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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 28 May 2021 : 19:16:51
END OF TRRC PUBLIC HEARINGS
Statement by the Chair, Dr. Lamin J. Sise
28 May, 2021
On 7 January 2019, eight hundred and seventy-one days ago today, we Gambians, through the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, began a unique process of holding live public hearings of the testimonies of the victims, as well as those of self-confessed perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses that occurred in The Gambia during the twenty-two year military dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh. The principal purpose of the Commission was very simple: to establish the truth of what happened during the twenty-two year reign.
The National Assembly of the Republic of The Gambia enacted a law (TRRC Act, 2017) which established the TRRC. The main objectives of the Commission are, inter alia, to.
(a) create an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights from July 1994 to January 2017, in order to-(i) promote healing and reconciliation, (ii) respond to the needs of the victims, (iii) address impunity, and (iv) prevent a repeat of the violations and abuses suffered by making recommendations for the establishment of appropriate preventive mechanisms including institutional and legal reforms;
(b) establish and make known the fate or whereabouts of disappeared victims;
(c) provide victims an opportunity to relate their own accounts of the violations and abuses suffered; and
(d) grant reparations to victims in appropriate cases.
When the Commission began its work, it decided that its public hearings will be transparent and broadcast live for all to see and hear the truth in real time. There is nothing better than telling the truth in the open.
During the 871 days, The Gambia and indeed the world heard from 392 witnesses, the majority of whom were victims of atrocities meted out to innocent civilians by the State, its agents or individuals sponsored by both. The witnesses appearing before the Commission also included self-confessed perpetrators.
The testimonies heard during the 871 days of public hearings brought pain and bewilderment to the population. They could not believe that the atrocities they were hearing from witnesses could occur in their country. A land of peaceful coexistence! A society imbued with tolerance of the highest order! They could not believe that innocent and ordinary citizens and other nationals found in the territorial jurisdiction of The Gambia, many murdered in cold blood, would be victims of the atrocities narrated.
The commission of these atrocities by Jammeh and his cohorts achieved the desired effect of instilling fear among the Gambian population. It also gave them time and space to pillage the resources of the country.
Among the kinds of atrocities and other human rights violations detailed by witnesses during the public hearings are the following:
Sexual and Gender-based violence
Inhuman and degrading treatment
Fake HIV/AIDS treatment and
General and widespread abuse of public office
The phenomenon of leaders of military coups civilianizing themselves was rampant in the subregion of West Africa. These leaders rigged and held farce elections to perpetuate their rule. The Gambia became a collective victim of this phenomenon. Witnesses have testified before this Commission that structures that underpin good governance, e.g. respect for the rule of law and independence of the judiciary were virtually non-existent during the twenty-two year Jammeh rule.
Yes Jammeh is gone; the killings by state agents have stopped; torture is no longer sanctioned by the state; Junglers have dispersed, some in foreign lands while others stayed to confess their misdeeds. The folly of ruling The Gambia for a billion years abruptly and ignominiously ended in twenty two years.
The crocodiles in Kanilai lay submerged in a dirty pond while the peacocks in Jammeh’s palatial grounds cry out ceaselessly and purportedly for their departed master. The chaos we recently saw at these grounds in Kanilai must not be the chaos in our country in the wake of the demise of the Jammeh regime. Our collective effort to build a new and better Gambia must not and I earnestly believe will not be squandered. The foundation stone for a stronger Gambia: the Draft Constitution, seems, however, for the moment to be stuck in a limbo. We must confront our recent difficult history in order to establish a new governance and sustainable structure to move the country forward to take its rightful place among developed societies.
As we close this important chapter of the Commission’s work, i.e. the public hearings, I take this opportunity on behalf of the Commissioners, the Legal Team and all staff of the TRRC to express our most sincere gratitude to all Gambians and members of the international community – especially the UN Peace Building Support Office, UNDP-Gambia, the OHCHR, ICTJ, the Institute for Integrated Transitions and International Idea - for their unflinching support over the past three years. This Commission could not have achieved the kind of success it did without the support and encouragement we got from everyone and the admirable cooperation of the victims, the victims’ families, and some of the perpetrators who volunteered invaluable evidence to the Commission.
