Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 160th session
(Seoul, 15 April 1997)

The Inter-Parliamentary Council,

Referring to the outline of the case, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/160/14(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 159th session (September 1996) concerning the case of Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, of Gambia,

Taking into consideration the information supplied by the sources on 6 December 1996 and on 11 February, 6 March and 25 March 1997,

Recalling that the source initially reported that Mr. Juwara had been arrested several times since the coup d'Etat of July 1994 without any charges having ever been brought against him, and that after his last arrest in January 1996 by a special police team he had " disappeared ", the sources fearing for his life,

Considering that his whereabouts remained unknown until, on 6 December 1996, one of the sources reported that he was allegedly being held in the Central Prison Mile Two in Banjul, still without having been charged,

Considering that Mr. Juwara was released on 3 February 1997,

Considering that, according to one of the sources, he has suffered the following incidents of harassment, arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detention since the dissolution of the Parliament in the wake of the military coup of 22 July 1994:

(a) He was first arrested subsequent to the counter coup of 14 November 1994. He was held for two weeks at Banjul Police station before being transferred to Kombo Station, where he was locked up incommunicado for a further two weeks;

(b) On 13 January 1995, two truckloads of soldiers from the Gambian National Army surrounded his home while members of the National Intelligence Agency searched his house for two hours. He was arrested at 5 p.m. and detained for one week at Brikama Police Station;

(c) On 13 May 1995 at 11.30 p.m. two soldiers tried to abduct Mr. Juwara from his home. The attempt failed because of timely intervention by neighbours and the police. The Brikama Police and Military Police at Yundum Military Barracks began an investigation but were later instructed to abandon it because one of the identified soldiers was a State House guard attached to the Vice-Chairman of the Military Council;

(d) On 4 June 1995 Mr. Juwara was once again arrested, together with 30 others from his home constituency. It was publicly acknowledged that he and six others had been arrested for defying a ban on political activity. Mr. Juwara disclaimed this stating that he had simply visited his home village to attend an annual religious festival. He was held on remand for one month at Georgetown Prison, where conditions are said to be extremely bad;

(e) On 29 September 1995, agents of the National Intelligence Agency broke into his house at 3 a.m. and turned it over in search of documents. Mr. Juwara was later arrested and held for 10 weeks in incommunicado detention;

(f) On 25 January 1996 he was arrested in Banjul and taken handcuffed to Janjanbureh Island Prison, where he was held incommunicado for 13 months;

Considering that on no occasion has Mr. Juwara been charged and that neither, save in one case, has any reason been given for his arrests and detention,

Noting that, according to Gambian Law, Decree N° 57, any detainee has to be brought before a court within 90 days,

Bearing in mind that the Gambia is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, both of which guarantee the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention,

Considering that the authorities have never replied to the Committee's requests for information about Mr. Juwara's fate,

Bearing finally in mind that a new Parliament was elected on 2 January 1997 and has taken up its functions,

  1. Expresses its relief at the release of Mr. Juwara;
  2. Regrets, however, the utter disregard shown by the authorities towards the repeated requests for information addressed to them by an international body regarding a matter of such serious concern as that of Mr. Juwara;
  3. Can but infer from their silence that the allegations of the sources are indeed true and that Mr. Juwara is a victim of a manifest violation of his human rights, in particular the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention guaranteed under both the ICCPR (Article 9) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Article 6), to both of which the Gambia is a party with the consequent duty of compliance;
  4. Stresses that Mr. Juwara's repeated detentions also violated national law, specifically Decree N° 57 requiring any detainee to be brought to trial within 90 days;
  5. Stresses that, under Article 9 of the ICCPR, " anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation " and that therefore, owing to the repeated unlawful arrests and detentions he has suffered at the hands of officials acting under State authority, Mr. Juwara is entitled to such compensation;
  6. Urges the authorities, pursuant to their obligations under the international human rights norms to which they have subscribed, to compensate Mr. Juwara for the human rights violations he has suffered at the hands of officials acting under State authority;
  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey these concerns and considerations to the competent authorities, including the President of the newly elected Parliament, and to invite them to take the necessary action;
  8. Also requests the Secretary General to bring the case to the attention of such international human rights bodies as may be able to take appropriate action;
  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (September 1997).

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