In what looks to be a historic decision and jurisprudence, the Supreme Court of The Gambia has on Wednesday ruled that the former junta and Council member of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), Yankuba Touray, is not entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution in relation with the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.
The accused, Yankuba Touray is indicted for the alleged murder in June 1995 of Ousman Koro Ceesay, then a minister of Finance of the AFPRC junta.
The highest jurisdiction of The Gambia was invited to decide if the High Court can judge Yankuba Toutay or not after legal arguments to absolve Mr. Touray from prosecution were brought in by his lawyer at the High Court. On the 12th October 2020, Lawyer Abdoulie A. Sissohor orally applied and urged the High Court to discharge his client, Yankuba Touray. To support his request, Lawyer Abdoulie A. Sissohor explained that as a junta member of the AFPRC from 1994 to 1997, his client Yankuba Touray enjoys immunity from the prosecution on the murder of Koro Ceesay. This, he said is pursuant to paragraph 13(1) (3) (4) and (5) of the second schedule to the constitution of The Gambia.
The High Court then heard the submission of Lawyer Abdoulie A. Sissohor and the counsel for the State. It later referred to section 127(1) of the constitution to ask the Supreme Court for guidance and decision on “Whether the accused person, Yankuba Touray, is entitled to constitutional immunity for prosecution of murder on Ousman Koro Ceesay”.
In its Wednesday ruling, the Supreme Court of The Gambia said it has considered the oral submissions and written briefs of the counsels for both parties. The Supreme Court said it has also considered the Amicus Curiae admitted at the Court and has consequently ruled that Yankuba Touray is not entitled to constitutional immunity from prosecution for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay. The Supreme Court said it will state the reasons for its decision in due course.
Meanwhile, the five judge panel has directed Justice Jaiteh of the High Court to proceed with the trial of Yankuba Touray for the alleged murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay.