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Interview with Thomas Fuad Touray Executive Director of WAILA

Apr 1, 2015, 4:31 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

(Issue,Monday 30 March 2015)

Thomas Fuad Touray is the current Executive Director of The West African Institute for Legal Aid (WAILA). He is a law graduate from the Faculty of Law of the University of The Gambia.

The Point: Mr Thomas tell us about WAILA

Mr Thomas Fuad Touray: The West African Institute for Legal Aid (WAILA) was established by a group of law graduates from the Faculty of Law, University of The Gambia in 2014 and the institute is a non-governmental, non-profit, impartial, and non-partisan.

The objectives of the institute are to contribute to the development of a fair and equitable justice system, which addresses the legal needs of the community, and to improve access to justice by the community (in particular, by economically and socially disadvantaged people in West Africa).

The services of the institute include: Legal Information and Education, Legal Advice and Assistance, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and/or Legal Representation.

This covers: Magistrates and High Court Criminal Litigation, Human Rights,  Conveyance, Immigration and Nationality, Property Disputes, Wills, Maritime, Banking, Insurance, Contract, Real Estate, Intellectual Property Rights, Divorce, Constitutional Law, land matters, and Employment Law.

He further disclosed that the institute has a long term objective to provide free legal representation to eligible individuals or groups ( West African nationals) before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the Ecowas Community Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the United Nations Human Rights Court, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and other existing national and international human rights courts.

The Point: What is your vision and mission?

Mr Thomas Fuad Touray: Our vision is a West Africa in which legal aid rights enshrined in national constitutions, regional and international legal aid instruments, are realized and upheld and responsibilities are complied with to ensure that, economically and socially disadvantaged people The Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo have access to justice and legal aid.

Our Mission

To be a leader in the provision of accessible, sustainable, ethical, independent and quality legal  aid in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

The Point: What are the mandate and objectives of WAILA?

Mr Thomas Fuad Touray: In addition to what was stated earlier: To develop and implement effective case management systems for monitoring the speed and effectiveness of the delivery of justice in West Africa.

To identify and document the roots causes and associated factors that prevent speedy dispensation of justice in both criminal and civil cases in West Africa.

To prepare and disseminate information on approach, lessons learned, experiences, challenges and solutions to speed up criminal justice and  strengthen the capacity and complement the work of other legal service providers; and to legally empower West Africans to demand and fight for their rights.

To work toward the recognition and protection of children`s rights in all spheres of society, with a particular focus on child justice and children`s general well-being and protection.

To work toward the achievement of substantive gender equality and the realisation of women`s rights, access to justice and legal aid.

To improve the effectiveness and implementation of African and international human rights instruments on access to justice and legal aid in West Africa.

To recommend legal policies that can positively contribute to the development of West Africa.

To be continued.