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Essa Faal urges gov’t to do more with TRRC recommendations

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Former lead counsel of The Gambia’s truth commission, Essa Faal, has urged the government do to more with the TRRC recommendations.

Mr Faal was reacting to the recent conviction in Switzerland of former interior minister Ousman Sonko.

In a statement published on his Facebook page, Mr Faal said:

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“Fellow Gambians, today another important chip in the brutal regime of 1994-2016 has fallen-Ousman Sonko has been convicted by a Swiss court and sentenced to 20 years in prison. This is the third operative of that brutal regime to be convicted of very serious crimes they have committed against innocent and powerless Gambians. Two of these convictions-Bai Lowe and Ousman Sonko occurred in Europe and unfortunately only one-Yankuba Touray occurred in The Gambia. On this historic occasion, I congratulate all the staff and commissioners of the TRRC for their stellar work in unearthing the violations that formed the basis of these charges and convictions. I also congratulate the victim groups for their roles in securing the accountability process in these cases. But there is still much work to be done.

During my closing remarks at the TRRC, I stated that the wheels of justice for the atrocity crimes committed in our country have started moving. Accountability must happen as the train of justice has left the station. If Gambia does not prosecute there are other states or institutions out there which would prosecute including the ICC. Now we see that in slow motion in the international sphere. But we need to see progress domestically. While I recognize that the government has taken critical positive steps towards accountability by presenting the necessary enabling legal framework bills to the National Assembly, the process is too slow. One wonders whether there is political will to bring the architects and major perpetrators to justice.

The government of The Gambia must do more. It must implement fully all the recommendations of the TRRC and must also establish an effective mechanism for accountability/prosecution. The dillydallying and feet dragging must stop at least to show respect for the victims and to honour the pledge to and aspirations of the Gambian people.

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We still have hope.”

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