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Peace without justice is fragile

Jan 30, 2015, 9:54 AM

We are all excited and overwhelmingly happy that our compatriots are being called to the Bar.

The Third Call to the Bar ceremony of the Gambia Law School was yesterday held under the aegis of the General Legal Council.

Indeed, we are moving forward, as this is another milestone in our country’s national drive to create a sustainable pool of highly-trained Gambians, especially in the legal sector to advance our socio-economic development.

While this is a landmark development for the nation, especially for our legal sector, the newly-called barristers to the Bar must bear in mind that education is not really measured by the sum total of what a man or woman feels he or she knows, or the skills with which he can put this to his own advantage.

Education is rather measured by the level of a man’s contribution to the development of his society, and of his service to and sound judgment of his fellow human beings and things.

The new barristers, as the President rightly cautioned them in a statement read on his behalf, have assumed the responsibility of interpreting the law and discharging justice to their fellow human beings; thus they must be seen to be fair and just in executing such a role.

Peace is needed, but peace without justice is fragile. Therefore, they and all of us must be just and deliver justice to one another.

Justice is central in all that we do in life, especially where ethics, scrupulousness, goodness, decency and morality prevail.

Great philosophers like Plato, John Rawls, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have emphasised that every major work on ethics has held that justice is part of the central core of morality.

Justice is, therefore, a central part of ethics and law, and should be given due consideration in our lives, essentially in discharging the responsibility of interpreting the law of the land.

In evaluating any moral decision, we must ask whether our actions treat all persons equally.

Our advice to the new barristers, who have been called to the Bar, is that they must always discharge their duties with all fairness and justice.

At this juncture, we would like to draw from the words of the President in addressing the new barristers.

He said: “From now on, you will be judged by your actions and attitude towards those who need and seek your professional assistance.

“Your actions and attitude will dictate how society views you, either as good and upright lawyers or as opportunistic and self-serving ones.

“I am certain, however, that if you adhere to the ethics of the profession, which you have been taught at the Law School, and are guided by your conscience, you will serve your nation with the honour and dignity befitting your noble profession.”

The President has said it all, and it is left to our compatriots in the legal world to ensure that their actions, attitude and judgments of people and things are done without fear or favour, affection or ill will, so as to ensure peace prevails at all times.

“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

George Washington