By Landing Ceesay
At the Opening ceremony of the Legal Year 2022 in Banjul, the Gambia Bar Association, an umbrella body of legal practitioners in the country called for ‘expeditious’ introduction of a new Constitution.
The association also called for the repeal of all the ‘repugnant/undemocratic’ laws that do not conform to international human rights norms and values as democracy.
“As Bar, we wish to reiterate the importance and critical need to overhaul the body of draconian and undemocratic laws conceived, designed and used to perpetuate a dictatorship for 22 years. It is disheartening to say the least that we still have the same constitution that was amended more than 50 times and the same draconian laws used to persecute the citizenry under a brutal dictatorship. As a rule of law institution, the Bar is calling for the expeditious introduction of a new constitution and the repeal of all the repugnant/undemocratic laws that don’t conform to international human rights norms and values as democracy,” Salieu Taal, President Gambia Bar Association said.
The Bar Association President further stated that rule of law is the bedrock of a democratic society, and not only about the fair application and respect for the law of the land.
“The cornerstone of the Rule of Law is the equality and fairness of the laws. The laws of the land in a democracy must reflect the republican values of the state and empower the citizens to exercise their constitutional and statutory rights without any undue hindrance. The Laws of the land in a Democracy must not be oppressive and against democratic values or offend human right principles,” he said.
Mr. Taal added that the Bar Association has recognized its role as the defender of the public interest and the need to reposition itself to better serve the public interest.
He said in practising the doctrine of the relationship between law and society, his association has recently completed its 5 Year Strategic Plan titled- “Equity in Law and Justice”.
“Thus, the plan was developed in consultation with all our stakeholders, including but not limited to the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, the Police, Civil Society and the GCCI,” he said.
The opening of the Legal Year 2022 took place at the law court complex on Independent Drive in Banjul today (Sunday), under the leadership of His Lordship the Chief Justice, the Hon. Justice Hassan B. Jallow.
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