Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Banjul, the Gambia (TNBES) From Monday 22nd January, The Gambia Bar Association (GBA), for the first time in its history, commenced the commemoration of a Bar Week characterized by activities such as conference, seminars, panel discussions, lectures to be held alongside their annual general meeting. This Week is sponsored by the Legal Capacity Building Programme Phase II, a UK government funded project. Most of the activities will take place at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
At a press conference organized by the Bar at Ngala Lodge on Saturday 23rd January, the Assistant Secretary General of the Bar Association, lawyer Neneh Cham Chongan, highlighted their engagement as follows; On Monday, seminar on Legal practice, Ethics and Advocacy which will continue on Tuesday 26th January,. On Wednesday 27th January, there will be a TV panel discussion on the topic “Future of legal practice in the Gambia”. On the same day there will also be a lecture at the University of The Gambia on the role of “legal profession on development”. On Thursday 28th January a conference will be held at Kairaba Hotel on the topic “Legal practice in the 21st Century” and it will continue on Friday 29th January.
Mrs. Cham Chongan said the Bar will also organize its annual general meeting on Friday at Kairaba Beach Hotel and the annual Bar dinner on Saturday 30th January at Coco Ocean Hotel.
Mrs. Amie Bensouda, the President of the Gambia Bar Association, responding to questions, said the week long event will be attended by other internationally well known and respected Gambian lawyers and legal experts like Mr. Pa Edi Faal, an International Criminal Lawyer Practicing in United States, Cheron Jallow QC, Fatou Bom Bensouda and others. Mrs. Bensouda said that most of the challenges facing the profession will be tabled during the course of the week long events. She added that the Bar is facing many challenges and one of which is capacity building, which she said will be at the center of their events.
The GBA President said the Bar is determined to rise up to the challenges and will address the concerns of its membership as well as improved their standards at the international level.
On the issue of trial without representation, Lawyer Bensouda said Bar needs to be consulted on such cases. She noted that if the lawyers are not consulted on such cases they cannot get themselves involved. She added that she could not recall any case in court where the accused persons should be represented in court.
Professor Kim Economides, the Director of the University Of Otago Legal Issues Center Faculty Of Law in New Zealand, answering a question on what should be the role of Bar Associations in situations where the constitutional and fundamental rights of peoples are being violated such as detentions without trial, stressed that the role of the Bar Association is to be committed and dedicated to the citizenry. He said the roles and responsibilities of lawyers might be different in terms of preventing human rights violations, but that the basic obligation however is for them to remind the citizens of their fundamental human rights. He added that individual can try to take it upon themselves to deal with human rights cases. Professor Kim posited that the role of the Bar Association is commitment and obligations of lawyers to the people and the next generation of lawyers to come.
“But I cannot for certain say what and which role the Bar should engage into in their respective countries,” Said professor Kim.
The press conference was witnessed by senior members of the Bar. VOL:2 ISSN:52 (Foroyaa)

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