We must say a special thank you to the management and staff of QTV, our media partner throughout this process who have done a phenomenal job of executing their part of our contract of recording and disseminating the public hearings and other activities of the TRRC. Our gratitude is also extended to our state broadcaster GRTS, whose staff have been with us from the very beginning, and who have also done a phenomenal job of educating the Gambian public on what transpired here in this hall and other areas of the TRRC’s work. We say thank you to EyeAfrica TV, Paradise TV, Kerr Fatou, JusticeInfo, and all the Gambian and international media who, through their various media, have contributed to the work of this Commission.
Finally, I can’t end this statement without thanking our own Commissioners and staff, including our indefatigable interpreters and sign language experts, for the wonderful job they have done. We recognize the invaluable contributions of our various units of the Secretariat, and of our team of dedicated medics from the Gambia Fire and Rescue Services. To the Gambia Police Force and especially the team of officers assigned to guard our premises and staff, thank you for keeping us all safe. Indeed, it is impossible to say thank you to everyone who has made a significant contribution to the success of this process. But whether we mention your name here or not, please note that we are eternally grateful for the services rendered to the TRRC.
Thank you all and good bye from all of us. We will see again, albeit in a different format, when we present our final report containing our findings and recommendations to the President in just over a month.
|4 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 23 Nov 2021 : 13:26:58
Press Statement 23rd November, 2021
SUBMISSION OF THE FINAL REPORT OF THE TRRC
Following consultations between the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon Dawda A Jallow, and the Chairman of the TRRC, Dr.Lamin J Sise, the TRRC Commissioners will submit their final report to the President, H.E Adama Barrow at State House at 10am on Thursday, 25TH November, 2021.
The Commissioners will hold a press briefing at TRRC premises in Kotu following the submission of their report.
Director of Communications
||Posted - 31 May 2021 : 22:31:57
The Lead Counsel Essa Faal:
Closing Statement at the end of the TRRC Public Hearing, 28th May 2021
I thought that I have seen it all, but little did I know that the information that I was receiving about my country, disturbing as it was, was the tip of the iceberg. Mr Chair, sooner I discovered that we were dealing with a very dark chapter in our history, I realised that what we were dealing with, was a beast with many heads.
In 1994 a group of soldiers highjacked our democracy and suspended our Constitution and made us believed that they were soldiers with a difference, that they are going to salvage this country, save it from rampant corruptions, nepotism and bring in transparency, accountability, and probity. We embraced them, at least many of us including myself, if we are all honest, most of us, the majority embraced it, because also we were tired of the slow pace of development. We had a great democracy, we had one of the best Civil Services in the world, we had an unblemished human rights record, ones to boost about everywhere. We kicked it aside and embraced a military junta and they made us believed that they were soldiers with a difference. That is in fact the commencement of our enquiry, soon we realised that they were humiliating our political leaders, they were humiliating the elite, putting them on military trucks and dumping them in military barracks. They attacked people on the roads to show power, people were shot at by these convoys. We have received evidence from the actual perpetrators, Sanna Sabally himself came here and told the Commission all those shenanigans they were doing. They were imposing their will on The Gambian people in the most distally manner.
Mr Chair, we saw them attacked the Security personnel and dubbed most of the Senior Security Officers in jail unlawfully. We have seen how on the night of September 6th, they nicodemusly went to the jail, unlawfully tortured, and brutalised the Senior Military Officers. It was done cowardly, we have heard Edward Singhateh testify about it, we have heard Ebrima Chongan testify about it and a host of other soldiers testify about this. I was not prepared Mr Chair deliver closing arguments, but we can give you a gist, a flavour of what we were dealing with. As if that was not enough in the night of September, they started arresting our Pollical Leaders again and torturing them at Mile 2 prisons. We have heard Edward Singateh talked about how he managed to stop it, we have heard Sana Sabally talked about how he did it, how OJ and others became victims, but this was just the little symptoms that were imaging.
