Institute of Human Rights and Development (IHRD) in collaboration with the Gambian Judicial Training Institute (JTI) has on Thursday concluded two days refresher training for Judges in the Gambia.
Justice Naceesay Salla-Wadda the Chairperson of the Institute of Human Rights and Development (HRD) said, the refresher course for Judges falls within the mandate and framework of the IHRD resolve to contribute its quota in strengthening the capacity of the Gambian Judiciary.
And, added that the training is designed to raise the awareness of judicial officials on international and regional human rights instruments. She said this is in addition to the Gambia’s obligation to upholding and respecting its international human rights obligations, as well as the application of international human rights law in domestic setting.
“The importance of the Gambia’s international human rights obligations and the application of international law within the Gambia’s domestic settings cannot be over emphasis.
“It is at this crucial stage were we as Judges have an important role to play in the interpretation and application of relevant international and regional conventions and treaties and thus the importance of this refresher course for all of us,” she said.
She added that it is important to note that the Republic of the Gambia has done relatively well comparatively in having very progressive laws that are as a result of the Gambia ratifying and domesticating key International and regional treaties some of which include the Children’s Act 2005, the Women Act 2010, the Amendment of the Women’s Act, contained in Act No.11 of 2015 prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation to name a few.
“Despite these significant strides, there is still a big challenge in the use of these treaties and laws in the Gambian courts in terms of the enforcement of human rights provision that are provided for within the treaties that the Gambia has domesticated.
“This is why we as Judges therefore have a very crucial role to pay in addressing these shortcomings, “she noted.
Chief Justice Hassan B. Jallow who dilated on the application of international law in the domestic settings and how international principles get translated into domestic law said, the practice of law whether in the private sector or anywhere is a continuous learning and continues education especially in this days when there is substantial growth of law to the welfare of individuals.
“We must try and live individually in other to reach the developing standard particularly in the areas of human rights,” he said.
He said in the 2018 Judiciary budget a significant increase is made to fund a number of training programs within the country`s judicial sector.
The Hon. Chief Justice continues to dilate on the issues of the international law in the domestic setting. He said in the past Municipal laws were much more important than the international laws and the primary source of international law was Municipal laws.
“Things has being changing progressively as the international laws are expanding, and so today you see international laws regulating past issues which has never use to be were international laws deadline with especially the human rights issues,” he said.
Chief Justice B. Jallow said in the case of the international criminal justices most of the obligations there are created by the international laws and they are enforced by the international laws in respective of what Municipal laws are.
He said there are a lot of challenges they Judiciary is facing, challenges ranging from theoretical challenges to challenges that arise from hearing.
“When you look at the constitution of the Gambia section 7 state what the laws of the Gambia are and do not make any reference to the international laws. The only reference of the law would be the law of the legal application Act cap 5,” he said.
He said in some countries they take in bold step of intergrading international laws and making it possible for it to be applicable to their countries.
“It is important for us to try to apply the principles of the international laws particularly those related to human rights. A Judge who is sitting on a case is bound by the law of the country,” he noted.