By Omar Bah
The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations has warned President Adama Barrow against forming a coalition with the APRC to the detriment of the victims.
“We want to warn President Barrow to be very careful in the way he is dealing with APRC with regard to the victims of this country who have suffered 22 years of gruesome arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions that were committed by Yahya Jammeh,” Sheriff Kijera, the chairman, told The Standard.
Kijera said the victims are particularly concerned about the fact that Jammeh and the APRC have not shown any remorse or empathy.
“Having our president who we expect to wipe our tears dining with the APRC in the same table will hurt. So he should be very careful because he has the Gambian people to face and his future is at stake. I have to warn him again that there is always life after presidency and what befell Jammeh could befall him, if he is not careful,” Kijera said.
He said the president should be aware that he will be held accountable for whatever action he takes today.
“Barrow has to be careful with the way he treats Gambians. I am sure that the Gambian people will not sit and see that the TRRC recommendations are not implemented. But whatever happens from here to December is going to be interesting,” he charged.
The victims centre has previously written to the UN and the larger international community warning them to beware of a potential APRC and NPP alliance, which may include freeing Jammeh’s assets, evasion of prosecution and allowing him to return home.
Kijera said during a recent visit to Senegal, the victims centre met several human rights organisations and host of foreign embassies to garner support for Jammeh’s prosecution.
“We are going to sign an MoU with the Senegalese human rights groups to work closely with them in putting in place advocacy strategies to make sure that the TRRC recommendations are fully implemented by the government. These organisations have a stake in this because three Senegalese were part of the West African migrants that were brutally massacred by Jammeh’s hit squad in 2005,” he said.
Kijera added: “We have also met Amnesty International, Article 19, the Canadian, Swiss, German and French embassies and discussed with them issues regarding the implementation of the TRRC recommendations. We will continue to mobilise the international community to ensure Jammeh and all those who bear the greatest responsibility are brought to justice.”
The victims centre chairman also applauded Yankuba Touray’s sentencing, saying the conviction is “one that restores confidence in the country’s justice system and reaffirms our commitment and reassures the victims that justice will be served”.
“His conviction also sends a big signal to Yahya Jammeh, Edward Singhatey, Peter Singhatey and those that bear the greatest responsibility in atrocities committed during the APRC era of terror that there is no safe haven anywhere in the world for crimes against humanity,” he said.
“It also sends a very strong message to Jammeh’s fanatics and sycophants that continue to be in denial that the long arm of justice will catch up with them and that at the end of the day, they will see Jammeh in court,” he said.