Chief Justice proposes establishment of fully-fledged special criminal division of the High Court
By Sulayman Waan
Following anticipation of a significant number of criminal cases being filed before the High Courts of The Gambia due to TRRC recommendations, Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow has proposed that the government establish a fully-fledged special criminal division of the High Court.
He was speaking at a dialogue on ‘Building Strong Institutions’ and Book Launch- ‘The Gambia in Transition: Towards a New Constitutional Order’ held at the International Conference Centre on 21 October 2022. Chief Justice Jallow said: “We anticipate that the implementation of the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) recommendations will result in a significant number of criminal cases being filed before the courts.”
“In anticipation and in preparation for this increase in the workload and the need for its speedy and efficient disposal, I have proposed, in the context of the Judiciary estimates for 2023, the establishment of a fully-fledged special criminal division of the High Court which would be assigned all cases arising from the TRRC process.“
He added: “We look forward to the Judiciary being provided with the necessary resources accordingly to establish and operate such a division and thus enable it to continue to effectively discharge its responsibility with regard to accountability for past serious crimes.”
Speaking further, the country’s chief legal luminary and head of the judiciary, said the work of the TRRC has been a very important element of the transition programme in respect of uncovering the truth and promoting reconciliation in The Gambia.
He therefore commended the TRRC Chair and members for their diligent work and the government for accepting the commission’s recommendations,
While calling for institutional reforms, reparations and accountability.
“The implementation of the recommendations should be pursued equally diligently and vigorously,” Jallow stated. He recalled that the Judiciary had already concluded two major criminal trials, citing the NIA nine and the Yankuba Touray cases.
He further reaffirmed the Judiciary’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights through the delivery of quality justice.