The call has been echoed and reechoed from different quarters of the country for the ex-president to be extradited. From government circles to civil society organizations to ordinary citizens, many are claiming that the ex-president should be extradited to come and face charges of human rights violations. Jammeh’s regime, which fell in December 2016, has been widely accused of human rights violations.
Since the departure of the former president, victims of the regime have been agitating for the new government to take measures to seek the extradition of Yahya Jammeh so that he can be prosecuted. Many see this as the only way victims can get justice so that they can move on with their lives.
It is true that in such situations, it is always difficult to get the host government to agree to extradite the individual in order for him to face justice. The case of Hissène Habré- former Chadian dictator – is a case in point. It took the international community close to three decades to bring him to book even though he was residing in a democratic country like Senegal.
The case of the Gambia therefore is a little more complex, but not hopeless. The former president chose to go to Equatorial Guinea where there is arguably the world’s most brutal and autocratic leader, President Theodore Obiang. It is feared that that dictator will do any and everything to shield the former Gambian dictator; perhaps thinking of his own future.
But, times have changed and dictators are finding it harder and harder to have safe havens anywhere in the world. In Equatorial Guinea itself, human rights activists and civil society organizations have started agitating for Mr Obiang to step down. As the voices grow louder therefore – both from within and without the Gambia – the hope of extraditing Yahya Jammeh is growing. It seems the government of the Gambia has also started thinking of ways and means of getting him here to face trial.
Fingers crossed therefore, as efforts gain momentum to extradite the man who has allegedly brought untold suffering to hundreds, if not thousands, of Gambians.