Former Justice Minister set to become Chief Justice

Former Justice Minister set to become Chief Justice

Justice Hassan B Jallow, the Gambia’s longest serving Attorney General and Minister of Justice under President Sir Dawda Jawara is to become the West African nation’s Chief Justice, according to reports.

Jallow, a former UN Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia previously served as a judge in the Gambia Supreme court.

If appointed, he will be tasked with presiding a few cases before the Supreme Court including an election petition filed by former President Yahya Jammeh to have the December election results nullified and have fresh polls held.

He had encouraged the Jammeh government not withdraw the country’s membership in the International Criminal Court. The unilateral decision by Jammeh is set to be rescinded by President Adama Barrow.

  • Jallow studied law at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the Nigerian Law School, and University College London.
  • In 1982, he was appointed the Solicitor General of the Gambia. He was Attorney General and Minister of Justice for the Gambia from 1984 to 1994, and in 1998 he was appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of the Gambia.
  • In 1998, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Jallow to serve as an international legal expert and carry out a judicial evaluation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
  • Jallow was a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal and in 2002 he became a judge of the Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
  • In 2003, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan selected Jallow and the United Nations Security Council approved him as the prosecutor of the ICTR, succeeding Carla Del Ponte. Jallow is the first ICTR prosecutor to not also be the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

He is set to become the second Gambian to hold the top judicial position.

President Adama Barrow has pledged to ensure that there is separation of power. Barrow’s government is supportive of judicial independence.

Gambia’s former government under the APRC regime has been accused of compromising the rule of law and not respecting the orders of the courts. Judges are usually appointed by the executive and those that rule against the state risk being fired and arrested.

The International Bar Association is hoping that The Gambia’s government repeal the non-bailable offenses legislation and the amendment to the Criminal Code extending the definition of libel.

President Barrow has appointed another former UN prosecutor Aboubacarr Baa Tambadou as Attorney General and Minister of Justice who has pledged to reform draconian media laws passed by the former regime.

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