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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 25 May 2022 : 15:40:24
OFFICIAL MEDIA ADVISORY ON THE RELEASE OF THE WHITE PAPER TO THE TRRC REPORT
UNDER EMBARGO TILL THE CONCLUSION OF STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL & MINISTER OF JUSTICE
KEY STATISTICS ON WHITEPAPER
1. The Whitepaper is 173 pages long and contains 600 paragraphs. It is structured in chapters according to the 17 thematic areas with each chapter setting out a summary of the findings of the commission, then governments position on each of the recommendations made by the commission.
2. In addition to the 17 thematic areas there are separate chapters on Reparations, Reconciliation, the National Human Rights Commission and Amnesty.
3. The Whitepaper analysed all 265 recommendations made by the TRRC and gave government’s position as well as its plan for implementation.
4. Out of 265 recommendations made by the TRRC and considered by the Government only all but two have been are set for implementation in one shape or form. With the exception of the two rejected recommendations, where the Government does not necessarily agree on the proposed recommendation it sets out an alternative mode if implementation to meet the overall objective of the recommendation.
5. Cover graphics for the Whitepaper are attached in the email.
KEY GOVERNMENT POSITIONS IN THE WHITEPAPER
1. The Government accepted ALL the recommendations by the TRRC with regards to Prosecution, notable the prosecution of ex-President Yahya Jammeh, for a myriad of crimes committed between 1994 and 2017.
2. The Government accepted the recommendations for the prosecution of ex-vice president Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy for her role in the April 10 and 11 student killings. Government further accepted the recommendation to deny her amnesty.
3. The Government rejects the recommendation of the Commission as pertains to Sanna Sabally and notes that although he might have made full disclosure and showed remorse, Sanna is one of the individuals that bears the highest responsibility for gross human rights abuses and violations in the early days of the Jammeh regime, particularly the extrajudicial killing of many soldiers on November 11th 1994.
4. The other recommendations for Amnesty besides were accepted by the Government subject to them providing witness testimony in the prosecution of individuals recommended for prosecution.
5. The Government will set up a decentralised Peace and Reconciliation Commission with the mandate of promoting peace, reconciliations and fostering social cohesion.
6. The Government will rename Arch 22 to NEVER AGAIN MEMORIAL ARCH in memory of victims of Jammeh and will renovate it and erect a wall with the names of Jammeh Victims.
7. Government will create a successor body to the TRRC with the mandate of administering reparations. The body will be independent from government and will have the authority to evaluate and identify new victims not identified by the TRRC.
8. The Government shall take steps to memorialise April 10th and 11th each year to mark the sad events that transpired on those two days in the year 2000 and ensure that it never happens again.
KEY QUOTES FROM ATTORNEY GENERAL’S STATEMENT
“An implementation rate of over 99.2% of all recommendations is unprecedented in the history of Truth Commissions and I am convinced that we now have a clear road map towards reconciliation, justice, reparations and ensuring non-reoccurrence.”
“We must however admit that the some of the conditions that made it possible for these atrocities to be committed still exist. This truth-seeking process will therefore be futile if we do not put in place long overdue comprehensive legislative and institutional reforms. The implementation of the TRRC’s recommendations is therefore anchored on broad based reforms which are at the centre of the Whitepaper.”
“The Government lays a special emphasis on the TRRC’s recommendations on SGBV and recognises that SGBV was and continues to be widely prevalent in The Gambia. The Government further notes that many acts that constitute SGBV are not seen as a violation due to the patriarchal nature of the society which accepts discrimination against women and girls and shames male victims of SGBV into silence.”
“Of particular concern to the Government is the alarming number of enforced disappearances that occurred under the direction of former President Jammeh and the continuous suffering of families who up until this day are unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones or their remains. The Government is committed to working with key partners in finding the bodies of victims of enforced disappearances and bringing closure to their families.”
“There is no doubt that the country has gone through a very traumatic experience and is in dire need of individual and collective healing as well as reconciliation, not just with the perpetrators of these human rights violations but with our past as a nation.
reconciliation must be balanced with the need to ensure accountability and that perpetrators who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights abuses are made to face justice and answer for their crimes.”
“The Government shall continue to work towards mobilising additional financial resources for this process, including but not limited to the proceeds of the sale of forfeited assets belonging to ex-president Jammeh.”
“We are gathered today full of hope for a better tomorrow. Today however is also a sombre reminder of the traumatic events that occurred between 1994 and 2017. We must therefore not forget the many victims of these violations especially those who lost their lives.”
