – IDC, Development and Peace Canada (D & P Canada). Development and Peace is one of the Canadian Christian based NGOs that also promote environmental and social justice, an organization that “was founded by the Bishops of Canada in 1967 as the official Canadian agency for Development work and emergency relief in the Global South. It is also the Canadian of Caritas International”. By working closely with other international expertise overseas, I will use my added experience to share with you back home to influence policy makers, politicians and other government leaders in a non violence approach to effect the required changes. We must stand in defence of the fundamental rights of the defenceless, the indigenous.

Transnational mining industries are riding high as a result of government demands. The priority focuses of these investors are based on our domestic mining policies / agreement, a shift in the restoration and guarantee of the indigenous rights. Landowners (individuals or companies) and mining companies are heavily involved in deal making to develop their mineral properties.

After all, the goal of successfully negotiating a mining agreement is to provide maximum benefit to all parties. Does the current agreement provide maximum benefit to all parties? Should you have any concern about the articles on the mining agreement, please leave your comments with thanks.


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