New leadership for AdvocAid

Following the celebration of our 10 year anniversary last year and winning the Clifford Chance Access to Justice Award, which includes 500 hours of pro bono support from legal and organisational experts, AdvocAid would like to share news of developments for the organisation in 2017.   WELCOME TO TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS AdvocAid is pleased to welcome two new board members, Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus and Camilla McArthur, to the organisation. Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus is Policy Manager at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). She is responsible for leading the organisation’s work on public policy issues impacting immigrants and refugees. Lisa has worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia and Ghana previously, and she brings a strong background in advocacy and research to AdvocAid. Camilla McArthur has over 10 years of experience in supporting civil society organisations develop their organisational and project management capacity, expertise she will contribute to AdvocAid’s development. Camilla has worked with organisations with global reach and NGOs based in Tanzania, Senegal, Morocco, and Southeast Asia. “We are delighted to have Lisa and Camilla joining AdvocAid. They bring new skills, experience and passion for women’s rights, which will strengthen the governance and strategic vision of the organisation,” said Board Chair and co-founder, Sabrina Mahtani. THE SEARCH FOR A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR In June, our Executive Director, Ms. Simitie Lavaly Zorokong, will be stepping down from her role after more than six years working with the organisation. While Simitie is leaving the organisation to further develop her career, she will continue to support AdvocAid in a voluntary capacity. Simitie has worked for AdvocAid since 2009, starting as a paralegal...

“Starting Where the Law Finishes”: An Analysis of the Prerogative of Mercy in Sierra Leone

In August 2016, Rebecca Agliolo – a Law Student at the University of Cambridge – volunteered remotely for AdvocAid. One of the outcomes was an interesting analysis of “the Prerogative of Mercy”, which offers offenders the opportunity of retrospective pardon. Prerogative of Mercy: Background Lapses of the criminal justice system are inevitable in even the most exacting of legal systems. Whether through lack of information, violation of civil rights or human fallibility, occasionally innocent individuals are erroneously convicted of a crime. In most situations, cases are appealed through the judicial system. However, where due process has been exhausted, the Prerogative of Mercy provides an extra-judicial remedy. Perhaps this is why the Prerogative of Mercy is said to “start where the law finishes”.   The prerogative traces its origins to the British tradition, as a form of retrospective mercy offered by the monarch. Today a discretionary power typically vested in either the monarch or head of state, the Prerogative of Mercy functions to ameliorate the harshness of sentencing or alleviate miscarriages of justice; most commonly, an offender may be pardoned, or have his sentence commuted.   In Sierra Leone, the purpose of the Prerogative of Mercy is divorced from its typical function in historical and international contexts. The President may grant a ‘Presidential Pardon’, which is exercised twice a year: on New Year and on Sierra Leone’s Independence Day. The Presidential Pardon is seen to be a gesture of goodwill and celebration.   However, the legal and political backdrop of the Presidential Pardon is not entirely a cause for celebration. In this article I shall first outline the typical functioning of the Prerogative of...