By Omar Bah
Justice Aminata Saho-Ceesay, the Judge Advocate for the Court Martial in the trial of generals Umpa Mendy and Ansumana Tamba yesterday dismissed the appeal made by defense counsel over the court martial’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
Defense counsel Suwaibou Jammeh argued in his appeal that the Court Martial does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case “because the Generals should not be only considered as civilians, but they are civilians.”
Counsel Jammeh further argued that since the Generals deserted the army, their salaries were stopped and when they were arrested all their military belongings were confiscated.
“The army does not consider them as part of the military,” he said.
He said putting all what transpired between the two generals and the Gambia Armed Forces, “The Court Martial has no jurisdiction to try them because they are civilians and should be treated as such.”
Delivering a ruling over the matter, Justice Advocate Aminata Saho-Ceesay, dismissed the defense appeal and adjourned the case to the 25-26 April for the accused persons to make their objection to the ruling and as well as take their plea to the charge against them.
The Judge Advocate also ruled that the two should henceforth be dressed in their military uniforms when appearing before the court.
The generals are charged with desertion.
Generals Umpa Mendy and Ansumana Tamba sought refuge in Equatorial Guinea alongside Jammeh in January 2017 after his rule came to an end.
The top officials left the country on board Jammeh’s plane bound for exile in Equatorial Guinea on January 21, 2017.