Armed Forces announces Court Martial Verdict

By Alh. Saikou B. Nyassi

The defence headquarters of The Gambia on Thursday, 2 April, 2015 issued a pressModou Njie release announcing the verdict of the trial by Court Martial of six persons on treason and other charges. The press release was broadcast by GRTS.

The media were not allowed to cover the trial and some relatives have complained to Foroyaa that not all relatives were allowed to attend.

According to the release, there were fourteen counts altogether. Four counts – counts 6, 7, 8, and 9 – were struck out and sentences were imposed on the remaining ten counts. Each of the six were given multiple sentences for the counts on which they were found guilty. They were sentenced as follows:

Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju: Discharged on count 1 but sentenced on six counts, the highest being death sentence

Captain Abdoulie Jobe: Discharged on count 1 but sentenced on six counts, the highest being life imprisonment

Captain Buba K. Bojang: Discharged on count 1 but sentenced on six counts, the highest sentence being life imprisonment

Lieutenant Amadou Sowe: Sentenced to life imprisonment on two counts

Lieutenant Buba Sanneh: Sentenced on seven counts, the highest being death sentence

Private Modou Njie: Sentenced to death on two counts and to life imprisonment on one count

The release notes that the Court Martial was convened in accordance with regulation 103 of the Gambia Armed Forces Regulations for disciplinary acts, Cap 19:01 Laws of the Gambia, 2009.

A five member court comprised the president and four other members who are senior officers of the Gambia Armed Forces, namely, Colonel Momodou Sowe President of the Court Martial, Lieutenant Colonel Yoro M. A. Jallow member, Lt Colonel Sait Njie member, Major Momodou E. Dibba member and Lieutenant Commander Momodou Badjie member.

A judge advocate was appointed from the Judiciary in the person of Justice Emmanuel A. Amadi, a high court judge.

The court sat from 5th February to the 30th March, 2O15.

THE ACCUSED

The following persons who are officers and soldiers of the Gambia Armed Forces were charged before the court and they are, Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju 1st accused person, Captain Abdoulie Jobe 2nd accused person, Captain Buba K. Bojang 3rd accused person, Captain Amadou Sowe 4th accused person, Lieutenant Buba Sanneh 5th accused person, Private Njie Modou 6th accused person.

THE CHARGES

The charges range from treason to security offences contrary to the Criminal Code and the Gambia Armed Forces Act, and they are as follows:

Count 1 treason, contrary to section 35 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 2 treason, contrary to section 35 (1) (g) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 3 treason, contrary to section 35 (1) (d) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 4 concealment of treason, contrary to section 36 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01 Volume 3 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 5, concealment of treason, contrary to section 36 (b) of the Criminal Code Cap 10:01, Volume 3 Revised Laws of the Gambia, 2009.

Count 6, Offences related to mutiny contrary to section 47 (b) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of the Gambia, 2009.

Count 7, offences related to mutiny, contrary to section 47 (b) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01, Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2OO9.

Count 8, offences related to mutiny contrary to section 47 (d) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:O1 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 9, mutiny contrary to section 45 of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 10, offences relating to security, contrary to section 38 of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 11, aiding and abetting, contrary section 35 (1) (a) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revise Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 12, desertion, contrary to section 53 (1) (a) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 13 behaving before the enemy in such a manner as to show cowardice contrary to section 36 (1) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

Count 14, improperly forsaking a position from cowardice, contrary to section 37 (g) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Volume 5 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

REPRESENTATION

The prosecution was led by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mr. H. Barkun with Miss O. Danso, State Counsel, Mr. A. Bah, State Counsel, and assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Bahoreh Jaiteh, provo martial and legal officer of the Gambia Armed Forces. The accused persons were represented by lawyers sent by the National Agency for Legal Aid. They were Mr. U. Achibo with Mrs. H. Achibo and Mr. Sidney O. Kennedy, representing the first and second accused persons.

Mrs. N. Bogye with Sir Charles Thomas represented the 3rd to 6th accused persons. The above defence counsels for the accused persons were assisted by three senior defence officers from the Gambia Armed Forces, namely Lieutenant Commander Alieu Sanneh, Major Ousman Bah, Lieutenant Navy Fara Jobe.

THE PROCEEDINGS

During the sittings of the court, the proceedings were open to both the public and family members. However given the sensitive nature of the case, which borders around National Security and Defence, the categories and ranks of the persons involved, access to the proceedings were restricted to the media. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Gambia Armed Forces Act, Regulation 113 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009.

JUDGMENT

Counts 6, 7, 8 and 9 were struck out by the court as they are offences related to mutiny under sections 45, 47 (b) and 47 (d) of the Gambia Armed Forces Act Cap 19:01 Revised Laws of The Gambia, 2009 which the court considered as inappropriate in the court.

The conclusion of the Court Martial on 30 th March 2015, in terms of judgment, was as follows:

First accused Lieutenant Colonel Sarjo Jarju: Count 1 discharged on this count, Count 2 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 3 sentenced to death, Count 4 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 5 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 10, 20 years imprisonment, Count 11, 10 years imprisonment.

Second accused, Captain Abdoulie Jobe: Count 1 discharged on this count, Count 2 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 3 sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, Count 4 sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Count 5 sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Count 10, 20 years imprisonment, Count 11, 10 years imprisonment.

Third accused. Captain Buba K. Bojang: Count 1 discharged on this count, Count 2 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 3 sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, Count 4 sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Count 5 sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Count 10, 20 years imprisonment, Count 11, 10 years imprisonment.

Fourth accused, Lieutenant Amadou Sowe: Count 13 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 14 sentenced to life imprisonment.

Fifth accused, Lieutenant Buba Sanneh: Count 1 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 2 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 3 sentenced to death, Count 4 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 5 sentenced to life imprisonment, Count 10, 20 years imprisonment, Count 11, 10 years imprisonment.

Sixth accused Private Njie Modou: Count 1 sentenced to death, Count 2 sentenced to death, Count 12 sentenced to life imprisonment.

The above sentences run concurrently.

The judgment, findings, conclusion and sentences by the Court Martial are recommendations which are subjected to confirmation by the convening authority as provided in the Gambia Armed Forces Act.