We are yet to discover any allegation of death caused by insurgents. The reason for this enquiry is simple. Section 18 Subsection (2) of the Constitution, which has been properly interpreted by the Supreme Court, states among other things that    “As from the coming into force of this Constitution, no court in The Gambia shall be competent to impose a sentence of death for any offence unless the sentence is prescribed by law and the offence involves violence, or the administration of any toxic substance, resulting in the death of another person.” Hence under Gambian law one who has not killed another person cannot be sentenced to death. Secondly, section 96 of the Armed Forces Act reads: “A general court-martial may try any person subject to this Act who is alleged to have committed an offence under this Act.” Hence, a court-martial is restricted to charges which could be preferred for offences under the Armed Forces Act. We have read the whole Act and have not seen any provision dealing with treason under the Act. We will continue our search. One may now ask: Is the verdict of a Court Martial conclusive? The answer is in the negative. According to Section 127 of the Armed Forces Act, “  ……the Court of Appeal shall hear and determine all appeals referred to it in accordance with the provisions of this Act, from decisions of any court-martial. Subsection (2) adds: “The Court of Appeal shall, in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction under this Act, apply all the provisions of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia Act to appeals from courts-martial in the same manner as they apply to appeals from the High Court.” In short, the Armed Forces Act makes provision for appeals from Courts –Martial. It states : “A person who has been found guilty by a court-martial shall have a right to appeal to the Court of Appeal, in such form, manner and within such time as may be prescribed, in respect of either or both of the following matters- (a)     the legality of any or all of the findings; and (b)     the legality of the whole or any part of the sentence.” Furthermore, the constitution stipulates in section 130 subsection (2) that, “The Court of Appeal shall have jurisdiction in appeals from Court Martial in the manner provided by law.” The battle of legal minds is unfolding. We hope the media would not be excluded this time to give coverage to any proceedings before the Court of Appeal.]]>

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