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By Tabora Bojang

Officials of the splinter group of the former president Yahya Jammeh’s APRC party have  condemned moves to prosecute the former president for human rights violations during his regime.

Last month, the National Assembly passed the Special Accountability Mechanism and Special Prosecutors bills paving way for Jammeh’s prosecution as recommended by the truth commission, TRRC.

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Addressing news conference in Lamin yesterday, Yaya Tamba argued that the agreement signed between various international bodies and Jammeh as well as the 1997 Constitution would be violated by such a move. 

“The joint declaration by Ecowas, AU, and UN clearly spelt out why Jammeh cannot by any means be prosecuted by any court of law as it is binding on both parties,” Mr Tamba argued.

He said this declaration committed all these international partners to work with the Barrow government to ensure that it “assures and ensures” the “dignity, respect, security and rights” of Yahya Jammeh as a citizen and former president as provided for and guaranteed in the 1997 Constitution and other laws of The Gambia.

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He further argued that it made provisions against any recriminations against Jammeh as well as guaranteed his liberty to return any time he wishes, in addition to protecting his lawful properties.

“In fact, according to this declaration, the AU, UN and Ecowas will work to ensure that the host country [Equatorial Guinea] that offers hospitality to Jammeh does not become undue targets of harassment, intimidation and all other pressures and sanctions. So, we want to set the record straight, the government’s decision to prosecute Jammeh is unlawful and unconstitutional and inconsistent with the provisions of the agreement. 

Furthermore, there are legal provisions in the 1997 Constitution that protect any president after leaving office not to be prosecuted by either a civil or criminal court on any functions he or she has executed during his or her tenure of office.  We therefore call on the government to drop their malicious campaign against Jammeh knowing full well that the declaration is binding,” Tamba said.

He claimed that the Jammeh loyalists consider the TRRC to be based on “vengeance and hate” towards the former president.

“Let Gambians therefore be aware of the declaration signed between Jammeh, the coalition government, Ecowas, AU and UN stands and it must be respected and implemented. We equally call on the Gambia government to focus more on how to address rampant corruption which is presently at 87 percent and avoid public funds earmarked for development being looted in daylight because corruption itself is a violation of human rights,” he said.

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