Indemnity Act of 1982 and 2001 by Madi Jobarteh - 10/04/2016

Indemnity Act of 1982 and 2001

In 1982, after the 1981 insurrection, the Government enacted the Indemnity Act. After the April 10/11 2000 Student Peaceful Manifestation, the Government amended the Indemnity Act of 1982. In both cases, the government then and now created the law purposely to cover for the acts and actors in these two incidents which witnessed the killing and torture and abuse of Gambians in unimaginable proportions.

Here is the title of the Indemnity Act of 1982, amended in 2001

“An Act to indemnify the Government or any agent of the Government or any person in the service of the Government or any authority acting on behalf of the Government for any act, matter or omission to act or thing done or purported to have been done during the period of the public emergency, and for connected matters” [Act No. 8 of 1982 amended by Act No. 5 of 2001]

Why?

Just in 1981, so also in 2000, there have been perpetration of injustice and crimes for which someone must be held to account and pay for them. There are still victims of these two incidents in our midst who demand and need justice. The entire society need to deal with these two incidents so as to clear our conscience and cleanse the soul of the nation.

No people and no person will have peace and harmony so long as in that society injustice is perpetuated against innocent souls.

In 1981, why did the government want to cover for the actions and actors in the government if they thought these actions and actors acted in the name of only justice? Why do we have the same repeat in 2000? Is it that the two governments know for sure that indeed the actions and actors were in contravention of justice and human rights? Why should we have an indemnity law? This wrong must be corrected.

The Indemnity Act must be expunged from our constitution because it is a cover up for injustice and protection for perpetrators of crimes. Chapter 3 of the 1970 Constitution, and Section 17 of the 1997 Constitution both make The Government the primary defender of the rights and freedoms of Gambians. Hence there should be no law that would allow that same government and its agents to damage our fundamental rights and freedoms and get protected for that. That is called impunityThe Protector must not damage the Protected!

  • ·        The Fence must not destroy the crops.
  • ·         The Parent must not violate the Child.
  • ·         The Law Enforcer must not violate the Law.
  • ·         The Lawmaker must not damage the Law.