Wednesday, March 22

Access to justice is legitimate demand for citizens – Justice Minister

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Minister Jallow was speaking at Ocean Bay during the launch of the Improving Access to Justice project organised by the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) and presided by the United States Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.

Jallow explained that the project is another significant timely assistance to the government and the people of The Gambia, supported by the U.S. government through its Department of State Bureau of International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Affairs.

“In The Gambia, the Constitution and other laws have set out the mechanism through which citizens and non-citizens are able to access justice to resolve their dispute and differences and as well seek appropriate remedies,” he said. “Among the structures created by the Constitution is a robust judicial system.”

Karen Johnson, IDLO General Counsel, stated that IDLO has been a proud partner with The Gambia since 2019.

She added that they have provided technical assistance and capacity-building support to the ministries of Justice, Trade, Industry and Petroleum and International Investment Law.

She also revealed that they have supported the Ministry of Trade in the negotiation of a bilateral treaty and provided capacity-building support to the Ministry of Justice in the negotiation of commercial and investment contracts.

“The project launch represents the next step in our partnership with the government of The Gambia. IDLO will partner with local training institutions to develop and provide specialized training curricula for judges, magistrates and prosecutors,” she said, reiterating that the new project will focus outside of the Greater Banjul Area and include work with the magistrate courts operating in the West Coast, North Bank and Upper River Region.

Justice Hassan Jallow, Chief Justice of The Gambia, highlighted that the U.S. and The Gambia share common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

He added that it is the basis on which the two countries have built a very strong partnership for several years – from which the Gambia has been receiving generous assistance from the U.S. government to strengthen its institutions for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the judiciary.

“We have been receiving a lot of assistance through the U.S. Aid and the American Bar Association in the implementation of the Judiciary’s five years strategic plan,” he recounted. “We have benefited from trainings, revision of our roles for practices and procedures, and strengthening the capacity of the judiciary by improving its working system and method through automation.”