First unpopular measure of the new President of the Gambia. The renewal of the contract of four Nigerian judges in the High Court of Justice has raised a shield of the Gambian Bar. The Gambian Bar Association, an association of bar lawyers, denounced “an unbearable decision”, as these judges were already under the former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
It was a promise from new President Adama Barrow and his Minister of Justice, Aboubacar Tambadou, to appoint more Gambian judges to the various courts. A promise to end the practice of former President Yahya Jammeh who recruited foreign judges, very often Nigerians, ready to support him in all his decisions.
But with these appointments, out of the six judges who sit in the High Court of Banjul today, Only two are Gambians. The others are Nigerians. According to Rachel Mendy, president of the lawyers’ association, the problem is not so much their nationality, but especially their liabilities.
“We feel that they are not the right people to be judges. We know them well, some are incompetent, some at the time did everything Yahya Jammeh asked them. And we believe that it is necessary to have fair judges, so that they are independent of the judicial system, in The Gambia.”
Rachel Mendy said even more amazed that his association has proposed Gambian candidates. “We are not against foreign judges, only if they are appointed by their government through the principle of technical assistance. Our association has set up a committee to propose candidates from Gambia, To become judges, and we made a list of recommendations. So we do not understand why it was not taken into consideration.
Lawyers threaten to boycott the trials of these four judges if they are kept in office. The President of the Supreme Court, who is in the Gambia responsible for the judiciary, refused to comment on these appointments.