Thu. Dec 9th, 2021


BANJUL, Gambia — Documenting wide-ranging atrocities beneath the autocratic former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, an investigative panel on Thursday really helpful a number of prosecutions.

However the Reality, Reconciliation and Reparations Fee didn’t make public both its report or the names of individuals it had really helpful for prosecution, leaving it unclear whether or not Mr. Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years earlier than going into exile nearly 5 years in the past, is amongst those that might face legal prices.

In Gambia, a tiny sliver of a rustic on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, Mr. Jammeh’s fall from energy in 2017 was greeted with jubilation.

However that temper has largely given approach to disappointment with the federal government of his successor, President Adama Barrow, who’s operating for re-election. Mr. Jammeh and members of his regime haven’t been held to account, authorities reform proposals have failed or stalled, and Mr. Barrow has made a political alliance with Mr. Jammeh’s social gathering.

“We anticipate the president to indicate some dedication, and have the political will to totally implement the suggestions,” stated Sheriff Kijera, chairman of the Gambia Middle for Victims of Human Rights Violations. “Jammeh ought to face justice in any respect prices.”

When requested if the federal government would prosecute these most accountable for the abuses, the data minister, Ebrima Sillah, stated by telephone: “I can’t decide to that,” saying it will rely on the deserves of the report.

The fee reported the deaths of 240 to 250 folks within the custody of the state or its brokers, in addition to rape, torture, disappearances and witch hunts, its chairman, Lamin Sise, stated in a press briefing outlining the findings in Banjul, the Gambian capital.

The panel held 871 days of hearings, streaming them dwell on-line in an unusually public airing of human rights abuses. Among the many 393 witnesses who testified was a soldier who stated he killed a distinguished journalist on the president’s order, and a lady, Fatou Jallow, who accused Mr. Jammeh of raping her.

The fee delivered its report back to President Barrow, who is meant to provide copies inside a month to the nation’s Nationwide Meeting and to the United Nations secretary basic.

Which means it’s not prone to turn into public till after the Dec. four presidential election. Among the many candidates operating in opposition to Mr. Barrow is Essa Faal, the investigative fee’s high lawyer.

Mr. Barrow has secured the backing of segments of Mr. Jammeh’s social gathering, which isn’t fielding its personal presidential candidate and nonetheless has appreciable common assist. Advocating the prosecution of members of the earlier authorities might jeopardize that backing.

Mr. Sillah, the data minister, stated the president would have six months to evaluate the report, after which the federal government would publish a doc giving its response.

Mr. Jammeh first took energy at age 29 in a navy coup, and pushed by a brand new structure concentrating energy within the president’s fingers. His rule was marked by corruption and the suppression of political opposition, the press and L.G.B.T. rights. He claimed to treatment H.I.V. with herbs.

However the authorities held a comparatively free election in 2016, and Mr. Barrow defeated Mr. Jammeh, who refused to simply accept the outcomes. Solely after a navy intervention by a number of neighboring nations in January 2017 did Mr. Jammeh relinquish energy, transferring to Equatorial Guinea.

Mr. Barrow’s administration was purported to be a transitional one, setting Gambia on the highway to democracy. However the suggestions of a Fee of Inquiry into Mr. Jammeh’s funds have been solely partially carried out, and final 12 months a newly proposed, extra democratic structure was defeated within the Nationwide Meeting.

The proposed structure would have curbed government powers and restricted a president to 2 five-year phrases. The time period restrict would have utilized retroactively to Mr. Barrow, so he would have been permitted only one extra time period.

That left the Reality, Reconciliation and Reparations Fee as the one official path left for coming to phrases with the Jammeh period. Its remaining report was initially scheduled to be delivered in July, however was delayed till September after which delayed once more.

“We have now the reality,” stated Baba Hydara, who has lengthy campaigned for justice for the 2004 assassination of his father, the newspaper editor Deyda Hydara. “Now we’d like justice. Justice for my father, justice for all of Jammeh’s victims, and justice for Gambian society as a complete.”

Saikou Jammeh reported from Banjul, Gambia, and Ruth Maclean from Dakar, Senegal.



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