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Time to Prosecute The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh

Remember Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh who called gays “vermin” and said his government would tackle them in the same way it fights malaria-causing mosquitoes.

Well..... now The Gambian Truth Commission has spoken:

The truth commission wants former Gambian president Yahya Jammeh prosecuted for crimes against humanity for the widespread human rights violations that characterised his 22-year dictatorship.

The commissioners have recommended that Jammeh should be tried by an internationalised tribunal in a West African country other than The Gambia, under the authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and/or the African Union (AU).

In its final report released to the public on December 24, 2021, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) says the crimes and grave violations committed by Yahya Jammeh and security and government officials under his authority shock the human conscience.

“The context and widespread nature of the crimes, and their gravity clearly are such that they amount to crimes against humanity,” it says.

It adds that according to the definition of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the violations that were allowed to happen during Jammeh’s reign qualify to be classified as crimes against humanity because they were attacks directed against the civilian population. “The attacks were committed pursuant to or in furtherance of a state or organisational policy of the government of The Gambia and/or the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) to commit the attacks against the civilian population,” the report says.

The commission examines four options that could be pursued to ensure justice for the victims. It says the first one – local prosecution in The Gambia – would not yield full and proper prosecution of Jammeh and his co-perpetrators because The Gambia does not have the relevant applicable international laws. If this option is considered, it would mean creating a completely new regime that will import all the relevant international crimes, rules, and norms, as was the case in 2000, when the United Nations established a transitional administration in East Timor and set up a Serious Crimes Unit to investigate crimes committed between 1975 and 1999, and which were to be prosecuted before the Special Panels for Serious Crimes.

It says the country could also create a new statute that includes all the relevant international crimes that could be prosecuted under the circumstances for the purpose of prosecuting Jammeh and his co-perpetrators. Although this would allow the former president to be prosecuted for all the crimes he committed and the victims to have easy access to the proceedings, the country lacks capacity in terms of judicial and support staff, as well as necessary infrastructure, in addition to suffering financial constraints. Another pitfall is the resultant political fallout that could destabilize the country.

The second option – establishing an internationalized tribunal in The Gambia comprising Gambians and other nationalities (along the model of East Timor, Cambodia, and Sierra Leone) – would enable Gambians to participate and would help build the capacity of the country’s judicial system in terms of exposure and training for staff, and funding. However, prosecuting Jammeh at home is likely to encourage conflict and polarisation, and scuttle the goal of reconciliation, unity, and cohesion among local communities.

The commission also puts forward the possibility of trying Jammeh at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, as the court has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity committed in the territory of any of its member states. The Gambia is a member of the ICC, which gives the court complementary jurisdiction over such crimes. This means that if The Gambia is unwilling or unable to prosecute the crimes committed by Jammeh, the ICC has the mandate to step in, or the country can simply refer the matter to the ICC, if the case is admissible before the court.

The disadvantage, according to the commissioners, is that the ICC only has jurisdiction over the relevant crimes starting from June 2002. This means it would not be able to prosecute a large chunk of some of the most serious crimes the former president is suspected to have presided over. READ MORE

The Gambia, despite the demise of Jammeh as Preisdent continues its anti-gay persecution of its citizens.... casuign LGBTI people to flee, forcibly displaced, seeking protection, refuge and asylum.

Gambia Should Take Concrete Steps for Ex-President ... Human Rights Watch· › 2022/06/16 Jun 16, 2022 — We are aware that President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea has said that he will “protect” Jammeh. However, Equatorial Guinea has ratified ... Gambian government says it will prosecute exiled ex ... Reuters· › world › africa › gamb... May 26, 2022 — Attorney General Dawda Jallow said a special prosecutor would oversee cases of abuses found from Jammeh's 1994 to 2017 rule, which were laid out ...

Gambian government says it will prosecute exiled ex-ruler ... Al Jazeera· › news › gambia... May 25, 2022 — The Gambian government has said it will prosecute former President Yahya Jammeh for murder, rape, torture and other alleged crimes committed ...


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