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Justice Minister Provides Update on Gambia’s Transitional Justice System

By the Ministry of Justice

Honourable Dawda A. Jallow, the Attorney General and Minister for Justice recently provided an update regarding the implementation of the government white paper, TRRC report, and the entire transitional justice reform of the Gambia.

Minister Jallow provided these updates during the recent opening of the 2023 legal year opening held at the Supreme Court Complex in Banjul.

He said his ministry understood the concerns of the public in terms of the implementation of the government white paper.  However, He said it is for the greater good that the implementation addresses the atrocities that happened in the past tactfully.

According to him, in December 2022, his ministry successfully launched the multi-stakeholder monitoring committee on the implementation of the TRRC recommendations together with NHRC, UN Gambia partners and Civil Society Organizations and steps have been taken to develop and design an accountability mechanism that, will focus greatly on encouraging the participation of victims in seeking justice and accountability.

“Since the publication of the white paper, the government is working tirelessly to come up with an implementation plan which will be launched during the first quarter of this year, in the form of an international stakeholder/donor conference. I am proud to report that, the government has finalized consultations and has drafted the Victims Reparations Bill to create an independent body to administer reparations for victims,” he said.

He further stated that the government is in the process of setting up an Interim medical board to review and provide emergency medical care for victims of human rights violations particularly the victims of April 10th and 11th.

In the area of accountability and justice, he said the government through the Ministry of Justice is currently working with ECOWAS towards setting up Hybrid Court for prosecutions of crimes during the Jammeh regime.

“While are waiting for the launching of the implementation plan to guide the overall implementation process, the Ministry of Justice is actively implementing the white paper, especially recommendations that do not require significant financial resources to implement,” he stated.

Honourable Jallow went further to commend the Ministry for the key role it’s playing in the prosecution of some of the Junglers in the United States of America, Switzerland, and, Germany for human rights violations committed during the Jammeh regime, pointing out that the role of his ministry is to assist the prosecution of these Junglers in the stated countries by providing information on witnesses and evidence.

In the case of the Gambia and Myanmar in which The Gambia filed a case against Myanmar in 2020 at the ICJ to prevent further acts of genocide against the Rohingya, Justice Minister Jallow reported that recently, the ICJ totally rejected Myanmar’s preliminary objections to the court’s jurisdiction and affirmed the Gambia’s right as a state party to the genocide convention, to hold Myanmar to account to its obligations under the convention.

“This means that the case will proceed to its full merits and The Gambia continues to show its commitment to proceed with the case,” he said.

In relation to sexual and gender-based violence, he said his ministry has shown great concern with respect to victims of crimes, especially women and children who are most vulnerable many times.

In this same vein, he said the SGBV and child protection units were created at the Ministry to support victims and promote their empowerment during the prosecution of cases and the ministry’s overall transitional justice programs.

He added, the SGBV unit of the Ministry through the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), embarked on a sensitization tour in Janjanbureh (CRR) and Basse (URR), and that the discussions focused on the rise in SGBV cases and how it can be collectively addressed.

“As a Ministry, we will continue working with key stakeholders such as the Judiciary of the Gambia and the Gambia Bar Association in providing access to justice and always defending the rule of law and respect for human rights,” he concluded.

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