Lawyer Ousman Sillah wrote to Jammeh and told him how he was seeing the seeds of dictatorship been sowed, how Jammeh was planning to self-perpetuate himself in power and that he must stop. He was one of the few brave men who dared the be yawning dictatorship and protested directly to those concerned. These guys had a different agenda as they were pushing Constitutional Reform with a view to bring in a New Constitution. It was quiet obvious, at least to Lawyer Ousman Sillah that these people had no intension of relinquishing power even if we were to return to democracy, it will be democracy as per members of the Junta, Democracy as per Yaya Jammeh and the facts will soon unfold Mr Chair.
As the Junta started taking the necessary steps to silence all sections of Gambian society so that Jammeh can self-perpetuate himself in power and we have seen the steps he has taken. The first was to silence the soldiers, we have heard what happened on November 11th where they took 11 officers, men of the Gambia National Army and executed them in cold blood, in outer blatant violations of the law. These men were unarmed, they were stripped almost naked, humiliated, they were tortured, and executed. We have heard how the leaders sat before the Commission and de-write the International Conventions that apply to all men and people of civilise behaviour, The Geneva Conventions, and the Additional Protocols. I could recalled you the Chairperson (Chairperson of TRRC, Dr Lamin Ceesay) telling Sana Sabally, “I spent years teaching Generals about these rules, you sit here and tell us that these are not important.” They disregarded completely the adaptability or the application of these laws and did what they wanted. I recalled Edward Singateh saying that Jammeh told us to take no prisoners and he interpreted that as an order to kill all the Ring Leaders and that is what they did. On Remembrance Day or day before Remembrance Day, they executed their colleagues in cold blood. They wanted to silence those who could potentially challenge their authority, but they did not just stop there.
The next step was to see who the descenders were, quickly Sanna Sabbaly realised that they are off onto the wrong track, soon Yaya Jammeh had different Ideas, “Sanna had to go” because Sanna had the audacity to say” no, we got to go back to the barracks.” We have heard Edward Singateh about how they hatched a plan, eliminated him, and falsely accused him of something he never did and have no clue about. Dumbed him in prison, tortured him and secured a conviction of him for 9 years. He even testified before the Commission that he served his term, they would not even let him out. We have seen his name on the Spiritual Hit List of Yaya Jammeh. He was that much of a nuisance to him, he too deserved to die at least spiritually. Then came Koro Ceesay, a young man with the brightest future ahead of him, super brilliant, of high intellect, wonderful training because he objected to their nefarious plans, they had to silenced him. Knowing Koro sacking him from the job would not have silenced him, they decided to silence him permanently. Those where the words of Mustapha Marong former Minister of Justice who appeared before the Commission.
That was the beginning of the crisis we were going to face because at that stage Gambians started questioning, Gambians started accepting, the complains reduced and Jammeh won elections. The beginning of much more trouble to come. In other to further solidify his power he started attacking the media. We have heard how over 140 personnel of the media fraternity were arrested, detained and some tortured. We have heard how media houses were attacked and burnt including that of our Chief Executive, Baba Galleh Jallow, who on several occasions was whisk to the NIA, threaten and intimidated. Like many of his colleagues who had to end up in exile because Jammeh had to muscle the media, they had to keep quiet so that he could self-perpetuate himself in power but he did not limited himself just to that. He attacked the students because they dared to complain. We remember on April10/11 how 14 at least 12 of our young people students were brutality butchered along Kairaba Avenue and near Red Cross by forces under the command of Jammeh. We have heard how the instructions came from Cuba to Isatou Njie Saidy who appeared before this Commission to say that “well he ordered the military to go and take care of the situation”. We have heard from Gri Njie who explained how they had instructions and he had to shot at students.
Mr Chair,the attacks on the Gambian people were not limited to that, through a beauty pageant and through a protocol girls’ system our sisters were humiliated, sexually abused just to further subjugate The Gambian people and show ego and superiority for one’s self-aggrandisement. We have seen Mr Chair, how institutions were created that are aim at further strengthening or creating a dictatorship, the NIA with all those monstrous powers they were given, a very compliant justice system anchored and chaperon by so called Nigerian Mercenary Judges. We have seen how investigative processes and judiciary processes were compromised in other to produce desired results for Jammeh. Mr Chair, not only the institutions for investigating and prosecuting and judging but even the institution to keep these people, the prison became his 5-star hotel lacking any facility that will help a person have a good life. The mere fact of being in Mile 2 is a violation of the person’s rights because it is completely at odds with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Mr Chair, if one were to end up in Mile 2 Prisons, you leave being half the person or less of the person you were when you went in and Jammeh knew that. That is why he called it the 5 Star Hotel. We have seen how Jammeh had delt with those people who dared challenged his authority or those who he perceived to be challenging his authority.
