A well attended national convergence of stakeholders on Justice and Human Right is currently underway at a local hotel in Banjul.
The three days synergy organised by the Ministry of Justice with support from partners is centred on the theme: 'Addressing the Past for a Better Gambia'.
The forum also discusses the lapses in the justice system and human right violations meted on Gambians during the past 22 years with recommendations made which was proposed to be used in the review process of the country's law book.
The Chief Justice of The Gambia Hassan B. Jallow, said transition is a state of democracy based on respect, rule of law and human rights; adding it is full of challenges and must be accomplished.
"The challenges, however, provide us also with a unique opportunity not only to investigate and remedy alleged abuses of the immediate past, but drawing on our national experience since independence, to reconstruct the architecture of governance in a way that creates for posterity the very firm and solid foundations of justice, peace, progress and prosperity".
He also highlighted the need for political pluralism in the community with proactive means that discourages defacto monopoly of state powers by any particular group. The chief justice also pointed out the need to include vulnerable group - children and women and also the youths and freeing them of obstacles that hamper them and the society in the struggle for progress.
In his address, the attorney general and minister of Justice of Sierra Leone, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara acknowledged their awareness to the horrible human right violations committed, however, he reminded participants the need to cautiously search for justice. He said that the objective of transitional justice policy is to end the culture of impunity and establish the rule of law in the context of democratic government.
"Reconciliation is build on mechanism that engage the sides of a conflict with each other as human-in-relationship. It represents a place, a point of encounter that promotes open expression of the painful past, on the one hand, and the search for the articulation of a long -term, interdependent future, on the other hand, a place where concerns about the past are validated and let go in favor of renewed relationship. Reconciliation recognises the need to redress the wrongs that were done and at the same time promote the idea of a common connected future".
Mr. Kamara stated that Africans and Gambians in particular do not prefer injustice nor a state where there is a lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law, adding that all African countries want accountable leadership that has the highest standards of respect for the rule of law, justice and human rights.
"We must begin this dialogue not in the usual prescriptiveness about how we should strengthen democratic processes and preach those platitudes of tolerance and unity. But we must begin this conversation by looking at how we put the building blocks in place to prevent the tendencies of dictatorship and tyranny from emerging. We must also begin this dialogue by ensuring that we put an end to the trend of impunity that has made it easier to erode democratic rights and freedoms and allow injustice to thrive".
He also pointed out that the aim of restorative justice is not to establish guilt and punish perpetrators of crime, but to identify obligations as well as to meet the needs to everyone involved and promote healing.
The UN residence coordinator Ms. Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje commended the new government for placing high priority to improving the quality and dispensation of justice in The Gambia.
"Good justice underpins effective governance overall. Where governments are accountable and responsive to their citizens, then the rule of law is more likely to be realized, cycles of violence prevented, ensuring the creation of a conducive environment for rapid socio economic progress".
Andrea Ori of the Unite Nation Commission for Human Right also proposed for the government to have a national justice system and transitional justice processes working together to ensure prompt, effective and impartial investigations that will discover the truth about the violations and what led to them and provide remedies for victims and bring about institutional reform.