By Mustapha K Darboe
Reed Brody, the celebrated American lawyer and hunter of murderous despots, who spent the last 15 years working with victims of the former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, presently in the Gambia to help victims of former President Yahya Jammeh build their case, has said there are now more clarity and possible substantial evidence against the former Gambian dictator.
“There is strong and emerging trend that a substantial amount of evidence already exists and the evidence keeps coming out every day. Let’s say the case today is stronger than it would have been six months ago,” he told The Standard.
Reed, who has met with Jammeh’s victims several times since the regime change, was in Banjul Monday morning to attend the trial of the nine former intelligence operatives under the autocratic ruler who are standing trial for the alleged murder of an opposition activist, Solo Sandeng.
“There are a lot of victims who are coming forward, many of them for the first time, to describe their suffering and what happened to them. And that is one part. The other part of the story is building a case to show that these crimes were the responsibility of Yahya Jammeh and that requires a different kind of evidence that he was personally involved either giving orders or covering it up,” he told The Standard.
He added: “So we know a lot more today about Jammeh’s alleged crimes than we did in January when he left the country and I am sure we will know a lot more a year from now than we do today.”
However, Reed said given the work needed to be done in The Gambia, building a successful case against Jammeh will take time.
“That is the thing, you need to prove that either Jammeh gave orders for these crimes to be committed or that he was responsible. Or as a commander that he knew the crimes were being committed and he did not intervene to prevent them from happening or to punish their authors,” he said, adding that this is called command responsibility. “We have looked at the Gambian law and obviously the country does not have a law on torture, crimes against humanity but a lot of what Jammeh did can fit within traditional criminal law such as murder, battering and things like that.”