Gambia truth commission starts to address Jammeh-era rights abuses

A truth and reconciliation commission has begun to investigate alleged rights abuses during the 22-year-long rule of Yahya Jammeh. Authorities have vowed to shed light on extrajudicial killings, torture and other abuses.


A truth commission in Gambia has begun investigating alleged rights abuses committed during the 22-year regime of Yahya Jammeh.

Modelled on South Africa’s investigation into the apartheid era, The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) aims to shed light on extrajudicial killings, torture, forced disappearances and other alleged abuses during the Jammeh regime. It’s expected to last two years.

The initial proceedings of the commission plan to hear testimony from witnesses and victims of the 1994 coup that brought Jammeh to power in the tiny West African country.

“Today is the day, and we want to hear from every single witness and victim,” said Baba Jallow, TRRC executive secretary and a former journalist who was forced into exile in 2000.

Uncovering abuses

Amnesty International said Monday the start of the hearings “is an important initial step toward securing justice, truth and reparations in Gambia and shows a strong commitment by the government to break with a past of systematic human rights violations.”

“We hope that the testimonies and the information collected during these hearings will enable the truth to be known and made public and contribute to a renewed commitment to justice and accountability for all those Gambians that have been victims of human rights violations for more than 22 years,” the rights group said.

The 11-member commission is authorised to advise prosecution of perpetrators and recommend financial compensation to victims.

Truth and reconciliation commissions were popularised by South Africa’s post-apartheid experience in the 1990s. Proponents say they allow abuses to be uncovered and countries to move on from trauma.

But critics say crimes are often dealt with too leniently, and say the commissions may be used to go after political opponents. — Deutsche Welle

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Deutsche Welle 1
Guest Author
Advertisting

‘Frustrated’ police resort to force

Regulation uncertainty leaves slap-happy police and soldiers to decide when people should or shouldn’t be allowed on the streets

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders