By Tabora Bojang
Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Fatou Kinteh, has disclosed that the government is engaging its international partners to establish specialised courts for speedy trial of rape and gender-based violence offences.
The minister made this disclosure at a press briefing on the state of gender-based violence in The Gambia held at the Gender Management Information System, GMIS, in Bakoteh.
She further stated that government has noted with serious concerns the escalation of rape and other gender-based violence offences and remains unwaveringly dedicated to end it.
According to Minister Kinteh, who served as UNFPA’s national coordinator for GBV and FGM, the continuous practice of family members or close relatives withdrawing cases of gender-based violence at state level would be a thing of the past.
“In most times, cases are delayed and take too long before they are pursued. So, to bring an end to that we are working with UNFPA to establish these special courts. We will start it in some of the [rural] regions and then we progress until we get all the regions covered,” Minister Kinteh who was the former executive director of Women’s Bureau added.
She further revealed that government is also working with the EU and the UN systems in The Gambia to get a forensic lab that will conduct sexual assault forensic examinations for survivors and help in the preservation of DNA evidence.
This, the Minister added, will end reliance on overseas forensic labs which are too expensive and time-consuming.
Conviction of 3 women for FGM
Commenting on the recent successful prosecution of 3 women sentenced to a fine of D15, 000 in default to serve one year in prison for circumcising 8 children in the URR, the minister described it as a step in the right direction.
“It will teach a lesson to all that we are serious,” she said.