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Gov’t tables 2 bills to prosecute Jammeh-era crimes

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By Tabora Bojang

The Gambia government has yesterday tabled two bills expected to pave way for the prosecution of crimes committed during the Yahya Jammeh regime.  They are the Special Accountability Mechanism (TRRC) Bill and the Special Prosecutors Office Bill. The two bills are intended to provide frameworks and guiding principles for the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for serious human rights violations including former president Yahya Jammeh as recommended by the truth commission, TRRC.

The two bills will ensure the establishment of a special prosecutor’s office and an internationalised special tribunal that will focus on prosecuting crimes with international dimension.

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The special prosecutor’s office will be headed by a special prosecutor and will have the power to determine which cases to bring before the internationalised Special Tribunal or before the Special Criminal Division of the High Court which will prosecute crimes under Gambian law.

The Special Prosecutor will be appointed by the president on the recommendation of a selection panel and he or she shall be an individual of high moral character, impartiality and integrity, highly competent in and possessing extensive practical experience in the prosecution of domestic and international criminal cases.

His or her office will also have the mandate to take custody of all materials, data and information gathered, received and produced by the TRRC.

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The Special Tribunal will be established by an international treaty signed between Gambia and Ecowas or another suitable regional or international organisation. 

The Tribunal will have jurisdiction over international and domestic crimes and the power to adopt its own rules of procedure and evidence to reflect international precedent and best practice.

The Special Tribunal will comprise Trial and Appeal Chambers and will have its seat in The Gambia but may hold hearings outside the country if need be.

The bills were tabled by the Minister of Justice Dawda Jallow and brought to assembly with a seal of urgency and therefore expected to be passed on the very day.

The bills received wide spread support from the NAMs with only two not in support.

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