By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a powerful address, Justice Adrian Fischer has sent a clear message to anyone attempting to disrupt the peace process surrounding the ongoing case of the Tabital Pulaaku International Sierra Leone Chapter, a not-for-profit Fulah organization. The Judge, presiding over the matter, firmly cautioned those with intentions to hinder the peace process, stating that he would not hesitate to impose jail sentences on such individuals.
“Respect yourselves and refrain from interfering with the peace process,” Justice Fischer declared, underscoring the importance of maintaining order and harmony. His remarks came as he ordered a month-long negotiation window between the two parties. However, he warned that if no resolution is reached by the next adjourned date, set for October 9, 2023, he will move forward with the case and deliver his verdict.
In a bid to emphasize the significance of the matter, Justice Fischer directly addressed the members of the Fullah Community who were present in court through an interpreter. He revealed that the dispute had escalated to the courtroom due to the parties’ inability to find a resolution amongst themselves. He stressed that seeking legal representation was a result of their failure to reconcile outside of court.
“This is a ‘Fulah palava’ and it requires a ‘Fullah solution’,” Justice Fischer emphasized, encouraging the parties to tap into the wisdom of their elders and arrive at a peaceful agreement. He acknowledged that his eventual verdict might not please both sides, potentially perpetuating conflicts within the Fullah Community. He urged the parties to seize the opportunity for a peaceful settlement.
Addressing the three defendants directly, Justice Fischer compelled them to actively engage in the peace process and avoid actions that could disrupt its course. He reminded them that the case was still under the court’s jurisdiction, and any disturbances would not be tolerated.
During the proceedings, Lead Counsel for the Defendants, E.T. Koroma Esq, pleaded for the withdrawal of a previously filed contempt of court application. He argued for unity within the same tribe and proposed finding a collective resolution. While Lead Counsel for the Plaintiff did not oppose the application’s withdrawal, they urged the court to consider imposing a nominal fine or a strong warning on the Contemnors. The judge refrained from granting either request.
As the case unfolds, the eyes of many remain fixed on the ongoing negotiations and the consequences of Justice Fischer’s unequivocal warning to safeguard the fragile peace process.