The ECOWAS Court has on Tuesday 16 March 2023, ruled against the former Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana who in 2017 filed a case against the Government of Sierra Leone for violating his rights.

Sam Sumana‘s move to seek redress in the ECOWAS Community Court follows a Supreme Court ruling in Sierra Leone; that the controversial decision of former President Koroma to sack his Vice was constitutional.

However, the regional Court ruled in favour of him and ordered the then-government led by former President Ernest Bai Koroma to pay reparations.

But the government did not recognize the ECOWAS ruling. Instead, a letter was written to the Court, stating the government’s position that it cannot submit to the Court because of its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, after a change of government in 2018, Sam-Sumana went back to ECOWAS to seek enforcement of its 2017 judgement; requesting that the West African regional bloc impose sanctions against Sierra Leone through the suspension of its entitlement in the community, pending compliance with the judgement.

The former Vice President requested that ECOWAS suspend his country from its access to the new community loans; stop the disbursement of ongoing community projects or assistance programs in the country and exclude the country from presenting candidates for statutory and professional posts and suspend its voting rights and participation in the bloc’s activities, as demanded by Article 77 of the Revised Treaty of the ECOWAS.

Furthermore, the regional Court has ruled against the former Vice President’s submission.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mohamed Lamin Tarawally informed the press yesterday, describing Sam-Sumana’s move to seek sanctions against his country as a ‘very serious’ move that could have dented the country’s reputation if the ruling had gone in his favour.

Again, before his sacking in 2015, the then-governing All People’s Congress (APC) party expelled Sam-Sumana from the party after accusing him of flaming violence and trying to form a breakaway party in party Kono.

It is not clear whether the recent ECOWAS ruling affects the 2017 judgement, or whether the judgement which demands the reinstatement of Sam-Sumana as Vice President and restoration of all his entitlements will be honoured by the present SLPP-led government because the party under which he was serving is no longer in office.

However, while in opposition, the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) supported the judgement and called on the then administration to honour it.