By Lamin Cham
The Attorney General, Dawda Jallow has revealed that the much-expected Victims Compensation Bill, planned to be brought to this current session of the National Assembly, is not yet ready.
In July, the Attorney General said government is drafting a bill that would pave way for the establishment of an independent body that will manage compensation funds from the national budget and donations and grants from partners. He said this body will be in charge of the process of paying compensation to the victims of human rights violations under the Jammeh regime. This followed wide spread dissatisfaction among the victims about the pittance the TRRC announced as reparations to the various categories of victims who have called on the government to take over the reparations process with seriousness and urgency.
However, when contacted Saturday, the Justice Minister said the bill cannot make it to this current session because the consultative processes are yet to be completed. ”The plan is that the entire process should be led by the victims and there should be adequate consultations with them as well as the international development partners. I already met and received commitment from the development partners and once these and other consultations are completed, the bill will be brought to assembly. Remember the assembly may be on their last quarter in the legislative year but they are not dissolved until after the presidential election and they could be called back for extra-ordinary session when a bill is given an emergency certificate of urgency. So we are prioritising and expediting the drafting process. If it was just a normal government bill, I would have done that single-handedly here but this one must involve all stakeholders to get all their inputs,” he said.