We have heard of all those so-called Coups that happened and how he dealt with them. We have heard about the Ndure Cham one in 2006 March were those who were involved and those who were not involved were corralled and taken to Mile 2 Prisons, brutalised, taken to the NIA tortured and forced to give confessions which were used against them in court and convicted. We have heard how Lang Tombong’s evidence was manufactured, in fact today our witness talked about how they sat there and manufactured evidence to Jammeh’s knowledge which led to sentencing of Lang Tombong to death and that is the ultimate, it could have been executed. If that had happened, we would have lost a patriotic son unlawfully. This has happened several times.
Mr Chair, even political decent was so suppressed that Jammeh could easily sail through elections. He manipulated the laws to ensure that he remain in power. That is why he had the audacity to tell us “I will be in power for a billion years” because he had all the confidence, he has taken all the steps, he had instituted a dictatorship. When Sandeng and others decided to protest he treated them in the only language he understood, violence leading to the death of Solo Sandeng and the brutal torture of his cohorts. This was the Gambia that we had, so important was his throne to him that he will not spare his relatives. We have heard today from a person who was very close to him that he killed at least 5 of them just because he believed those people wanted him death.
In the process Mr Chair, I have drawn a list of those who were killed attributed to Jammeh and his forces. Mr Chair, our count or our count came to 214 people in small country like Gambia that boarders or smacks of crimes against humanity. For a country as small as Gambia, that smacks of crimes against humanity. I can give you a list, November 11th, 11 soldiers summarily executed, April 10th 12 school children and 2 people executed. His relatives 5 of them, Haronna, Jasaja, Ceesaybujuling, Mercy and others. Daba Marenah and co, we have heard from the person closest to Jammeh as to how Jammeh sat there and planned how to lie to The Gambian people what happened to these people. How Tombul Tamba called tell him “****ing mission accomplished” and how he was given a big bag of money. Daba Marenah and Co lost their lives unnecessarily, they did nothing. We have heard how the West Africans Migrants were butchered in several places around the country, 67 of them. Initially we thought they were 34 people, then 44 people, then 57 people and ultimately 67 people butchered, and the government went on a campaign to cover this up. We have heard even today the witch hunting exercise that was ordered by Jammeh 41 people died. A lot of them our grandmothers and our grandfathers, humiliated, tortured and some sexually abused. We have heard about the fraudulent Presidents’ Alternative Treatment Programme (PATP), only one person claimed to have been cured and that person did not come to the Commission, its being rumoured out there. Everybody else who was in that programme and testified before this Commission said that they are still HIV Positive and that soon after the treatment they had to go into conventional medicine without that they would have died. They were hoodwinked into believing that our President had a cure. Mr Chair, let no body kid you if the President of your country tells you he can do something the tendency is you would believe him. He fraudulently lured our sick people into a treatment programme that was bogus, he was a charlatan, he was a quack, he can’t be described in any lesser way.
Ensa Keita testified and talked about how he was captured and taken to Kanilai and been tortured and 8 people he provided that list were killed while he was there. 8 people including that woman who was supposed to have a beard, they butchered her for “Bamboo Saada” to be given to the crocodiles as charity. Charity for who, for the benefit of Jammeh, why, for him to entrench himself on that throne. If you add that all together it gives you about 204 people. We have written down another list of those who are not counted, Ousman Koro Ceeesay, Deda hydra, Baba Jobe, Njogo Mboob, Saul Ndow, Mahawa Cham, Ndure Cham, Tomane Jallow, Abdoulie Gaye, Almamo Manneh, Amadou Dumbuya, Dawda Nyassi, Mustapha Colley, Yerro Jallow, Mariama Camara and her husband Alfa Jallow this we have not been able to investigate conclusively. Yet we are still at it, Mamod Ceesay and Ebou Jobe. We had Oya,he testified before the Commission, he said that Yaya Jammeh instructed them to chop them up and it was not sufficient to just kill them, it was not sufficient to decapitate them, they had to chop them up, gruesome, gruesome, gruesome. An Tombul Tamba and I will come back to him. The Nigerian killed by Almamo Manneh after the Jammeh Convoy. We have heard Alieu Jallow in yesterdays and today’s Commision, saying Jammeh protected him. This was a country where if you kill in the name of the Head of State you get protected or even get promoted.
