The Gambian Justice Minister Who Sued Myanmar at UN Court Resigned For a UN Job

The minister who is seen by many as the man who reforms Gambia’s justice sector resigned for a job in the United Nations. Resignation of a Minister was uncommon during the “Jammeh administration,” as some top government officials would prefer to flee out of the Country than to tender resignation. Since the departure of its former dictator in January 2017, The Gambia is still going through transition in its justice system.

At the epicenter of the transition process, the Gambian Justice Minister Ba Tambedou has been transforming his department, which was used as a scapegoat by the erstwhile ruler. However, Tambedou was able to restore confidence in the sector. Under his leadership, he established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission plus many other commissions. He reviewed so many Judicial cases that were not properly adjudicated. He’s globally known as the man who took Myanmar to the ICJ to defend the Rohingya plight. While defending the Rohingya, he showcased a high level of legal performance versus the “Nobel Peace Prize” winner Aung Sung Suki.

Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou and Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi attend a hearing in a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar alleging genocide against the minority Muslim Rohingya population, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands December 10, 2019.
Abubacarr Tambadou and Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi. | Hague, Netherlands Dec. 2019. (Reuters)

On the other hand, critics characterize him as full of personal vengeance against the former head of state and his professionalism was put to question. Mr. Tambedou’s handling of the disposition of Jammeh’s assets has raised lots of questions from many Gambians as there was suspicion of irregularities. He’s also accused of selective justice as some of Jammeh’s top government officials who are still in the system are being shielded. At the same time, his office passed harsh judgment against other ex-officials who are currently not in government. Additionally, Tambedou was involved in a “Diplomatic Passport” saga, which is yet to be resolved.

Now that Mr. Tambedou has resigned for the UN job, some said he just took up the Ministerial job to enrich his resume. However, it’s not bad for Africans to hold top diplomatic positions, but if critics are right in their claim, then Tambedou’s patriotism as a Gambian is questionable. On whichever side one is, you are entitled to your opinions, but posterity will judge Mr. Tambedou.

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