By Omar Bah
The Minister of Justice has disclosed that the government is putting in place appropriate mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of crimes under former president Yahya Jammeh.
Addressing a regional conference on the domestication of atrocity prevention norms at the state level, Dawda Jallow whose statement was read by the Solicitor General, said: “Considerations are currently underway with regard to the appropriate mechanism to deploy for the prosecution of crimes that have occurred given that most of the offences disclosed are not known under our criminal law”.
The conference, which is currently underway at the Senegambia hotel, is organised by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in partnership with the Government of Denmark.
AG Jallow said his ministry will look forward to the recommendations from the regional conference.
“As far as Africa is concerned, the international criminal court is to date the only functional mechanism to try international crimes. However,
the trial of Hissene Habre has strengthened the case for a regional court in Africa to deal with international crimes,” the Minister said.
“Domestic prosecution of international crimes is quite complex. Effective prosecution at the domestic level requires qualified investigators and prosecutors as well as judges and most significantly an appropriate tribunal for the conduct of such prosecutions,” he said.
Seeing Ka, a representative from Ecowas said the humanitarian situation in the region continues to look bleak, as the perennial conflicts in the region, including insurgencies, the persistent threat of terrorism in the “front-line” countries, continue to worsen.
“In addition, poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, diminishing natural resources triggered by climate change effects and recurrent natural disasters such as the floods experienced in 2020 are factors fostering vulnerability and putting millions of people at risk in the region,” Ka said.
The Danish ambassador to Ghana, Tom Norring, said The Gambia has set new standards by bringing the atrocities committed by the military in Myanmar before the ICC.
“While this ICJ case for technical reasons is limited to the crime of genocide and to one specific victim group (that of the Rohingya), the lawsuit sends an important message about accountability,” he said.
The commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peace training centre, Major General Francis Ofori, said: “The Kofi Annan Centre continues to push the frontiers of prevention through our empirical research, and capacity building of all actors including military, police, the judiciary, legislature and all key civil society stakeholders to better appreciate and apply the principles of the R2P norm”.
“Although your first responsibility is to prevent atrocities in your states, collectively we need to coordinate efforts of all states to make a difference to protect lives,” he said.
Based in Ghana, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre provides training and research in peacekeeping and peace operations.