Meet our MCM for this week, Ibrahim Tommy!
Over the years, a man has faced many challenges while fighting relentlessly to secure justice for all in his homeland of Sierra Leone by leading projects promoting accountability and rule of law. Tommy has serves as a middleman or mediator between the local communities and policymakers.
Meet Ibrahim Tommy, the Executive Director of the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law.
Tommy launched his Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) in 2011, starting with no financial support, as he struggled to find local and international partners to support his work with local communities in carrying out programs advocating for justice on issues such as human rights violations, gender discrimination, difficulty in accessing justice, and demand for accountability in the financial sector.
Tommy started his work as someone unknown in the public sphere, so it was hard for him to get recognition from the various stakeholders he needed for his project to kick off.
His advocacy has been key to providing proper funding for Sierra Leone’s badly stretched judiciary system (CARL has influenced the government to increase the judiciary’s budget from 4 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2016). CARL’s successes have now led to some funding. To date, the organization has received support from the US and UK governments and other foreign donors and partners.
As much as he has enjoy recognition, so also as the challenges have been enormous. His advocacy for a fair trial kicked up serious pressure from the ruling All Peoples Congress Party after he championed a case on behalf of eleven military personnel who were charged with mutiny against the government in 2013. Tommy was threatened by the then Attorney General and Minister of Justice who demanded that he back off the case. Regardless of the intimidation and threats, Tommy pursued the case to the end. Eventually, the eleven military officers were tried at a Military Tribunal and acquitted of all charges in 2015.
In 2014, CARL was instrumental in getting the government to set up the Legal Aid Board–put up to provide legal aid to those who cannot afford it and to give legal education at the local level.
Ibrahim Tommy also successfully advocated for the replacement of the obsolete Sierra Leone Local Courts Act of 1963 with a newer version that has made access to justice for those in local communities easier and safer (70 percent of Sierra Leone legal matters are handled at the local Court level).
Going forward, Ibrahim Tommy and his Centre of Accountability and Rule of Law are engaging the government to make the local court system more accessible to rural women in poor communities across the country.
Ibrahim Tommy’s ambitions are bigger than Sierra Leone, however, and he’s set himself on a track to extend his contributions to the world.
Disclaimer: Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Sierraloaded or any employee thereof.
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