Barrow renews commitment to judicial independence

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 President Adama Barrow has disclosed that his government is committed to protecting the total independence of the judiciary, vowing never to interfere in its work.

He was speaking at the Law Court Complex yesterday during the official opening of the 2021 Legal Year. The president said his government acknowledges the significance of the administration of justice in an open free and democratic society such as ours and is therefore fully committed to protecting the independence of the judiciary.

“To sustain a functional legal system, the security of tenure and separation of the organs of the state, through the principles of non interference are guaranteed under my leadership and this will restore maintenance and confidence in the Gambia’s justice system”, Barrow said.

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The President assured the Chief Justice that his government will remain firm and passionate about promoting and upholding good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as the National Development Plan 2018 to 2021. “Because the Plan ends this year, it is necessary that we begin the evaluation process of our performance so far. But in the interim, we can be proud of ourselves for the significant achievements recorded in the key areas of good governance, human rights, rule of law and women empowerment,” he said.

The president said all institutions and mechanisms that his government promised to deliver have been realised and this include the National Human Rights Commission, The Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, the Constitutional Review Commission, the Security Sector Reform and the Women Enterprise Fund which seeks to uplift the socio-economic status of women.  He added that several other things have been designed to transform the lives of our youth and the general populace.

President Barrow further disclosed that as a signatory to the International Convention against all forms of discrimination of women, as well as the convention of the rights of the persons with disability and the rights of children, his government is committed and determined as a state to respect and protect human rights, adding that all should refrain from interfering in the right of any person in the country.

“I’m pleased and proud to state that there is a full compliance with our reporting obligations on all the six core human rights treaties. In fact, my government has made a substantial effort in safeguarding the rights of the Gambian people and all those within the jurisdiction of the Gambia. The institutionalisation of human rights violations in the country is now a thing of the past, and the government is about to domesticate key human rights instruments. The convention against torture reflected in the prevention and prohibitions of torture bill is set for approval soon and it is designed to ensure that acts of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are not meted out to any person within our jurisdiction,” President Barrow said.

He said as the country enters an election year, it is vital that  “we conduct ourselves with dignity and as law abiding citizens and desist from spreading all types of hate speeches calculated to bring about hatred among any ethnic individual group and I urge all Gambians and non Gambians living in the country to give respect to the laws of the country and the law enforcement agencies whose primary duty is to ensure that the peace and stability of the country is safeguarded,” he said.

The Chief Justice Hassan Jallow, spoke at length on the challenges faced by the Judiciary due to the pandemic but underscored the numerous significant achievements made despite those challenges.

Meanwhile, there have been noticeable absentees at the event notably the president of the Bar Association Lawyer Salieu Taal, senior lawyers Antouman Gaye and Ousainou Darboe among others. It is not immediately known what led to their unusual absence from this important event for people in the legal profession.