By Musa Saho
The Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Justice is pleased to announce that the National Assembly has today 30th March 2023, passed the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023 which was tabled before it by the Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Honorable Dawda A. Jallow.
The passing of this law is a significant milestone in the transitional justice process of The Gambia, particularly with regard to accountability for human rights violations committed during the Jammeh regime. The law provides a framework for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters between The Gambia and other countries, enabling the country to cooperate with foreign law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting cross-border crimes.
Enforced disappearance is one such crime that often occurs across national borders, making it challenging to investigate and prosecute. The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023 will be crucial in investigating and prosecuting enforced disappearances that were revealed to have occurred during the Jammeh regime. The law enables The Gambia to request assistance from other countries in obtaining evidence, witnesses, and other forms of assistance needed to investigate and prosecute these crimes.
In addition to its importance in investigating and prosecuting human rights violations, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023 will also have a significant impact on everyday criminal investigations in The Gambia. The law will provide a legal framework for the exchange of information and evidence between The Gambia and other countries, making it easier to investigate and prosecute a wide range of criminal offenses, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and cybercrime.
By enabling international cooperation in criminal investigations, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023 will improve The Gambia’s ability to tackle transnational organized crime, which often involves criminal networks operating across national borders. The law will also provide greater protection for victims and witnesses, as it will allow The Gambia to request assistance from other countries in locating and protecting individuals who may be at risk.
Overall, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act of 2023 is a crucial step towards enhancing The Gambia’s criminal justice system and promoting regional and international cooperation in the fight against crime. By enabling more effective investigations and prosecutions of criminal offences, the law will help to improve the rule of law and ensure greater accountability for all individuals, regardless of their status or position.