Although democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights are the defining idioms of contemporary state governance and international relations, they are hardly commonplace in Africa. In domestic environments severely degraded by abuse of power and rebellion, what kind of existence do African leaders give to their people? Can they proclaim rights for their citizens in international instruments but behave in ways that are diametrically opposite? What future has democracy when the last election was a rogue one and the incumbent regime the beneficiary? Sierra Leone, whose civil conflict enters its tenth year in March 2001, carries the unenviable status of playing host to the world's largest peacekeeping force. Yet there is still no lasting peace in a conflict that has determined not so much who is right or wrong as who is left.