This was The Gambia we lived in. Yaya Drammeh was captured, the rebel attacked in Farefeni, he was tortured so badly that few months lately he died. Jammeh created these institutions where torture was the name of the game, torture was the order of the day, it was his star chamber. We have heard the NIA Officers said that torture was almost certain to happened in cases where he is involved. In fact, we have heard from someone so close to Jammeh who told us sometimes he will come, disguised, and participate in torture, the public may not have heard that, yes but it is evidence before the Commission. We have heard how video recorders are carried by some of his agents and they would take videos of tortures and maybe even killings because we have heard how Daba Marenah and Co were dealt with. Tombol had to come with a video camera and recorder and had to show Jammeh proof. I am ashame that this was the country our people lived in, I am ashamed that this is the country that my parents lived in, I am ashamed that this is the country my children lived in and this is where they growing up.
This is what happened in Gambia, between 220 murders to 250 murders occurred in this country during Jammeh’s rule attributable to Jammeh. That is not the enforced disappeared, we have heard from the Saihou Jallow, Jammeh told him “Oh Solo is lucky but if not for my mother I would have disappeared him”. Well disappearing people was part of his modus operandi. Indeed, Buba Yabou disappeared, Abdul Ann disappeared, Babai Sanyang disappeared, Chief Ebrima Manneh disappeared, Omar Hydra disappeared, Sidi Sanneh disappeared, Momodou Jobe disappeared, and Kaniba Kanyi we have heard from his wife how the NIA took him away from their home. We have heard from people who were at NIA, at Mile 2 prisons describing how he was taken away at night. So bad it was that when Civil Servants went to work, they are not sure, they going to come back home. To tame the Civil Service, he had the laws to do it. You dance to his tune you are safe you don’t you face the peril of false information charge or economic crime or been sack by a letter of one or two lines or at least one sentence without recourse to law. That is the evidence that is been unearthed before this Commission. There may be deniers, yes there will be deniers, but these numbers don’t lie, these numbers don’t lie. If you ask the families of Solo Sandeng, they will tell you we feel the pain, deny as much as you wish but we feel the pain. If you ask Amdou Kebbeh, he will say deny as much as you want, I am working with one foot shorter. Ask those students who were there on that faithful day of April 10th. Some will tell you I have a bullet lodge in my body, those things don’t lie deny as much as you wish but the facts speak for themselves, and The Gambian people have seen it.
What we hard was a terrible dictatorship that would do everything to self-perpetuate and to strengthened it so called supremacy over the Gambian people. No wonder it demanded to be crowned and we had minions running around the country trying to secure that. We have heard Yaya Jarjusey saying that the meetings were held at his home. If the Gambian people were not strong at that point, we would have been having a Monachy now the Kingdom of, I would not want to say it, with Jamus Jungung the first as our King. That is what was going to happened and thanks to God the Gambian people dogged deep into their reservoir and said no, no. it’s not going to happen. By this time we had gone too far into dictatorship, we have gone too far into self-perpetuation with 22 years, we have gone so far deep into corruption were the whole treasury and the Central Bank was the extension of the Executive Household. We have heard from Mr Njie who testified a few days ago, how his property was taken away from him in gangster’s style.
Mr Chair, all these I am saying tells me Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes Against Humanity, Crimes Against Humanity and the forum to deal with that is not only limited in The Gambia, it could be Ghana, it could be West Africa, It could be somewhere in Africa, it could be at the ICC so no matter how people deny, no matter how one can control what may happened in The Gambia, that same institution cannot control what happened outside or elsewhere. We have seen Hussain Habre, he ran away for twenty something years, he had to face the law. The other day I saw a publication with the justice dial pointing at Jammeh perhaps that is what needs to happen.
