PGA Regional Seminar on Impunity kicks off in Banjul

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By Special Parliamentary Correspondent

The Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) in collaboration with the National Assembly of The Gambia and the Ministry of Justice, yesterday began a two day Regional Working Group to enable peer legislators to learn, exchange, and strategies with one another and from experts in the field to devise and implement context-specific mechanisms to fight impunity.

The Seminar which is being attended by more than fifty Parliamentarians drawn from over twenty African countries including the members of the National Assembly Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Matters will enable participating parliamentarians to gain valuable tools and insight to empower them as accountability champions and draw action-oriented strategies to implement in their respective countries and parliaments.

Speaking at the opening of the Seminar, Abubacarr M. Tambedou, Minister of for Justice noted that despite the growing recognition enshrined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished,” in too many places, justice remains elusive and impunity for grave crimes continues. adding that winning in the fight against impunity requires the conviction, commitment, and competence to develop effective accountability mechanisms at the national level to uphold domestic justice and enable international cooperation and Parliamentarians have an indispensable role to play in this effort through their legislative, representative, and oversight functions.

He also spoke of his Ministry’s commitment to ending impunity in The Gambia by ensuring that perpetrators of crime of concern to the Rome Statue do not go unpunished.

“The convergence is significant because Parliamentarians are in a crucial position as they have law-making and policy-influencing prerogatives, including resource-allocation, implementation and accountability across the spectrum of preventive response and sanctioning mechanisms. Their empowerment and sensitization can also lead to a transformational shift towards democratic governance, which can address the challenge of impunity particularly in Africa”, says Hon. Mariam Jack Denton, Speaker of the National Assembly in a statement read on her behalf by Hon. Alhagie S. Darboe.

The EU Charge de Affaire, Atuila Lajos also spoke at length on the significance of the Rome Statue and the International Justice System and encouraged the need for strong commitment on the part of Parliamentarians through their oversight functions to ensuring that the institutions of justice serve everyone and that no perpetrator of any crimes is clothed with impunity. He further assured of the EU’s commitment to working with all stakeholders in the fight against impunity particularly in Africa.

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