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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

South Sudan studies Gambia’s transitional justice programme

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A high-powered delegation from South Sudan led by Justice Minister Madol Arol visited The Gambia in the last few days to study the Gambia’s transitional justice programme.
The delegation met Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow on Tuesday and expressed high respect for The Gambia’s transitional justice program, describing it as a model for other countries around the world. Minister Arol expressed hope that the best practices and experiences from The Gambia will serve as a reference for South Sudan. The visiting delegation then briefed the Chief Justice and his team on the steps under consideration or being undertaken in South Sudan as part of that country’s transitional justice process.
Welcoming the visitors, Chief Justice Jallow disclosed that The Gambia has been in transition since the change of government in 2017, undertaking a series of reforms since then, including t civil service reforms, security sector reforms and the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.
He told the visitors that The Gambia’s transitional justice program places much emphasis on reconciliation and accountability with the Judiciary playing a central role in this process.
On the Constitutional Review Agenda, the Chief Justice noted that all hope is not lost for the rejected draft constitution as all stakeholders are encouraged to give it a fresh try.
At the level of the Judiciary, the Gambian jurist outlined key reforms including strengthening the tenure of judges, ensuring independence of the Judiciary and mode of appointment as well as indigenisation of the judiciary and expansion of courts countrywide to improve access to justice.
The reforms undertaken by the transition, Chief Justice Jallow added, include enhancing the capacity of staff of the Gambian Judiciary to enhance service delivery. He also highlighted that there has been a change of perception of the judiciary and this is expected to restore public and stakeholder confidence. He acknowledged that the Judiciary receives a lot of help and interest from the current government.
Looking forward, the Chief Justice expressed hope that by January, the National Assembly will approve a proposal to fund a special criminal division to try TRRC cases. The Chief Justice expressed the need for the Judiciary to have such a division in order to ensure speedy disposal of such cases and leave a legacy for the Judiciary and the country from such a process. The proposed Hybrid court, Chief Justice Jallow said will try high level cases that cannot be tried in the Gambia for legal or other factors.

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