Justice must happen, we all grave for reconciliation, that is fundamental and that is important. We all grave for unity of the Gambian people because we are in one little boat and all of us have to be our brother’s keeper so that we can keep this little boat afloat but that said there must also be justice. There should be justice for the victims, there should justice for us as a people because we are all scared, we are all traumatised as a people because of that dark chapter that happened to us, 22years of brutality, 22 years of disrespect for the Gambian people. But we are the cause of it because we succumbed, we accepted it, we coached him through it, we guided him through it, we told him we would accept it and no wonder when he throws water even some of our imams would dive just to touch that water because coming from him it has spiritual values, embarrassing situation. Dictatorship, self-perpetuation in power and corruption is a recipe for disaster but in other to free ourselves from those shackles we have to ensure that there is rule of law in this country, we have strong democratic institutions otherwise we are doomed, and this has to be the corner stone of the recommendations of the TRRC. If Never Again is to be meaningful it has to be anchored on rule of law, it has to anchored on strong institutions, it has to be anchored on a disciplined society.
I pray to God that we reform our attitudes, and we show commitment to this little country we call Gambia. That we have said so much, as said by Mr Kah borrowed from our children, we have to be careful The Gambia we hand over to them. If we do not correct the ills of the past, we will be showing the seeds of disaster of the future. I leave it at that MR Chair.
I think we have made a good case even those in denial, if they searched deep down, they would see that the truth has come out and the truth is Jammeh took us on a wild ride to self-aggrandisement, he has to pay the price and those who enabled him also have to pay the price. Justice must be done, and it must be seen to be done.
Transcribed by Ndey Jobarteh. Thank you so much the TRRC and its whole Team for a great job and giving us hope for justice now or in the near future. We are so grateful for the great work!!
Source: Ndey Jobarteh
||Posted - 31 May 2021 : 14:14:56
Faal demands Jammeh face justice as TRRC records 250 murders
The Point: May 31, 2021
By: Pa Modou Cham
After two years of national duty designed to investigate crimes committed by former President Yahya Jammeh and his enablers, the lead counsel of the TRRC, Essa M. Faal revealed that about 220 to 250 murders occurred in the country under Jammeh; adding that justice should be done and it must be seen to be done.
He confirmed that 11 people were killed on November 11, 1994; 14 people on April 10, 2000; and 5 of Jammeh’s relatives.
He added Daba Marena and colleagues were killed, 67 West African migrants were killed, 41 killed due to Jammeh’s witch hunting activities and some as a result of the President’s Alternative Treatment Programme.
Eight people were killed at Kanilai, a list which was provided by Essa Keita.
Koro Ceesay, Deyda Hydara, Baba Jobe, Ndogo Mboob, Saul Ndow, Almamo Manneh, Amadou Dumbuya, Dawda Nyassi, Mustapha Colley, Ello Jallow, Mariama Camara and her husband Alpha Jallow, Mamud Ceesay, Ebou Jobe and Yahya Drammeh were all killed.
Mr. Faal emphasised that disappearance was Jammeh’s mode of operandi, in which Buba Yarbo, Abdoulie Ann, Babai Sanyang, Chief Ebrima Manneh, Omar Hydara, Seedy Sanneh, Momodou Jobe, and Kanjiba Kanji all disappeared.
“There may be denials but these numbers don’t lie. Deny as much as you wish but the fact speaks for itself. Justice must happen, we all pray for reconciliation and that is fundamental but there must be a justice for the victims. Dictatorship, self-perpetuation in power and corruption is a recipe for disaster but in order to free ourselves from those shackles, we have to ensure there is rule of law and to have strong democratic institutions. If we don’t correct the ills of the past, we will be sowing seeds of disaster for the future,” Lead Counsel Faal said in his closing statement after years of TRRC’s public hearing.
Faal said he realised they were dealing with a very dark chapter in our history and a beast with many heads. He explained that in 1994, a group of soldiers hijacked our democracy, suspended our constitution, and made us believe they were soldiers with differences and they were going to salvage the country and save it from rampant corruption, nepotism and bring in transparency, accountability and probity. He said most of the people embraced it because they were tired of the slow pace of development.
