By Omar Bah
In recent months, there has been growing concern that President Adama Barrow’s administration may half-heartedly implement the recommendations of the truth commission just like it happened with the Janneh Commission.
The Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violation has even gone to the extent of writing to the United Nations and the International Community, warning them of the possibility of the Barrow administration failing to implement the TRRC recommendations.
But in an interview with Africell Wahtan Bi Show, the Commission’s lead counsel, Essa Faal said TRRC has already registered success in terms of meeting its mandate of unearthing the human rights violations perpetrated under Yahya Jammeh.
“The TRRC is successful already because what is more important is what has happened here. The motive behind having a TRRC was to know what had happened and as we speak, I don’t think there is anybody in this country who doesn’t know what had happened. So that alone is a big victory because all over the world, wherever you go today, they are saying the Gambia’s TRRC is unique,” he said.
But Faal said despite the positive things registered so far, they would want the government to consider their recommendations.
He said the TRRC has a mandate that ends when they submit their report.
“The government will then see whether the work we have done is good or not. What the government will do next – no one can tell, but the people own their government and so if the government does what they feel like doing, then the people can decide whether they are happy with what the government did or not. But we are hopeful that the government will do what is right,” he said.
Commenting on the highly debated immunity status given to the junta members in the 1997 constitution, Faal said the much talked about immunity “is not that very strong to stop perpetrators from being prosecuted. But there is something that is even more to it, which is if the commission concluded that what happens here amounts to crimes against humanity, then even if the perpetrators are immune under the 1997 constitution the world will pursue them and get them prosecuted.”
Asked what next for him after the TRRC, Faal said: “I see myself working for Gambia and for the Gambian people. There is no greater calling than serving your people. In what capacity? I really don’t know. But to be quite honest it really doesn’t matter. The important thing is being there and having the opportunity to serve the people.”