TRRC Executive Director Reacts to Victims’ Demand of D1 Million Compensation
The executive director of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) states Wednesday that he doesn’t think it’s possible for all the victims to receive individually, an amount of one-million-dalasi compensation.
Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow was responding to the demands made by the Chairman of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights on behalf of the victims of the brutal regime of former president Yahya Jammeh, Sheriff Kijera that each victim should be given at least D1 million as compensation.
Kijera pegged his demand on the precedent set by the Faraba Banta Commission which decides that each victim in the community be awarded a compensation of D1 million.
Jallow said he can’t determine if each victim will be able to receive such an amount at this point as the Commission is yet to finalize the reparations rules and regulations.
However, “considering the country’s financial status, I don’t think it will be possible to give every victim a million dalasis. But again, we have to wait for the completed reparations rules and regulations to determine what victims should get.”
Jallow, a former journalist, is certain that not all victims will receive the same amount due to the differences in forms of human rights violations victims suffered.
State of victim support fund
He said the victim support fund is with the TRRC finance department. According to him, they have not received any additional funds for reparations since we got the D50 million from the government.
“UNDP is helping support our victims but that is separate from the TRRC’s reparations fund,” he tells The Chronicle.
He said they have no set target amount to mobilize but would like to get substantially more money for reparations.
Who manages the fund?
“The support fund is being jointly managed by the TRRC and the Commissions’ Reparations Committee. We are working on a fundraising policy that will determine our fundraising strategies.”
Jallow states that victims have been benefiting from their interim reparations programme since 2018 in the form of medical assistance, including assistance to the victims currently in Turkey for medical treatment, as well as employment opportunities, livelihood support and scholarships for the children of victims.
“No monetary reparations have been given so far,” he stressed.
Will the TRRC’s mandate be extended?
The TRRC has suspended its public hearing since March due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan.
“So far, the TRRC has lost only two weeks of hearings due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That means that our hearings will end at the end of October rather than the first week of October as per our initial work plan.
“But even before the Corona virus crisis, it was anticipated that the Commission might need a few months extension to finish work on the report. Hearings end [at the] end of November and it will not be possible to complete work on the report in November and December 2020.”
Prosecution and amnesty
The victims have expressed their desire to have their perpetrators prosecuted, especially the jungulars who confessed to conducting brutal killings during their testimonies before the commission last year. The chairman of the Victim Centre has also re-echoed that interest, saying all the perpetrators who committed international crimes such as extra-judicial killings should be prosecuted.
However, the TRRC boss that demands cannot be determined at this point.
“That cannot be determined at this point. The Commission will evaluate the evidence and come up with recommendations on who should be prosecuted or granted amnesty.”
The head of the victims’ community has also called for community hearing across all regions of the country to enable all victims to have access to the TRRC. In response, Jallow says if the Commission considers it necessary, further regional hearings may be conducted. “But that is yet to be determined.”