Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has sworn-in Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou as Attorney General and Minister for Justice for the small West African country, which is emerging from a 22-year dictatorship.
Tambadou will have to hit the ground running as victims of Jammeh’s brutal rule with their families seek justice. He would have to quickly work on reforming the justice system, which has been used by former President Yahya Jammeh to persecute his opponents.
A former UN Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, Mr. Tambadou will be replacing Mama Fatima Singhateh, who has been nicknamed ‘The Injustice Minister.’
The new Attorney General faces a lot of challenges. The Justice Department is under increasing pressure to weigh in on excessive use of force by local police officers and is would oversee several closely watched civil and human rights investigations.
Singhateh had defended the use of excessive force by the police, especially in April and May, that led to the death of at least two opposition protesters, Solo Sandeng and Ebrima Nkrumah.
Pro-democracy campaigners are seeking to have certain clauses in the constitution repealed, saying they are ‘discriminative and undemocratic.’
Human rights defenders are also campaigning to have sedition laws and other criminal and defamation laws were enforced by Jammeh to silence the press, suppress dissenting voices and jail opponents.
President Adama Barrow has pledged to make the rule of law the order of the day unlike Jammeh’s government, which had spread fear and extreme intolerance to any form of dissent in Gambia.
Under Jammeh, human rights defenders, journalists, political opponents, critics of government policy, public officials and citizens face intimidation, harassment, death threats, arbitrary arrests, incarceration, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.