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Salieu Taal says gov’t failed in legal reforms

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By Omar Bah

The president of the Gambia Bar Association has expressed disappointment over the country’s failure to transition from Jammeh era laws.

Addressing the official opening of the Legal Year yesterday, Lawyer Salieu Taal said: “Today in 2023, we still have the same 1997 constitution, the same criminal code, public order act, elections decree and draconian practice directions from the Jammeh Era. The legal order of the previous dictatorial regime is still intact yet to be supplanted after 6 years of our transition from a dictatorship in 2017.”

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He said The Gambia “we decided” is yet to be realised.

“It is really disheartening to maintain the arsenal of draconian laws from the Jammeh era in our books under our current dispensation.  As a rule of law institution, the Bar is calling for the prioritisation of a new constitution to replace the 1997 constitution and the repeal of all the repugnant/undemocratic laws that don’t conform to international human rights norms and values. We cannot speak of the rule of law if we continue to rely on a body law that are really designed for a dictatorship,” he added. 

Lawyer Taal said it is also important for the government to ensure the TRRC implementation transcends partisan politics and the quest for justice after the truth-seeking process is recognised as an integral part of coming to terms with our brutal past and saying no to impunity.

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“In this regard, I will call on the President Adama Barrow to personally champion the implementation of the TRRC recommendation to ensure accountability and reconciliation. Your Excellency, in December 2016 we turned to a new chapter when we decided to boot out dictatorship and tyranny under your leadership. The last leg of the journey is to ensure that Gambians will never Again be subjected to such brutality and abuse by anyone or system. This we owe to generations of Gambians to come,” he added.

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