Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gambia Attorney Introduces Bill to Criminalize Torture

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Gambia Attorney General and Minister of Justice said Friday he has introduced a bill in Parliament criminalizing acts of torture.

Abubacarr Baa Tambadou told journalists during a press briefing held at the premises of the state law office, that some of the bills he introduced in Parliament ‘include a prohibition of torture bill which will criminalize acts of torture for the first time in The Gambia; an international crimes bill to cover mass crimes against humanity; an access to information bill, atrocity crimes like genocide, war crimes and an anti-corruption bill, and various other amendments to remove discriminatory laws against women in our society’.

According to him, Gambia successfully submitted its combined periodic reports for the first time since 1985 to the UN Human Rights Council on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and its combined periodic report for the first time since 1994 to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

He added: “More significantly, we became one of only nine countries in Africa to make a Declaration pursuant to Article 34(6) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of an African Court to allow individuals to have direct access to the Court.”

“But a lot still remains to be done. In this regard, I have now introduced a number of bills to the National Assembly as part of the Government’s legislative reform agenda.”

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He was however quick to add that these bills include comprehensive amendments to the criminal code and criminal procedure code for a radical transformation of Gambia’s criminal justice system to bring it in line with modern criminal justice norms and practices.

“In particular, the amendments will introduce non-custodial sentences such as community service, suspended sentences, probation, plea bargaining, and greater flexibility for bail”, he added.

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