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MJFC  calls for urgent enactment of Legislation to guide the exercise of prerogative of mercy

PRESS STATEMENT

1st February 2024.

The Malick Jallow Foundation for Children (MJFC) is very concerned with the recent public outcry concerning the pardon of convicted prisioners by the President of the Republic in exercise of his powers enshrined in Section 82 of the 1997 Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia.

The MJFC particularly notes the public agitation with respect to some of the pardoned prisioners including individuals who have been convicted of murder and rape, and are yet to consummate a significant portion of their jail term.

It is noteworthy that aside from the Constitutional provision on prerogative of mercy there is no detailed enactment or legislation to comprehensively guide or outline the modalities for exercising the prerogative of mercy by the President of the Republic. Indeed, this is in stark contrast with other progressive jurisdictions including Kenya where there is an Act of Parliament dedicated to this very important exercise.

It is our hope that The Gambia will emulate such an example and enact a comprehensive, objective  and detailed Act of Parliament to guide the exercise of prerogative of mercy and put flesh in the dry bones of the relevant Constitutional Provision.

The importance of getting it right with respect to the exercise of prerogative of mercy is fundamental as any misstep in the process could potentially undermine the sanctity and integrity of court orders and judgments,  embolden potential and fringe criminals, as well as undermine public trust and confidence in the work and potency of Judicial institutions.

Finally, we reiterate our call for an Act of Parliament on the prerogative of mercy and urge the Executive to work hand in glove with the Legislature to ensure that this becomes a reality to strengthen the remarkable gains registered thus far with respect to furthering the cause of the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary.  

END.

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