Salone News

Profile of Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, CoRSL

14 August 2017 at 22:50 | 2462 views

By Vinod Fullah, London, UK.

Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara is Sierra Leone’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Prior to his appointment in December 2015, Mr. Kamara headed his country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) where he succeeded in establishing a robust anti-corruption regime. Before he left as Commissioner, Joseph had succeeded in lifting Sierra Leone’s anti-corruption profile from the bottom position of 134 in 2010 to 119 in 2015 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. During his tenure as Commissioner of Anti-Corruption, Mr. Kamara secured the conviction of several high profile government officials including three Ministers, Mayor of Freetown, Head of the National Revenue Authority, and Head of the National Maritime Agency to name but a few.

A member of the African Union Board on Anti-Corruption, the Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, has over 26 years experience at the Bar, having graduated from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone in 1989, with LLB (Hons). He worked for the Government of Sierra Leone as State Prosecutor following his call to the Sierra Leone Bar in 1990. The Hon. Attorney-General and Minister of Justice did his post-graduate studies in Law at the Southern Methodist University, Texas.

Joseph has a wealth of international experience as a promoter and defender of human rights. Following the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone, he was appointed Deputy Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which tried perpetrators for war crimes. During this period, he successfully prosecuted leaders of various factions of the civil conflict including the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor.

His contribution to international jurisprudence with regards crimes against humanity has been well documented. He was among the pioneers pushing for the inclusion of the offences of forced marriage and sexual violence to be recognised under international criminal law.

An avid educationalist, Joseph has lectured various subjects including International Criminal Law and Corporate and Business Law in Sierra Leone. Joseph is passionate about expanding the boundaries of human rights protection and improving access to justice particular for vulnerable groups like women and children in his country. Consequently, in recognition for his legal exploit, he was awarded Life Member of the Governing Council of the African Bar Association in 2017.

Following his appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, he has worked tirelessly to improve access to justice, expeditious delivery of justice services and protection of human rights. He spearheaded the biggest expansion in legal aid provision across the country with over 150, 000 cases dealt with since 2016. As part of his commitments to improving justice sector capacity, enhance expedition of trial and strengthen judicial independence, the Hon. Minister led the commissioning of improved salaries for judges, magistrates and law officers which led to a massive recruitment of 33 magistrates, 29 state counsels, 20 judges and 14 Legal Aid Defence Counsels.

His fundamental philosophy of using the law to improve democratic governance and social cohesion has seen him engage donors and civil society in the repeal and modernisation of certain outdated laws in his country that undermine fundamental freedoms including press freedom, association, human rights and women’s empowerment.

Joseph Kamara’s long list of achievements include but not limited to the following;
• Commander of the Republic of Sierra Leone, 2017.
• Workers/May Day Award as most supportive Minister, 2016.
• Life Member of the Governing Council of the African Bar Association, 2017.
• AFRICAN ACHIEVERS AWARDS for Excellence in Leadership, 2016.
• Sierra Ovation Aware, 2017.
• Former President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, 2008 -2010.
• World Bank Integrity Award, 2010.
• Joint winner of the International Association of Prosecutors Award in recognition for promoting International Criminal Justice.
• Avon International Award Winner in recognition of support for Women’s Rights and;
• First Vice President of the West African Bar Association 2008-2012

Editor’s Note: Here is Honourable Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara on a recent visit to Mafanta prison in the north of Sierra Leone, where he talked to prison officers and some inmates: