Bills on Accountability, Special Prosecutor’s Office drafted

Bills on Accountability, Special Prosecutor’s Office drafted

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda A. Jallow yesterday announced his ministry has drafted both the Special Accountability Mechanisms Bill and the Special Prosecutor’s Office Bill as demonstration of government’s commitment to transitional justice.

“These bills are critical components of our roadmap towards justice and accountability. They provide the legal framework needed to operationalise our accountability mechanism,” Mr Jallow said at the validation workshop on Special Accountability Mechanism and Special Prosecutors’ Office bills at the SDKJCC.

“Moreover, the government of The Gambia has successfully secured the partnership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the establishment of the Special Accountability Mechanism, particularly the Hybrid Tribunal,” he added. “This regional collaboration underscores our dedication to this process and highlights the value of leveraging regional expertise and support.”

According to Minister Jallow, the collaboration with ECOWAS is not merely a partnership; “it is a reflection of the political will of the government. It is a testament to our determination to work collaboratively, both domestically and regionally, to ensure that justice is served, and that accountability is upheld. This political will extends to every aspect of the transitional justice process. It underpins our commitment to fostering a just and accountable society in The Gambia.” 

“Our intention is to leave a lasting impact on The Gambia’s justice system. We understand that this process goes beyond a set of legal documents; it is about reshaping our society, instilling a sense of justice and accountability in every aspect of our lives. It is about making sure that the painful legacy of the past does not repeat itself, and that future generations can live in a society where their rights and freedoms are protected.” 

The Government of The Gambia recognises that achieving justice and accountability is a complex and multifaceted task, the Minister noted, adding that it involves not only prosecution but also reconciliation, healing, and the restoration of trust in our institutions. “We are actively working on these aspects as well, because our vision for justice goes beyond the courtroom.” 

“We have established mechanisms for reparations and support for victims. We understand that justice is not complete until the victims have the opportunity to heal and rebuild their lives. Our goal is not only about holding perpetrators accountable but also about making victims whole again.”

The Justice Minister, however, acknowledged that the journey towards justice and accountability is not an easy one, saying it requires painstaking efforts, dedication, and planning. “The Government of The Gambia accepted all the recommendations of the TRRC in its White Paper, and from that moment, we were resolute in our determination to follow through on these recommendations. We issued an implementation plan, one that was shared with all our partners. This plan is the roadmap that guides us on this journey.” 

“In this plan, we have laid out a clear framework for prosecuting those who bear the greatest responsibility for the human rights violations that occurred in our country from 1994 to 2016. This approach necessitates the establishment of an accountability mechanism that includes a Special Prosecutor’s Office, a Hybrid Tribunal, and the Special Criminal Division of the High Court of The Gambia.” 

“Our objective is twofold: first, to prosecute offenses that can be addressed domestically within our own Special Division, and second, to address those offenses of an international nature under international law through the Special Tribunal. This approach allows us to make the best use of our existing domestic structures, ensuring the effective prosecution of these cases.”

Source: The Point

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