“I am pleased to announce his Excellency the President’s decision to rename the July 22nd Arch to NEVER AGAIN MEMORIAL ARCH in honour of all the victims of gross human rights abuses and violations under the regime of former president Yahya Jammeh. The Government plans to renovate the Arch and erect a plaque with the names of the victims of the Jammeh regime. It is our hope that this memorial may be repurposed as a fitting reminder that Never Again shall we allow such heinous abuses and violations in our beloved country.”
“The implementation must therefore be transparent and inclusive with clear timelines and measurable outcomes. Rest assured that the government is fully committed to the implementation as outlined in the Whitepaper. We have been given a unique opportunity to change the trajectory of our dear nation and posterity will judge us by our actions.”
“… we note that certain individuals who have been adversely mentioned by the Commission continue to serve in various areas of the public and security services. The Government shall take steps for their immediate suspension from service while we work on a lawful means to effect their dismissal, termination or compulsory retirement as each case may require.”
|7 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 27 May 2022 : 09:09:19
The TRRC White Paper is the final phase of the transitional justice process. I hope you’ll support it
Immediate pessimism permeates the air the moment the Attorney General took the stage to present the government’s White Paper on the recommendations of the Truth Commission (TRRC). And understandable so, given the government’s treatment of its own White Paper of the recommendations of the Janneh Commission on the management of Gambia’s public finances under Jammeh’s 22-year dictatorial rule.
The subsequent ignominious trashing - literally and figuratively - of the CRC’s Draft 2020 Constitution only shook our confidence further in the Barrow administration. The resultant effect was a further mistrust of a government that seems to enjoy frustrating the wishes of a people yearning to put their 22-year nightmare. We owe it to the victims of this very dark period of our history to finally put this chapter to rest.
This is our chance to realize this historic goal; of bringing justice to the victims of the dictatorship of Yaya Jammeh. We must not squander this opportunity for any reason whatsoever including, but not limited to, partisan/parochial reasons. Our development partners are onboard.
The EU Mission in Banjul have gone a step further by announcing its commitment to support the implementation of the measures in the White Paper, “including the establishment of a special judicial framework.” This is a BFD, if you ask me, because I know how complex and expensive it can be to get such a framework up and running. I just wish we could take off our partisan blinders to see the bigger picture.
The EU statement was accompanied by a warning to all and sundry “ [T]hat there can be no impunity for human rights violations and crimes against humanity.”
My endorsement of the government’s White Paper is predicated on a firm government commitment to a robust implementation schedule that guarantees a swift but fair and transparent exercise during this final and important phase of the country’s transitional justice process.
We either support the process from the inside and try to influence its implementation or we elect to stay on the sidelines and continue to complain. I have elected to embrace the process with the hope of putting in my two cents. I hope Karamba Touray, Momodou Billo Krubally and others will join me in this endeavor.
||Posted - 26 May 2022 : 13:58:59
By Dr. Karamba Touray
I once again profoundly thank the TRRC for doing an excellent job of establishing a detailed historical record of the 22 year bloody tyranny of Yahya Jammeh and those who aided and abetted his murderous reign of terror . The Commission Identified the most responsible culprits , established their crimes and prescribed accountability. The Barrow government issued a white paper yesterday purporting to accept in the main the work product of the Commission and promising implementation. I do not trust ANY promise emanating from the Barrow administration. I also do not accept as valid any assertion from this government of implementing the recommendations of any commission or investigative body . Why ? Because the President and his government have a public and proven record of not keeping promises and not implementing commission recommendations. The Attorney General who unveiled the white paper and presumably would lead the accountability portion of the report has aptly demonstrated neither the capacity nor inclination to do what is right . Are we supposed to believe someone who chaperoned the deliberate and shameful trashing of a draft constitution that was painstakingly put together at great cost to the nation to serve the selfish personal interest of the president would do right by the nation and implement the work product of the TRRC ? I am not one willing to suspend disbelief on the conduct of people with ample evidence to the contrary .
Therefore , I consider the government’s promises as presented yesterday as empty rhetoric from people that can’t be trusted . We can see early and true to character indication of their disingenuousness in their attempt to shield and absolve the Director of the state intelligence services Mr Sowe by stating that his criminal conduct of destroying physical evidence at NIA headquarters occurred sometime in 2017 a few weeks into the Barrow administration. In this blatant attempt to protect an indicted culprit they favor , they are ignoring the fact that the same DG Sowe had spent the previous two decades serving at the NIA in senior positions when untold number of innocent victims where brought in , tortured, unlawfully detained , disappeared, raped and murdered . Instead of holding Mr Sowe accountable for his record , he was elevated , retained and now protected by executive fiat while the same government is promising to go after some of his underlings and promise to hold those accountable. That is not justice . That constitutes a pervasion of justice, promotion of impunity and a travesty . It follows the same dastardly trend of previous commissions where the President deliberately undermines the recommendations of commissions by perverting the implementation process with discriminatory approaches that illegally protects his cronies and attempts to persecute people he believes can be made scapegoats.
