TRRC Wrapping Up, Already Working On Final Report
As the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) resumes on Monday, the Chronicle has reliably learned that the Commission is wrapping up public hearings and leaning towards the end of its work. This, after two years of investigating, documenting and exposing the human rights violations committed under the rule of former president Yahya Jammeh, from 1994 to 2017.
The Chronicle has obtained credible information that work has already commenced on the final report and will continue despite Covid-19. The Legal Team is leading on the compilation and drafting of evidential analyses, in close collaboration with the Research and Investigations Unit.
The various committees (Reparations, Reconciliation, Children and Gender, Amnesty and Human Rights) of the Commission are soon to commence working on their various agendas, including putting together some aspects of the final report. Equally, the various units of the Secretariat (Research and Investigations, Reconciliation, Women’s Affairs, Youth and Children and Communications and Outreach) have also commenced drafting their final activity reports with technical assistance from international organizations.
The Commission has even hired a consultant to combine all the units’ reports into what would be the final TRRC report to be submitted to the President of the Republic.
Essa Jallow, the Commission’s Head of Communications confirmed to The Chronicle that TRRC is indeed in the process of hiring a consultant to combine all the TRRC various units reports into an international standard. “We had a meeting about this but it is not yet finalized”.
On the question, when the TRRC is making its report available to the President, Mr Jallow said he cannot answer to that question for now because he is yet to have all the details about the timeline of the final steps.
“We planned at the beginning to finish in October 2020 but due to COVID-19 we are thinking that it is going to be extended but I don’t know for how long because nothing has been communicated to me for now”, said Essa Jallow.
The TRRC has received over 1200 statements between October 2018 and June 2020, at least 235 of which are from women. A total of at least 219 witnesses, of whom 54 were women, 35 alleged perpetrators and 23 from the Gambian diaspora have also testified across 13 public hearings and 1 closed hearing, which commenced in January 2019.
COVID19 has adversely impacted the transitional justice calendar in The Gambia, including the TRRC which has been forced to suspend its public hearings and face-to-face outreach activities. Though statement-taking continue via telephone, there remains little doubt that the submission of the TRRC’s Final Report would not occur in December 2020 as initially anticipated, but rather, during the first or second quarter of 2021.
Observers within The Gambia and abroad have been following the hearings with rapt attention since January 2019 and are awaiting the TRRC’s final report, particularly its recommendations.
Additionally, the Judiciary is preparing itself for cases arising from the TRRC recommendations and public hearings related to enforced disappearances, torture, SGBV and abuse, through the development of guidance material on court proceedings, substantive legal issues and adjudication on the specialized circumstances for cases arising out of the TRRC.
The TRRC’s initial mandate of two-years is set to conclude in December 2020. Despite COVID19 disruptions, the Commission aims at concluding its investigations and hearings by November 2020. However, it is expected that an extension of its mandate to conclude its Final Report shall be duly sought by the Ministry of Justice from the President.