Resolution adopted without a vote by the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 163rd session (Moscow, 12 September 1998)

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/163/12(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 162nd session (April 1998) concerning the case of Mr. Omar Jallow, of the Gambia,

Taking account of the communication from the Attorney General's Chambers and Department of State for Justice dated 27 August 1998 conveying a copy of the White Paper and the Public Assets Recovery Commission's report regarding Mr. Juwara,

Also taking account of the communication from one of the sources dated 1 September 1998,

Recalling that Mr. Jallow, a member of the House of Representatives dissolved in 1994 and former Minister, was arrested in October 1995 and held without charge until November 1996, when he was released,

Recalling that the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) established a " Commission of Inquiry into the Assets, Properties, Activities and other Related Matters of Public Officers and the Privatisation Programme of Government " (Public Assets Recovery Commission) to investigate charges of wrongdoing by public office-holders prior to the military takeover of 22 July 1994; that on the basis of the Commission's work the Government reached its own conclusions and findings and published them in the White Paper, and that Mr. Jallow's financial situation and dealings were examined by the Commission and subsequently by the Government,

Considering that, on 28 August 1998, the authorities conveyed the extract from the report of the Commission and the White Paper regarding Mr. Juwara; that the Commission found some financial improprieties on his part and recommended, in addition to certain financial adjustments, that he be debarred from public office for five years, the latter measure being endorsed by the White Paper; that, according to the authorities, Mr. Jallow can appeal against the Commission's decision,

Considering, however, that according to the constitutional provision incorporating in the 1997 Constitution the commissions of inquiries established under the AFPRC rule, " any order, ruling, finding or fact, seizure, sale or alienation of property or penalty imposed or thing done by or carried out under the authority of any commission of inquiry established in accordance with a Decree of the AFPRC shall not be questioned or reversed by any court or other authority under this Constitution or any other law "; considering moreover in this connection that, according to the sources, neither Mr. Jallow nor his lawyer has ever received a copy of the Commission's decision regarding him,

Considering that, according to the sources, in addition to being debarred from public office for five years, Mr. Jallow is banned from any political activity, that is, joining a political party, addressing political gatherings or publicly expressing a political opinion, by virtue of Decree N° 89 which bans specific political personalities and parties for an indefinite period from any political activity,

Considering that the present parliamentary opposition tabled in Parliament an amendment to abolish this Decree by means of the " Political Activities Resumption Decree " with the express aim of bringing the law into conformity with the Constitution's fundamental human rights guarantees; that, however, it failed to obtain the required majority in Parliament,

Considering that while, according to the sources, Mr. Jallow still may not travel abroad as he lacks the requisite clearance from the President's Office, the authorities affirm that he has been issued a passport to enable him to travel freely and that the allegation that he has been prevented from leaving their jurisdiction is unfounded,

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 freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedom of movement and freedom of expression, assembly and association, and that these rights are also enshrined in the Constitution of the Gambia,

  1. Thanks the Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice for her co-operation;
  2. Expresses deep concern at Decree N° 89 depriving parties and specific persons, including Mr. Jallow, of their civil and political rights with the effect of annulling the guarantees with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms offered by the Constitution of the Gambia and the international human rights norms to which the Gambia has subscribed;
  3. Earnestly hopes that Parliament, as guardian of human rights, will take the necessary steps to ensure that constitutional and international human rights norms prevail;
  4. Notes that while, according to the Attorney General's Chambers and Department of State for Justice, Mr. Jallow is entitled to appeal against the decision of the Public Assets Recovery Commission, the constitutional provision incorporating in the 1997 Constitution the commissions of inquiry established under the AFPRC rule, evidently deny him that right; would appreciate clarification of this point of law;
  5. Would also appreciate clarification of how Mr. Jallow was notified of the decision of the Public Assets Recovery Commission regarding him;
  6. Requests that the Committee be provided with a copy of the Decree establishing the Public Assets Recovery Commission;
  7. Notes that Mr. Jallow has been issued a passport and may now freely travel abroad as is his right;
  8. Reaffirms that under Article 9, paragraph 5, of the ICCPR, Mr. Jallow has an enforceable right to compensation for the arbitrary arrest and detention he suffered;
  9. Requests the Secretary General to convey these concerns and considerations to the authorities;
  10. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining the case and report to it at its next session (April 1999).

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