October 17, 2018

Gambian President launches Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission


On October 16, in order to investigate and reconcile the crimes of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who reigned over the country for 23 years, the country’s current President, Adama Barrow, announced the creation of a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, which will consist of 11 members.

Modeled after the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Commission created by Barrow has been entrusted with the task of investigating human rights abuses committed between July 1994 and January 2017. It has the power to subpoena alleged perpetrators. Also, the Commission will help heal the country after years of extrajudicial killings, torture, and abuses and is expected to lay the groundwork for possible prosecution of Jammeh.

In this regard, Fatou Bom Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer and international criminal law prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, stated that the Commission will help the country write a new chapter and that in order to move forward “it must reckon with its past”, adding that “It is not an exercise in settling political scores”.

During his reign, Jammeh took power through a bloody coup d’etat, and subsequently, he allegedly committed several crimes against humanity, including the murders of students and foreigners and the detainment and torture of journalists. In addition, members of the LGBT community were prohibited from living in The Gambia, and thousands of civilians were arrested for witchcraft.

However, he later fled the country in January 2017, after the African Union declared they would no longer support his presidency.

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