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Sierra Leone: committee set up to better implement international humanitarian law

30-04-2012 News Release 12/94

Freetown/Conakry (ICRC) – Sierra Leone's National Committee for the Implementation of International Humanitarian Law will be officially inaugurated today in Freetown in the presence of the country's president, Ernest Bai Koroma, who will deliver the keynote address.

The National Committee was set up in connection with a joint plan of action between the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the implementation of international humanitarian law.

"The formation of a National Committee demonstrates the commitment of the Sierra Leonean authorities to honour their obligations under international humanitarian law," said Denise Duran, the head of the ICRC delegation in Conakry.

Similar committees have been established in 101 countries, including in 23 other African countries. The task of the National Committee is to advise and assist the government in implementing and promoting international humanitarian law. The membership of the National Committee is drawn from various government ministries and also includes legal experts, academics and representatives of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society.

The National Committee has already worked on two bills which will soon be presented to parliament: the Review Act of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and draft legislation on implementing the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. In future, the National Committee will promote the inclusion of further instruments of international humanitarian law, such as the Rome Statute and the Ottawa Treaty, in national law and raise awareness of international humanitarian law among the authorities.

The inauguration ceremony, which will take place in the State Hall of the Parliament Building, will be attended by State officials, the diplomatic community and representatives of ECOWAS and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

For further information, please contact:
Daphné Lucas, ICRC Conakry, tel: +224 63 35 13 61 or +224 63 40 88 94