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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Jammeh victims vow to hold gov’t accountable if …

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By Omar Bah

The Jammeh2Justice campaign has vowed to hold the Gambia government accountable if it fails to prosecute former president Yahya Jammeh.

The J2J movement, led by Jammeh’s victims and supported by prominent international human lawyers including Reed Brody, hosted a two-day meeting in Banjul to discuss means and possibilities of prosecuting the Jammeh-era crimes. After the closed-door meeting, the movement organised a press conference to discuss the outcome. Responding to a question on whether the victims have complete trust in the government, daughter of the late Solo Sandeng, Fatoumatta Sandeng, said the victims appreciate the government’s commitment in its White Paper but will not take its word for it.

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“We will do everything to hold them to account if they fail to do what is right. There has to be justice by all means and we will work hard to make sure that it happens,” she said.

Madam Sandeng added: “It has been a big disappointment to victims that they are not respected and recognised by the government which promises a lot to them. Victims would have expected a lot more respect and recognition but we don’t have that. What we do and will continue to do is stand up and fight for justice to be recognised as victims.”

She said the victim community is not carried away by the government’s recent attempts to sever the relationship with victims.

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Ayesha Jammeh, whose father Haruna Jammeh and aunt were allegedly murdered by the former president, said: “There is lack of political will on the side of the government. I remember in 2018 we visited Ghana and we met their president and presented to him the new evidence we had about the murder of the West African migrants but he told us the Gambia government should reach out to Ghana to reopen an investigation into the matter.

When we returned, we met then vice president Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang and Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou and presented the evidence to them and the comments we received from the president of Ghana but we have not heard anything about it,” she said.

Madam Jammeh said the victims should celebrate government’s White Paper with caution because there is no guarantee that they will implement it, arguing that “if they were serious, one would have expected that they would start a conversation with Senegal and other countries around how to get Jammeh extradited for prosecution”. 

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