According to the chair lady, the Sierra Leone Information Institute was established in 2010 as a legacy project of the Special Court for Sierra Leone with seed money from the Open Society Foundation. Mrs. Cole furthered that, the purpose of the project is to provide free, unrestricted and unfettered access to the primary and secondary legal materials of Sierra Leone by uploading them on a dedicated website on the internet. She added that the project was set up by Maria Warren and the then intern at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, with Miss. Bridget Osho as the Assistant Project Coordinator. A small committee comprising relevant stakeholders including myself was set up to oversee the activities of the project, she added.
Upon completing their mandate in Sierra Leone, the Special for Sierra Leone handed over SIERRALII to the government of Sierra Leone. The project was originally anchored in the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice with Mr. Arrow Bockarie , the then deputy minister as the Officer in charge. After several consultations and meetings presided over by Mr. Bockarie, the leadership of the project was taken over by the Chief Justice. Mrs. Julia Sarkodie Mannah was then made the first Chairman of the Board which comprised representatives from Parliament, the University of Sierra Leone, the Human Rights Commission, and the Civil Society.
Highlighting some of the benefits of to be delivered by the sustenance of SIERRALII as a major source of legal information, Mrs. Cole forecasted the following as possible benefits:
a. It will satisfy public interest in accessing free and unfettered legal information
b. It will build up jurisprudence and research by providing legal practitioners, academics, local and foreign business men, researchers and students comprehensive and robust legal research facility thereby promoting good governance and the rule of law.
c. It will also improve the population’s awareness and respect for the law.
The following personalities were presented to all as current Board members of SIERRALII:
Mr. Allee Timbo, Law Reform Commission, Mr. Muctarr Sowa, Parliament, Mr. Fredlyn Kamara, Human Rights Commission, Evangelist Mrs. Martha Chigozie, Civil Society and Miss. Bridget Osho who is the first coordinator of SIERRALII; though she was unavoidably absent for the launching.
Officially launching the SIERRALII website, the Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Justice Abdulai Charm thanked the members of SIERRALII especially the Board for sustaining the project on to this level. He encouraged partners like the Open Society Foundation (OSF), Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and others to continue giving their relentless supports to SIERRALII so as to enable free access to legal materials by every citizen. He formally launched the website of the project as www.sierralii.org and informed all that the website has been populated with over 2,000 documents including judgments and decisions from the Special Court of Sierra Leone, judgments and rulings from the High Court , Appeal Court and Supreme Court respectively and legislations from parliament.
Statements in support of the project form different partners climaxed the occasion.