The Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone (Board of Enquiry Rules), 2003
Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette Vol. CXXXIII. No. 18 dated 24th April, 2003.
STATUTORY INSTRUMENT No.3 OF 2003
Published 24th April, 2003
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE ACT,1961 (Act No. 34 of 1961)
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE'
(BOARD OF INQUIRY) RULES, 2003.
In exercise of the powers conferred upon him by sections 120 and 128 of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act, 1961 the President hereby makes the following Rules: -
1. In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires –
"Act" means the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone Act, 1961
"Armed Forces" means the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone;
"authority" in relation to a board, means the DefenceCouncil or any military, naval or air-force officer empowered by or under these Rules to convene a board;
"board" means board of inquiry; "civil authority" includes a coroner and the civil police;
"civilian witness" means a person who gives evidence before a board and is either a person to whom section 193 of the Act applies or a person who is not subject to military law;
"president" means president of a board;
"record of the proceedings", in relation to a board,includes the report of the board and any opinion expressed by the board in accordance with any directions given by the authority;
"represented" means represented by an officer or by counsel (which means a legal practitioner and, outside the Republic of Sierra Leone, a person recognised by the authority as having rights and duties similar to those of a legal practitioner) and includes, in the case of a civilian employed in the service of the Government of Sierra Leone, representation by such person's trade union or staff association representative; and the term "representative" shall be construed accordingly.
2. It shall be the duty of a board to investigate and report on the facts relating to any matter referred to the board under these Rules and, .if directed so to do, to express their opinion on any question arising out of any such matter.
3. (1) Subject to these Rules, a board shall be convened with reference to -
(a) the absence of any person subject to military law who has been continuously absent without leave for a period of not less than twenty-one days and the deficiency (if any) in the clothing, arms, ammunition or other equipment or any other public or service property issued to him for his use;
(b) the capture of any person subject to military law by , the enemy and his conduct in captivity if, on his return from captivity, the authority considers that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting
(i) that he was made a prisoner of war, through disobedience t6 orders or wilful neglect of his
(ii) that having been made a prisoner of war, he failed to take any reasonable steps available to him to rejoin the Armed Forces; or
(iii) that having been made a prisoner of war he scncd with or aided the enemy in the prosecution of hostilities or measures calculated to influence morale or in any other manner whatsoever not authorised by international usage; and
(c) the death of any person in a military establishment, being an establishment in any country or territory outside the Republic of Sierra Leone where an inquiry into the death is not required to be held by any civil authority.
(2) A board may also be convened with reference to any matter which the authority decides to refer to a board.
4. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), where any matter is the subject of investigation by the military, naval or air-force police or by a civil authority or of an inquiry held by the proper naval or air-force authority, or of proceedings under military law or of proceedings in a civil court whether within or without Sierra Leone, and
(a) a board has not been convened with reference thereto, the authority may defer the convening of a board until the completion of such investigation or proceedings as aforesaid and upon completion thereof shall not be required to convene a board, if satisfied that a board is not necessary; or
(b) a board has already been convened with reference thereto, the authority may stay the proceedings of the board until such investigation or proceedings as aforesaid have been completed and shall then dissolve the board, if satisfied that a board is not necessary.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to the convening of a board with reference to such absence and such deficiency (if any), as are mentioned in subparagraph (a) of paragraph (1) of Rule 3, but, where the authority is satisfied that the absence has terminated, or where the absentee belongs or is attached to the Armed Forces naval or air-forces and the authority is satisfied that an inquiry into the absence is being or will be held by the proper naval or air-force authority, and
(a) a board has not yet been convened with reference to the absence and deficiency (if any), the authority shall not be required to convene a board: or
(b) a board has already been convened with reference thereto, the authority may forthwith dissolve the board.
5. (1) A board may be convened by order of –
(a) the Defence Council; or
(b) any officer not below the rank of colonel, or corresponding rank, commanding any command or other area, garrison or place, or any formation or body of troops in the Armed Forces; or
(c) any officer who is acting for the time being in place of such an officer; or
(d) any officer commanding a unit or detachment of the Armed Forces
(i) with reference to such, absence and such deficiency (if any) as are mentioned in subparagraph (a) of paragraph (1) of Rule 3;
(ii)if authorised by the Defence Council or any such officer as is mentioned in subparagraph (b) or (c) with reference to any particular matter or to matters of any specified class or description.
(2) The following provisions shall apply in relation to the order convening a board -
(a) the order shall specify the composition of the board and the place and time at which the board shall assemble:
(b) the order may, and where the mailer referred to the board is that mentioned in subparagraph (a) of paragraph (1) of Rule 3 shall, specify the terms of reference of the board and be published in military orders;
(c) the order may direct the board to express their opinion on any question arising out of any matter referred to the board; and the authority may at any time revoke, or suspend the order.
6. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a board shall consist of a president who shall be an officer not below the rank of lieutenant or corresponding rank and be subject to military law and not less than two other members each of whom shall be either an officer or a warrant officer so subject or a person not so subject who is in the service of the State.
(2) The authority shall appoimt the president by name and each remaining member of the board either by name or in the case of a person subject to military law, by detailing a commanding officer to appoint from persons under his command an officer, or a warrent officer.
7. (1) A board shall assemble at the time and place specified in the order convening the board.
(2) The president shall lay the terms of reference before the board and the board shall proceed to hear and record evidence in accordance with these Rules.
8. (1) The president may from time to time adjourn the boardwhich shall sit on such occasions and in such places as he may from time to time direct.
(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (1), the authority may at any time, if it appears necessary or desirable, direct that the board shall reassemble for such purpose or purposes as may be specified by the authority.
9. (1) A board shall hear the evidence of the witnesses who have been made available by the authority and may hear the evidence of such other persons as they think fit.
(2) While a civilian witness is giving evidence before a board, he may be represented but, subject to Rule 10, his representative shall not be entitled to be present at any other time.
(3) A civilian witness shall be entitled to receive the reasonable expenses of his attendance and a reasonable allowance in respect of loss of time.
10. (1) Where it appears to the authority or, if a board has been convened, either to the authority or to the president that any witness or other person to whom this Rule applies may be affected by the findings of the board, the authority or, as the case maybe, the president shall take such steps as are in his view reasonable and necessary to secure that such witness or other person has notice of the proceedings and, if he so desires, has an opportunity of being present, and represented, at the sittings of the board, or at such part thereof as the authority or, as the case may be, the president may specify.
(2) Any such witness or other person as is referred to in paragraph (1) may give evidence, question witnesses or produce any witness to give evidence on the matters which may affect him and, If he is represented, his representative. may question witnesses, but a representative shall not address the 'board c:\cept with the permission of the president.
(3) This Rule, so far as it applies to persons other than witnesses who may be affected by the findings, applies to persons of the following descriptions only, that is to say
(a) persons who are subject to military law; and
(b) persons who, though not so subject, are in the service of the State and may be so affected in character or professional reputation.
11. A board may receive any evidence which they consider relevant to the matter referred to the board, whether oral or written, and whether or not it would be admissible in a civil court.
12. (1) Subject to paragraph (3), every witness before a board shall be examined on oath:
Provided that where any child of tender years called as a witness docs not in the opinion of the board understand the nature of an oath, his evidence may be received, though not given on oath, if in the opinion of the board he is possessed of sufficient intelligence to justify the reception of the evidence and understands the duty of speaking the truth.
(2) Subject to paragraph (3), an oath shall be administered to any person in attendance on a board as interpreter.
(3) If –
(a) a person objects to taking an oath; or
(b) it is not reasonably practicable without inconvenience or without delaying the proceedings to administer an oath to a person in the manner appropriate to his religious belief,
He shall be permitted to make a solemn affirmation instead of taking an oath.
(4) An oath shall be administered, or an affirmation made before a board in the form and manner prescribed by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone (Court-Martial Procedure) Rules 2003.
13. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), any document or thing produced to a board by a witness when giving his evidence shall be made exhibit.
(2) When an original document or book is produced to a board by a witness, the board may, at the request of the witness, compare a copy of it or an extract therefrom of the relevant parts with the original and, after they have satisfied themselves that such copy or extract is correct and the president has certified thereon that the board has compared it with the original and found it correct, the board may return the document or book to the witness and attach the copy or extract to the record of the proceedings as an exhibit.
(3) Every exhibit shall
(a) be marked with a number or letter and be signed by the president or have a label affixed to it bearing a number or letter and the signature of the president;
(b) be attached to or kept with the record of the proceedings unless in the opinion of the board it is not expedient to attach it to or keep it with the record.
(4) When an exhibit is not attached to or kept with the record of the proceedings under subparagraph (b) of paragraph (3). the president shall ensure that proper steps are taken for its safe custody.
14. (1) The president shall record, or cause to be recorded, the proceedings of the board in writing and in sufficient detail to enable the authority to follow the course of the proceedings.
(2) Where there is no shorthand writer present, the evidence shall be taken down in narrative form recording as nearly as possible the words used:
Provided that, if the board consider it necessary, any particular question and answer shall be taken down verbatim.
(3) Theevidence of each witness, as soon as it has been taken down in accordance with paragraph (2), shall be read over to him and shall be signed by him.
(4) A record of the proceedings shall be signed by the president and other members of the board and forwarded to the authority.
15. Where a board reports that a person subject to military law has been absent without leave or other sufficient cause for a period specified in the report, not being less than twenty-one days, and that there is a deficiency in any clothing, arms, ammunition or other equipment or any other public or service property issued to him for his use, a record of the report of such deficiency shall, in addition to a record of the report of such absence required under subsection (1) of section 121 of the Act, be entered in the service books.
MADE this 25th day of February, 2003.
ALHAJI AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH