By Fatoumatta K Jallow
The Gambian Judiciary on Tuesday, 28 February, 2018 held a valedictory session to introduce the new chief Justice Hassan Bubacarr Jallow.
Landing M Sanneh, Judicial Secretary said Justice Jallow has participated immensely in the dispensation of quality justice in The Gambia as Lawyer, Solicitor General and Attorney General.
He said for the past years, he has been in the service of the United Nations and his outstanding performance in those internationally respected courts is held in high repute.
He said they welcomed his appointment as Chief Justice. “Never in history, had the appointment to such office generated so much public consent and acclaim,” he said.
Judicial Secretary Sanneh expressed optimism that the new Chief Justice will restore the prestige of the Judiciary and in so doing strengthen the democratic transition in progress.
He used the opportunity to acknowledge the impeccable and selfless contribution of Justice Jallow to the development of their jurisprudence and advancement of the cause of justice and rule of law, a career guided by independence, impartiality and wisdom.
He noted that it is the same principles that shaped his career, from his early days as a State Prosecutor at the Attorney General’s Chambers in the 70’s through his nomination as Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to his recent appointment as Chief Justice of The Gambia.
Assan Bubacarr Jallow, the new Chief Justice, said the ceremony is a result of the historic event of the peaceful and constitutional transition of the government which occurred in the Gambia for the first time on the 19th of January 2017.
He said No community can begin to claim truly democratic credentials unless and until it experiences and settles down to peaceful constitutional change of government as a routine matter.
“19th January, 2017 is thus a watershed event for The Gambia and its people in their march to democracy and respect for the rule of law,” he said.
According to the new Chief Justice, the Judiciary has a crucial role in that march. “For Justice, of the right quality, is an important component of the rule of law and of democracy. For the Judiciary to fulfill that role, Judicial officers must be guided by the key principles of judicial independence and impartially, of efficiency and by adherence to the highest standards of honesty and integrity,” he stressed.
He added: “We must constantly keep these principles in mind and ensure as judicial officers that they shape and determine our conduct”.
Justice Jallow also emphasized that this obligation extends to the support staff of the judiciary as well saying, they may not be engaged in making judicial decisions but they are important representatives of the Judiciary.
“I ask them, and indeed all of us, simply to discharge fully the duties that we have been called upon to perform do your job, do it very well and with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity,” he said.
He described Independence and efficiency as two major challenges often faced by judicatures. They are challenges which the Courts, the Legal profession and the community at large must continuously work together to overcome.
He said every community must seriously invest in the independence and efficiency of its system of Justice if it wishes to become and remain a community of peace and progress. “For without Justice, there is no peace, without peace there can be no progress,” he said.
“This places an onerous obligation on all of us here who have been entrusted with managing various aspects of the machinery of Justice. We must continually strive therefore to ensure that true Justice is available to our community,” he added.
Rachael Y Mendy also spoke at the ceremony.