Gambia: legal assessment mission

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Marta Ribeiro, GoGIN legal expert, in association with Ousmane Diouf, UNODC legal expert seconded to CRESMAO, presented the preliminary report on the analysis of national legislation related to the implementation of international conventions applicable to crimes at sea. The report was discussed during a plenary session held on 25th September 2019 under the chairmanship of the National Security Advisor (ONS).

This mission is part of the legal support to the reform of domestic legislation applicable to crime at sea offered jointly by the European projects GoGIN and SWAIMS to the Gulf of Guinea States; this component is now managed by the UNODC. Legal analyses cover the implementation of the international legal framework notably for jurisdiction and prosecution.

A first mission to collect information and needs expressed by Gambian authorities was conducted in May 2019 by the same experts with the support of the Head of Legal Affairs and Judicial Cooperation of the ICC. A first report was prepared including an inventory of national legislation, an analysis of the relevant legal provisions and a list of recommendations aimed at improving the efficiency of the legal system as well as of the police at sea.

The preliminary report was presented in plenary session on September 25 at the Office of National Security in Banjul, chaired by Colonel Momodou Badjie, national security adviser. The Gambian authorities from different agencies (Justice, Foreign Affairs, Naval Forces, Fisheries, Interior, Maritime Administration, Security Office) actively participated in the debates promoted by the experts’ proposals, and thus contributed in a strong spirit of cooperation to the preparation of the final report, planned to be delivered at the beginning of 2020.

This report is timely because many reforms are underway, in particular concerning the criminal code, the criminal procedure code, the drug control act and the fisheries acts. At the same time, efforts must be made to train and strengthen the capacities of the agencies in charge of law enforcement at sea to combat all crimes, including illegal fishing and marine pollution from ships.

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