The only thing I expect are lies , obfuscations , attempts at selective justice all of which will destroy the excellent work of the TRRC and undermine the rule of law that anchors our democracy . Additionally the overall pervasion of justice will further polarize our small society, increase bitterness and have long term national security implications.
||Posted - 26 May 2022 : 05:32:38
I am thrilled to learn that the government has issued the long awaited White Paper on the report of the TRRC in which it accepted 99.2% of the findings and recommendations of the Commission. I am happy to have attained such a lofty achievement not just for myself, but for the Commissioners who made the final decisions and in particularly my legal team members who made the sacrifice to go beyond the call of duty by spending sleepless nights with me at the TRRC as we wrote the reports and the recommendations. The support and encouragement they gave me throughout the process was extraordinary for which I thank them enormously.
I take this opportunity to commend the government for taking a correct and courageous decision to rise above politics and accept the recommendations and of the Commission.
While I accept that Sanna Sabally does not merit an amnesty, I believe that the government erred in law when it rejected the recommended amnesty for him on wrong legal grounds. However, I support the outcome, but unfortunately it cannot be sustained legally as it is anchored on a point that is not based on the TRRC Act.
That said I congratulate the government for a very good decision. Their acceptance of the memorialisation recommendations in particular will permanently keep the never again agenda fresh in our public interactions.
We now wait anxiously to see the next steps the government will take to implement the recommendations. Addressing the impunity gap is key. As such, I eagerly look forward to the justice and accountability mechanisms the government will pursue for the perpetrators.
Long live The Gambia and all its people. Long live justice.
Essa Mbye Faal
||Posted - 25 May 2022 : 19:06:30
TRRC Recommendations – Justice On The Horizon?
By. D. A. Jawo
Bravo to Justice Minister Dawda Jallow and the government of the Gambia for the bold step taken to accept virtually all the recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). Indeed President Adama Barrow and his administration deserve commendation for the bold move, proving wrong most of those skeptics who were convinced that the government lacked the political will to accept the recommendations let alone express the will to implement them.
Of course, accepting the recommendations is just one thing, but the most important aspect is the implementation, which is definitely going to be a lengthy and laborious process, and some people even question whether the government has the resources and all the wherewithal to carry it out within a reasonable time-frame.
However, to some people, it was not quite a surprise that the TRRC recommendations pertaining to the current Director-General of the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Ousman Sowe, were rejected on the basis that his alleged actions to destroy evidence at the NIA premises happened outside the mandate of the TRRC. “It was foolhardy for anyone to ever think that the White Paper would endorse Mr. Sowe's removal, who is known to be a very close confidante of President Barrow,” remarked one of the victims of the Jammeh regime.
As regards the rejection of the recommended sanctions against the “Mercenary Judges”, I agree with the Justice Minister that the foreign judges should not be blamed for all the bad things that happened in the judiciary during the Jammeh regime because they had numerous Gambian accomplices. Therefore, it would be unfair to heap all the blame on them for whatever happened while those Gambians who enabled them are let off the hook.
Also, it would be quite interesting to know the reaction of some of President Barrow's allies, especially the APRC, including the Speaker of the National Assembly, Fabakary Tombong Jatta, who had publicly expressed their total opposition to the TRRC, even urging President Barrow to throw its recommendations into the dustbin.
Now that the long-anticipated White Paper is out of the way, we expect the Ministry of Justice to do everything possible to bring closure to some of the still-outstanding cases of those assumed to have been killed. For instance, Solo Sandeng's exhumed body is assumed to be among the several dead bodies kept at the mortuary of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. Efforts should therefore be made to do whatever is necessary to hand over the body to his family so that they can give him befitting burial rites. It should be the same with those whose body parts were exhumed at the Yundum Army Barracks as well as other areas. If it means that the government engages the services of forensic experts from abroad, that should be done as soon as possible.
Another welcome gesture by the government is the decision to rename Arch 22 to Never Again Memorial, with the names of the victims being engraved on a plaque at the site. It is also expected that the payment of reparations would commence as soon as possible, at least to sustain the momentum created by the release of the White Paper.
||Posted - 25 May 2022 : 16:59:09
Download Government White Paper in pdf here:
||Posted - 25 May 2022 : 15:57:13
TRRC: Government White Paper press conference
||Posted - 25 May 2022 : 15:47:07
Breaking News: Government accepts recommendation for the prosecution of former Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy for her role in the April 10 and 11 student killings and further accepted the recommendation to deny her amnesty.
Source: Kerr Fatou
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