By Omar Bah

The defence council in the trial of Generals Umpa Mendy and Ansumana Tamba, has filed an appeal before the Court Martial for CDS, Masanneh Kinteh to appear in the trial and explain why the two generals were not in uniform despite a court order for them to be appearing in military uniform.

Responding to a question from the Judge Advocate to why the two generals were not in uniform as ordered by the court in the last sitting, Defence council Captain Suwaibou Jammeh appealed for the Chief-of-Staff to be summoned to appear before the Court Martial to explain why the accused persons are not in uniform.
In response to the defence appeal, the State Counsel, DPP MB Abubakar rejected the applications on the ground that the order of the court was made against the accused persons and not the Chief-of-Staff and that the application of the defence council is unwarranted, unnecessary and lacks basis.

Meanwhile, delivering a ruling over the matter, Justice Advocate Aminata Saho-Ceesay, said the accused persons are given the latitude to request witnesses to be called and they have exercised that right consequence upon which the president of the court martial is under a duty to take the necessary steps to procure the attendant of the witnesses so requested to be called.

“We are of the view that the application is in order as the court must enquire into why its order for the accused persons to appear before this court in their uniform has not been executed,” she explained.
She continued: “However, we are of the view that since the order is for the accused persons to be kitted and since the execution is to be carried out by the Provost Marshal and the Officer under instruction, we deem it unnecessary at this time having regards to the exigencies of service for the CDS to be summoned.

“Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that Provost Marshal of the Gambia Armed Forces and Officer under instruction of this court martial to appear before this honourable court Thursday 26 of April, 2018 at 9am to explain why the accused persons are not in uniform.”
The generals who left the country on board Jammeh’s plane bound for exile in Equatorial Guinea on January 21, 2017 are charged with desertion.
Hearing continues today.