By Mustapha Darboe
People who are accused of committing crimes under President Yahya Jammeh will be held accountable, Interior minister Mai Ahmed Fatty assured the families of victims of the Jammeh regime recently.
The minister was addressing the families of the victims and activists who converged at Kairaba Beach Hotel for a symposium.
“There will be transitional justice but there are incredulous offences that will go to court. At the Ministry of Interior, we believe transitional justice is important but judicial justice where people are tried and put behind bars for good is also key and something we cannot forget about,” Minister Fatty said.
“We will continue to investigate, notwithstanding the transitional justice programme… we will continue to investigate mass graves and we will continue our forensic examinations and we will need your support.”
Minister Fatty said they have not stopped investigations but they have halted exhuming people because of the inadequate forensic experts and equipment to protect the integrity of the evidences.
He said it is in that light that they have “just signed an agreement in order to create a forensic centre in this country at no cost to Gambia government”.
“I want to tell you something, for those who are looking for justice, there will be one,” he assured.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Kijera, a senior member of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, an institution that was recently established to ensure justice for Jammeh’s victims, said July 22 marked a “dark page in the history of Gambia”.
“The Centre for Victims has begun the campaign for justice, and it is in our resolve to see to it that the government provide justice for the victims of Jammeh,” Kijera told the gathering.
The evening symposium was chaired by a former minister under Jammeh, Dr. Scattred Janneh, who was convicted of treason and jailed for 15 months for distributing T-shirts saying, ‘Coalition for change, Gambia end dictatorship now’.
“It is important for the victims to be heard so that we can know from their side what needs to be done,” Dr Janneh said.
The symposium was supported by DUGA and Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations.
A documentary titled “pain of a people” which conveyed the tales of disappearances, murder and protracted detentions under Jammeh was played while a five-member panel discussed the way forward.