A new entrant to Gambian politics will be unveiled this evening (5-PM) at the American International University in Kanifing, just by the GRA office. He is Essa Mbye Faal, a prominent international lawyer who until this week was the lead counsel at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, TRRC.
According to sources close to his campaign, Mr Faal whose slogan is ‘Turn Around’ would make a declaration speech on his bid for the presidency after which he would have a continuous conversation with the moderator of the event Harona Drammeh, the CEO of Paradise TV and Radio. This would be followed by a question-and-answer session between Mr Faal and other media representatives present. Media groups wishing to broadcast the event live could get feeds from Paradise TV.
Who is Essa Mbye Faal?
Mr. Essa M. Faal was born on the 13th March 1966 in Banjul. He has extensive knowledge and experience in international criminal law and international human rights law. He started his legal career as a State Counsel at the Ministry of Justice in The Gambia in 1994 and during this period he served as Counsel to the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of Public Corporations. At the end of 1997, he was appointed as First Secretary and later promoted to Counselor for Legal Affairs at the Gambia Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York to help the Gambia’s team at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In January 2000, Mr. Faal was appointed by the United Nations as a Judicial Affairs Officer and deployed to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor. In that capacity, he contributed significantly in the reorganization and re-establishment of the justice sector in East Timor. In 2002 Mr. Faal was promoted to the post of Acting Deputy General Prosecutor for Serious Crimes and later moved to the post of Chief of Prosecutions. In January 2005, Mr Faal joined the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) based in Rome where he, among other things, designed, supervised and directed the implementation of good governance and justice sector reform programmes for developing countries around the world. In January 2006, Mr. Faal was appointed by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to head the complex investigations into the Darfur situation in which 300,000 black Africans were allegedly killed. He successfully led the investigations that culminated in the indictment of, and the issuance of warrants of arrest against senior members of the Sudanese Government for the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity at the time. Soon thereafter, Mr Faal was appointed to the position of Senior Trial Lawyer/Lead Prosecuting Counsel for the Darfur cases.
Between March 2011 and September 2016, Mr Faal successfully served as Co- Lead Defence Counsel in the ICC cases of the Prosecutor vs. Francis Kirimi Muthaura (ex-Secretary General of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (President of Kenya), Mr. William Ruto (Deputy President of Kenya), and General Muhammed Hussein Ali (ex-Chief of Police of Kenya). Currently, Mr Faal serves as Counsel for Charles Ghankay Taylor (former President of Liberia) before the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone and also Counsel for Saif Al Islam Gaddafi at the ICC. He is also Counsel for victims in the Darfur cases and victims for extra judicial killings in the Philippines before the ICC.
In September 2018 soon after the establishment of the Gambia truth commission, Essa Faal was appointed lead counsel, a job he just completed after three years of probing and bringing to light, the true extent of the 22- year reign of terror of former president Yahya Jammeh.