By Tabora Bojang
Stakeholders have started the validation of the “Special Accountability Mechanisms Bill and the Special Prosecutors Office Bill” which would provide legal frameworks to operationalise the prosecution of Jammeh era crimes and ensure justice is served “comprehensively and fairly.”
Attorney General Dawda Jallow said this approach necessitates the establishment of a Special Prosecutor’s Office, a Hybrid Tribunal, and the Special Criminal Division to prosecute offenses that can be can be addressed domestically and to address those offenses of an international nature under international law.
He assured victims who were among stakeholders on Monday that the government is tirelessly working towards prosecuting persons who bear the greatest responsibility for the human rights violations that occurred under former exiled president Jammeh from 1994 to 2016.
“We are committed to ensuring that the voices of the people are heard, and the victims are at the centre of our efforts, and that justice is served without bias or discrimination. This commitment stems directly from the political will of the government, and it is a commitment that we will uphold without compromise,” the minister warned.
“The truth is that our journey towards accountability and justice is not an isolated endeavour. It is an essential part of our nation’s healing process. We aim to create an environment where Gambians can trust in the rule of law, in the government, and in the institutions that are meant to protect their rights” he added.
He informed stakeholders that the Barrow government recognises that achieving justice and accountability is a complex and multifaceted task that involves not only prosecution but also reconciliation, healing, and the restoration of trust in our institutions.
“Our intention is to leave a lasting impact on the Gambia’s justice system. We understand that this process goes beyond a set of legal documents; it is about reshaping our society, instilling a sense of justice and accountability in every aspect of our lives. It is about making sure that the painful legacy of the past does not repeat itself, and that future generations can live in a society where their rights and freedoms are respected. We have established mechanisms for reparations and support for victims. We understand that justice is not complete until the victims have the opportunity to heal and rebuild their lives. Our goal is not only about holding perpetrators accountable but also about making victims whole again,” he said.
He disclosed that the government has secured partnership of Ecowas in the establishment of the special accountability mechanism/hybrid tribunal that will deal with cases entailing international dimension.
The minister also acknowledged that the journey towards justice and accountability has been challenging and long, and that the victims and their families have demonstrated extraordinary patience.
“Their resilience is a testament of the unwavering spirit of the people of The Gambia, and it is our promise to them that we will see this process through to the end. This patience, this determination is a source of inspiration for us all. We understand the urgency and the need to act swiftly while ensuring that justice is served comprehensively and fairly. This approach allows us to strike a balance, making sure that no one is above the law and justice is accessible to all,” he told the gathering.