By Omar Bah
The Gambia government has published its White Paper on the TRRC and has accepted 263 out of the 265 TRRC recommendations, including prosecution of former president Yahya Jammeh and all the original junta members.
According to the TRRC, rights violations under Jammeh were “massive, appalling and diverse” including torture, extrajudicial killings, rape, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention.
The government said it has accepted the TRRC’s recommendations to prosecute Yahya Jammeh, Sana B Sabally, Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray for ordering the unlawful arrests, detention and torture of former PPP ministers Omar A Jallow, Modou MC Cham and others who were held at Fajara barracks after the July 22 1994 coup.
The government also accepted the commission’s recommendation for Sergeant Gomez (Hitler) and Kawsu Camara (Bombardier) to be banned from holding public office for being complicit in torturing and subjecting the PPP officials to inhumane and degrading punishment.
The government accepted the TRRC recommendation for Jammeh, Sanna Sabally, Edward Singhatey, Yankuba Touray, and senior military officers including Baboucarr Jatta, Peter Singhatey and Papu Gomez who participated in the November 11, 1994 tortures and extra-judicial killings of 11 men including Lt. Basiru Barrow, Abdoulie Dot Faal, Sergeant Fafa Nyang, Sergeant E. M. Ceesay amongst others to be prosecuted as appropriate for the crimes they committed.
The commission however noted that some of the perpetrators who testified may be eligible for amnesty.
The TRRC said where any of the above-mentioned persons is granted an amnesty or immunity from prosecution, the person shall be banned from taking up a position in government which the government accepted but noted that it will take all necessary steps to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable and victims provided with the appropriate support to heal.
The TRRC’s recommendation to ban Cpl Alhagie Kanyi, Pte Baboucarr Njie (Njie Ponkal), Pte John Charles B Mendy ( JCB Mendy), Pte Baboucarr Ahmad Njie (BA Njie), Pte Albert Gomez, Pte Lamarana Barry, Pte Ensa Mendy, Pte Jali Musa Suso, Pte Lamin Marong, Pte Mustapha Touray (Churro), Pte Lamin Colley, Pte Lamin (Pa Senghore) (Assasin) and Pte Baboucarr Mboob from holding public office for ten years for their direct participation in carrying out unlawful orders to commit one or more crimes of killing, torture, arbitrary arrests, and unlawful detention was also accepted.
On the late finance minister Koro Ceesay, the government accepted the TRRC’s recommendation for the prosecution of Jammeh, Edward Singhatey,Yankuba Touray and Peter Singhatey for their role in his premeditated murder and also subverting the course of justice by covering up their crime. “For low-level perpetrators such as Alhagie Kanyi, BK Jatta, Pa Alieu Gomez, the Commission notes that they may qualify for amnesty under the provisions of the Act,” the white paper said.
The government said it will work with the countries where those not here are residing for their extradition to The Gambia to face prosecution.
“Alternatively, where possible arrangements can be made for them to be prosecuted in the countries they reside in,” the government said.
The government also accepted the commission’s recommendation for the National Assembly to be given the power to initiate investigations into interference of the executive in the exercise of their constitutional powers.
The Government accepted the recommendation of the Commission to investigate and prosecute members of the presidential and junta vice chairman’s convoy, for road traffic offences committed resulting in deaths.
The government accepted the commission’s recommendation for Jammeh to be prosecuted for the unlawful detentions, tortures, assaults causing harm, and killings of the demonstrators by reason of the orders and instructions he had given; and failing to investigate and prosecute members of the security forces who committed the violation, and for seeking to seal them from responsibility via the Indemnity Act. It also accepted the TRRC recommendation for former Vice President Isatou Njie Saidy, Baboucarr Jatta, and Ousman Badjie be prosecuted and banned from holding public office for ten years for the arbitrary arrests, detentions, tortures, injuries, and killings of the demonstrators. The government also accepted the TRRC recommendation for Abdou Giri Njie to be prosecuted for his unlawful arrest, detention, torture, and unlawful shooting resulting in the deaths and injury of two students Sainey Nybally and Ousman Sabally. It also approved the commission’s recommendation for Corporal Lamin Camara to be removed from office if he is holding any position and ban for five years.
Attack on political opponents
The government further accepted the TRRC’s recommendation to prosecute Edward Singhatey and Yankuba Touray for the torture and inhumane treatment of the UDP supporters at the Denton Bridge in September 1996 and for administrative and internal disciplinary measures be taken against Superintendent Almami Manga for unlawfully detaining an infant and her
mother without a court or other lawful order.
Attack on the media
The government accepted to the truth commission recommendation for former president Jammeh to be investigated and prosecuted for the murder of Deyda Hydara, the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh, the arson attacks on Radio 1 FM and The Independent newspaper and torture of all journalists and other persons mentioned in relation to the Freedom Online Newspaper issue.
The government also accepted to prosecute Jammeh for the unlawful arrest, detention and torturing of Ba-Kawsu Fofana, Imam Baba Leigh, Sheikh Muhideen Hydara and Alhaiba Hydara and the persecution of the Ahmadiya Jama’at, Shia Muslims and the Ndiggal Sect in The Gambia.
It also accepted to prosecute Jammeh for the crimes committed by the Junglers and impose a life-ban on him from holding public office and prosecute all the Junglers and other persons listed for their complicity in crimes referred to in this report subject to the grant of amnesty that the Amnesty Committee may recommend.
The government also accepted to prosecute Jammeh for the rape of Fatou Jallow (Toufa) and protected witness DB18 and for ordering the Junglers to rape FB17 and for his role in other forms of SGBV. It also accepts the recommendation of the Commission to prosecute Ousman Sonko for the rape of Binta Jamba, 15-year-old girl in Lamin Daranka and Protected Witness F and the harassment of 5 female prison officers of The Gambia Prison Services. It also committed to prosecute Gen Solo Bojang and Captain Saihou Jallow for their roles as superior officers in directing and supervising the witch hunting exercise during which SGBV occurred. It also commited to prosecute Foday Barry, Baba Saho, Kawsu Camara (Bombardier), Alagie Martin, Solo Bojang and Sheikh Omar Jeng for the multiple crimes they committed including the sexualized tortures they carried out.
The government also accepted the commission’s recommendation not to prosecute Yankuba Colley, Lang Tombong Tamba and Momodou Hydara for the violations under this theme as they did not appear to have control over the events that were happening at the NIA in March 2006, but ban David Colley from taking up a government appointed position for 5 years for his roles investigated under the same theme.
The government accepted the commission’s recommendation to prosecute Jammeh, Solo Bojang and Saikou Jallow for the murder, manslaughter of forty-one individuals (Jamburr (18), Sintet (13), Makumbuya (2), and Essau (8) who died as a result of being targeted and forced to drink toxic concoctions which resulted in all the deaths. It also accepted to prosecute Jammeh, Solo Bojang, Ensa Badjie, Tambajiro, Saikou Jallow, Omar Jawo for the inhumane and degrading treatment and torture inflicted on the victims during the witch hunting exercise.
The government also accepted the recommendation of the Commission concerning the prosecution of Jammeh and Junglers for the unlawful disappearances and killings. It agreed to set up a task force to inquire and investigate the fate and whereabouts of persons who remain missing and the whereabouts of those who have been found to be killed but their whereabouts still remain unknown and other persons who are missing but have not been reported to the Commission.