Nine Judicial Executions in The Gambia Undermine the Rule of Law

Andrew NovakAuthor: Andrew Novak
Adjunct Professor of African Law, American University Washington College of Law

Late at night on 23 August2012 the President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, ordered the executions of nine death row inmates despite international condemnation and even division in his own cabinet.  At least three of the death sentences were for the crime of treason; the remaining cases involved murder.  Two of the nine were Senegalese nationals, and at least one had been on death row since before the current death penalty law entered into force.  These cases are constitutionally troubling and may erode the rule of law in The Gambia, Sub-Saharan Africa’s smallest mainland country with a population of 1,3-million.

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