“We had a great democracy, one of the best civil services in the world, an unblemished human rights record, one to boast about everywhere but we put it aside and embraced a military hunter. They were humiliating our political leaders and putting them in military trucks and dumped them in military barracks. They attacked people on the road to show power, people were shot on private convoys and we have received evidence from those perpetrators. The hunter was imposing their will on the Gambians and dumped most of the senior security officers in jail unlawfully. We have seen the night of September 6th, they went to the jail and unlawfully tortured and brutalised the senior military officers.”
As if that was not enough in the night of September, the veteran lawyer stated the hunter started arresting political leaders and tortured them at Mile 2 prison, saying this was just the little symptoms that were imagined. To further entrench into power, he said, ‘Jammeh first silenced the soldiers on November 11, where 11 officers were executed in cold blood.’
The emotional lead counsel reiterated that Koro Ceesay was also silenced permanently and in order for Jammeh to further solidify his power, he began to attack the media.
“Personnel of the media fraternity were arrested and detained and some ended in exile. We remember on April 10 and 11, where 14 and at least 12 students were butchered along Kairaba Avenue and Red Cross by the commands of Jammeh. We have heard how the instructions came from Cuba to former VP Isatou Njie Saidy. Through a beauty pageant and a protocol girl system, our sisters were humiliated, sexually abused just to further subjugate the Gambians and show superiority for one’s self-aggrandisement. We have seen how institutions were created to further strengthen or create a dictatorship. We also saw how investigation and judiciary processes were compromised in order to produce desired results for Jammeh.”
“Political dissent was so suppressed that Jammeh could easily be sealed through elections because he manipulated the laws to stay in power and that’s why he had the audacity to say he would rule for a billion years.”
||Posted - 31 May 2021 : 14:12:27
‘JAMMEH SHOULD BE TRIED FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’
The Standard: MAY 31, 2021
By Aisha Tamba
The lead counsel at the truth commission has propounded that former president Yahya Jammeh, should be tried for crimes against humanity for the murders and gross human rights abuses he has been accused of during his 22-year rule.
In an impassioned closing statement at the end of the commission’s public hearings on Friday afternoon, Faal who has distinguished himself as both a prosecutor and defendant in high profile cases at the International Criminal Court and elsewhere, argued that at least 214 murders occurred in The Gambia attributed to Jammeh and his forces in addition to enforced disappearances.
“In a small country like The Gambia,” he underlined, “that borders on or smacks of crimes against humanity.”
Mr Faal rehashed the killing incidents including the 11 November 1994 extra-judicial killings of soldiers; the 10 and 11 April 2000 gunning down of unarmed protesting students; the 2005 massacre of West African migrants; the deaths resulting from the 2009 witch-hunts, and even the murder of five members of Jammeh’s family on his orders.
He asserted: “All these things tell me crimes against humanity and the forum to deal with that is not only limited to The Gambia, it could be Ghana, it could be somewhere in Africa, it could be the ICC. So no matter how the people deny, no matter how one can control what may happen in The Gambia, [one] cannot control what happens outside or elsewhere. We have seen Hissène Habré [of Chad]. He ran for 20 something years [but in the end] he had to face the law.
“The other day I saw a publication with the justice dial pointing at Jammeh perhaps that is what needs to happen. We all pray for reconciliation and that is fundamental. That is absolutely important. We all pray for the unity of the Gambian people because we are in one little boat and all of us have to be our brother’s keeper so that we can keep this little boat afloat but that said, there must also be justice. There should be justice for the victims; there should be justice for us as a people because we are all scarred, we are all traumatised as a people because of the dark chapter that happened to us during the 22 years of brutality and disrespect for the Gambian people…
“There may be deniers, yes there are deniers but these numbers don’t lie… I think we have made a good case even for those who are in denial. If they search deep down, they would see that the truth has come out and the truth is Jammeh took us on a wild ride for his own self-aggrandisement. He has to pay the price and those who enabled him also have to pay the price. Justice must be done, it must seen to be done.”
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC had stated earlier that the crimes committed in The Gambia do not meet the gravity threshold for the ICC to intervene. With the new information unearthed, this may change if the TRRC in its report recommends for Jammeh’s prosecution.
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