The Gambia : Towards legal action against perpetrators of Jammeh-era crimes
Eleven organizations including TRIAL International welcome the submission on Thursday 25 November 2021 of the Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s (TRRC) report endorsing the prosecution of those most responsible for the violations and abuses committed between 1994 and 2017 during the rule of former president Yahya Jammeh.
In a public statement, the TRRC indicated that it had set forth the names of those whose prosecution it was recommending “expressly in the relevant sections of the report.” While it did not name them today, there is very little doubt that Yahya Jammeh is at the top of that list, the groups said.
Witnesses before the TRRC, including former direct perpetrators, tied Jammeh to the killing and torture of scores of political opponents, the murder of over 50 West African migrants, “witch hunts” in which hundreds of people were arbitrarily detained, and a sham treatment program that forced HIV-positive Gambians to give up their medicine and put themselves under Jammeh’s personal care. Survivors and former aides also described how Jammeh raped and sexually assaulted women brought to him.
What happens now?
According to the act creating the TRRC, the president shall within 30 days transmit the full report to the National Assembly and the United Nations, and public summaries of the report should be made available. Within six months, the government must issue a white paper containing its proposed plan on the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. The 11 groups urged the government, however, to publish the summaries and begin implementing the recommendations immediately.
Since 2017, Jammeh has lived in exile in Equatorial Guinea where he is protected despite Equatorial Guinea’s international obligations to extradite or prosecute him. The groups expressed hope that other countries whose citizens were killed by the Jammeh regime would join The Gambia in seeking Jammeh’s trial before a competent court.