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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The role of the judiciary in the separation of powers


Separation of powers literally means that organs of government should be separated and independent from each other in the discharge of their respective duties as stipulated.

The organs of government conventionally include the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive. The fundamental function of the judiciary is to interpret and give meaning to the law as set out in a given country.

Whenever we talk about the roles of the judiciary in the separation of powers, we are notionally stressing the functions, limits and the extent to which the judiciary should be separated from other arms of government.

As the judiciary remains to serve as the last hope of the people in seeking and accessing justice, its role ideally suggests that the judges and magistrates should be able to make reasoned and reasonable decisions, rulings and orders in courts freely and according to law without having to look over their shoulders or to consider their tenure of office to be as long or short as their judgments or rulings.

Therefore, the roles of the judiciary in the separation of powers require that it should be free and independent in the administration of justice. That those decisions are made according to the constitution and other laws of the country without fear or favor, affection or ill will.

Moreover, since the judiciary continues to serve as a focal point in the administration of justice to the generality of the state, the appointment, remuneration and promotion of its working members should be based on competency to deliver justice according to the law. This is important because it helps to instill confidence in the people within the country and the international community as it helps to boost the morale of investors in the country. This cannot be met in the absence of efficient, effective and timely administration of justice.

Additionally, this also necessitates that judiciary as an institution must also act on the path of justice. That it’s working staff act ethically by limiting themselves within their limits as defined by law.

Though the pronouncements by the judiciary serve as a check on the powers on other arms of government, this does not in any way mean interference.

In conclusion, although complete separation might seem utopian in any part of the world, nevertheless, in order to prolifically discharge its roles, the judiciary should be able administratively, financially and judicially to  conduct its work. In so doing, this will help propel other arms of government to successfully discharge their roles in the separation process.

Abdou Manneh

University of The Gambia

Law Faculty




The world must take now to stop the horror of Isis


Dear editor, 

The international community’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq driven by Isis jihadists against minorities has been grossly inadequate and slow. The founding words of the United Nations — “Never again” — ring hollow as the UN and powerful member states lack the willpower to intervene and prevent the genocide of religious minorities, yet again.

As Isis seeks to establish a Sunni Caliphate in the Middle East, their advances “bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide” against communities and individuals who do not share their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities have been forced to convert, pay jizya and live in submission, or flee empty-handed. 

There are plentiful accounts of the massacring of minority men, the kidnapping, rape and selling of minority women and even the murder of innocent minority children. Isis militants killed at least 500 Yazidis, burying some alive and taking hundreds of women as slaves, an Iraqi government minister told Reuters Sunday. Cultural cleansing has reached unprecedented levels. With such abominable barbarities, humanity is facing a real incarnation of evil.

The UN Security Council’s statement last week, condemning Isis actions and calling on member states to provide humanitarian aid, rings hollow and shows duplicity when compared with others. The effacement of Europe on the international scene at this tragic moment is shameful.

President Obama has finally started to react, by authorising limited air strikes to defend “American interests” in Iraq, bolster the threatened Kurdish region and deliver some humanitarian aid. Yet, the response is woefully inadequate. It falls far short of what the catastrophic situation on the ground requires. Essentially preserving the status quo, this response fails to make it an objective to drive the dark forces of ISIS into retreating. It also fails to recognise that ISIS is an international — not just Iraqi — problem, as a hotbed of terrorism makes roots in such a vital area.

In response to the current genocide and humanitarian crisis, the UN and its member states, especially the United States, need to take these six steps:

1. Authorise air strikes against Isis by Nato or an alliance of willing countries.

2. Refer Isis leaders to the International Criminal Court.

3. Create safe havens for the minority communities in Iraq and Syria.

4. Provide arms to the Kurdish Peshmerga for their self-defence and protection of the minorities who have sought refuge in the Kurdish-controlled region.

5. Expose and block the financial networks that support Isis.

6. Develop a plan to assist refugees’ return to their homes.

The West has blood on its hands by its past actions and inactions that helped “create” the current situation. Leaders of the international community bear responsibility for the agony and deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Now is the time for immediate action — not for more empty, feel-good statements and posturing by the international community.

Abel Mane

Cape Point


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