This Thursday, September 30th, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) will present its final report to Gambia’s President Adama Barrow on the human rights violations committed during Yahya Jammeh’s regime between 1994 to 2017.
As we write these lines, the TRRC staff have been busy ensuring that everything goes as planned on Thursday. The report Adama Barrow will receive would detail the crimes committed during President Yahya Jammeh’s presidency and provide recommendations on the eventual prosecutions of the perpetrators before the courts.
Former Human Rights Watch lawyer Reed Brody explains that “The Truth Commission, whose hearings were followed on radio and television, should identify and recommend prosecutions against those who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations and abuses including Jammeh. The TRRC will also make recommendations on reparation, reconciliation, and institutional reforms,” according to Brody.
“Since the start of the hearings in January 2019, 392 witnesses have been interviewed. Hearings of previous government members and victims link Jammeh to killings and torture of political opponents, including the murder of 59 migrants from West Africa and the ‘witch hunt,’ ‘hundreds of people who were arbitrarily detained. The hearings also revealed that Jammeh allegedly raped and sexually assaulted women presented to him. In addition, he personally carried out a bogus program to fight HIV/AIDS, forcing patients to stop their treatment in favor of Jammeh’s personally concocted cure“, Reed Brody recalls.
According to the Act that established the Truth, Reparation, and Reconciliation Commission, the Gambian government will have six months to respond to the TRRC recommendations, which should be a central theme of the next elections scheduled for December 4, 2021.
In early September, President Adama Barrow’s National People’s Party (NPP) formed an electoral alliance with Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction Party (APRC).
This alliance raises doubts about President Adama Barrow’s government’s willingness to implement the recommendations of the Truth-seeking Commission.
The APRC Interim leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta said the TRRC Commission’s final report should be ‘thrown in a wastebasket.‘
According to a study published on September 6 by Afrobarometer, a pan-African research network, 73% of Gambians believe that those who committed human rights abuses during the Jammeh regime should be prosecuted.