Sierra Leone: Attorney General Assures Speedy Justice for Khadija Saccoh

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Priscilla Schwartz, yesterday assured protesters that her ministry will speedily look into the alleged rape that led to the death of five years old Khadija Saccoh, adding that they will conduct another forensic examination so that they would have a strong case to present in court.

"I only came to know about the death of this child on Sunday morning through social media call. I am assuring and calling upon you all that a department has been instituted to address issues of such and they are trying to put systems in place. I have heard all your concerns and I will put your request on the table and will also call for a forensic test to be done for us to have a comparable manner in handling the issue in court," she assured.

Gender activists, Kids Advocacy Network and Children Forum Network yesterday staged a peaceful demonstration, demanding justice for 5years old Kadijah Saccoh, who was allegedly sexually abused to death.

The protesters were chanting 'justice for Kadijah', 'no to rape', 'enough is enough.'

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice commended Sierra Leoneans for coming out in their numbers, to put a stop to the high rate of abuse of children in the country.

She said laws have been put in place to combat the abuse of women and girls since the new administration took over authority, adding that it a pity that the child could not survive.

She further stated the president did pronounce for the construction of a forensic lab for which the UN Women had promised to provide support, but that up to now nothing has been done about it.

She said her ministry is on its toes to address criminal and justice system in the country.

"When we go to court for reported rate cases, the law has its own to say and we cannot compromise. The country does not have a criminal justice policy in place that will address these issues. We should begin to make policies rather than waiting for someone to die and then protest or go to court," she said.

She urged the need for a criminal justice policy to be instituted to address the menace and also for the laws to be part of the system for both boys and girls.

One of the relatives of the deceased, Kabba Saccoh,explained that after the child gave up the ghost on 17th June, the family of the deceased's mother had wanted to do a funeral, but the father demanded that an autopsy be conducted before the burial.

He said after a heated argument between the two families, it was agreed that the autopsy be conducted and what was expected came out due to the fact that the child had been abused for long.

He said as a family they decided to come out to join the course and put a stop to the issue for which perpetrators sometimes go scot-free without any justice.

Also, Gender Activist, Madam Nasu Fofana, said for so long now women and girls have been abused by men and that nothing good has come out of it, but called on the concerned stakeholders to look into the death of the innocent girl.

She called on all protesters to be patient and wait for the outcome of a meeting with Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Inspector General of Police and also representatives of Women's Forum.

"We are tired of calling and setting up campaign against rape and we are tired of going to different communities to sensitize people. We want immediate action to be taken against perpetrators. We need justice for other children that have gone through this suffering. We are pleading on you Attorney General as a woman to give us your word," she pleaded.

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