By Omar Bah
The chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Emmanuel Joof, has warned that non-execution of the TRRC recommendations could be a recipe for impunity which will defeat the purpose of the ‘Never Again’ slogan.
Addressing an NHRC sanctioned stakeholders conference on the “next steps” in motoring TRRC recommendations, Chairman Joof said: “The prolonged and unaddressed grievances of victims may be detrimental to peace and stability. Usually, when people believe there is redress, they can wait patiently but the drivers of conflicts everywhere are when people feel that the process is useless or they will not have justice, then they start agitating,” he said.
Joof added that ending any impunity that emanated from the Jammeh regime required determined and sustained efforts from the highest level.
“And I think the government will listen to these concerns to guide them in whatever decision they are going to make,” he said.
Joof said the NHRC is committed to continue supporting the government in fulfilling its human rights obligations with regard to the implementation of the TRRC recommendations.
“It is against this background that the NHRC organised this stakeholders conference in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and key stakeholders to discuss the implementation and monitoring of the TRRC recommendations,” Joof said.
He said the TRRC has recommended for the NHRC to be responsible for monitoring the implementation of its recommendations and reporting annually to the National Assembly.
The president of the Gambia Bar Association, Salieu Taal, said all hands should be on deck to ensure the full implementation of the TRRC recommendations.
“Without justice we cannot have meaningful reconciliation and we must never confuse reconciliation with justice. We must remember that at the centre of justice and reconciliation is ensuring that those who bear the greatest responsibility for those atrocities are held accountable,” Taal added.
Solicitor-General Hussein Thomasi said the government is diligently studying the TRRC report and is committed to release its white paper within the scheduled time.
“As a government, we will ensure that the ‘Never Again’ slogan is entrenched,” he said.
He said the government in collaboration with partner institutions and agencies, will work on the recommendations and come up with proposals and roadmap for its implementation.
A representative of the OHCHR West Africa Office, Andrea Ori, said The Gambia is at “a very critical juncture” and successful implementation of the TRRC recommendations will provide relief and closure to victims and families.
He said his institution will continue supporting the transitional justice process to ensure that the recommendations are fully implemented.