By Omar Bah
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice has informed the National Assembly that the government has established an entity to give victims of former president Yahya Jammeh, who could not testify at the TRRC, the opportunity to prove their victimhood to be qualified for compensation.
The government has allocated about D75 million for victim compensation in the 2023 budget.
Responding to a parliamentary question on the stage of implementation of the TRRC recommendations on legal, political and institutional reforms, Justice Minister Dawda Jallow said the new entity set up by the government is part of legislation to be presented to the National Assembly very soon.
“We will give that new entity the mandate to be able to continue to receive petitions or applications from individuals who want to be recognised as victims,” Minister Jallow said.
According to him, the government recognises that “not all the victims showed up at the TRRC”.
“The TRRC is not our only yardstick to measure who is a victim or not. So, this independent entity will continue to receive applications from people who believe they are victims and if they are assessed objectively and proven to have met the requirements of being considered victims, of course yes, they would be included in the reparations,” he added.
AG Jallow said that is why the government doesn’t perceive the reparations as “a one-off thing, it is an ongoing process.”
Minister Jallow also informed the NAMs that all those the TRRC recommended to be banned from public office had been sent home.
Commenting on the implementation of the Janneh Commission’s recommendations, AG Jallow said the cabinet has set up a ministerial subcommittee to implement the Janneh Commission recommendations and one of the mandates of the committee is to receive third party claims.
“These properties were identified to have belonged to Jammeh or his associates by the Janneh Commission. But there are some private individuals who said no, actually this might not be Jammeh’s properties because he forces them to sell them to him and now that there is democracy their properties should be returned.
“So, we are faced with all sort of claims but there is a Cabinet Committee which I chair that looks into those claims and we deal with them on a case-by-case basis and those we believe merit return sometime we return it to them and ask them to only return the amount of money purportedly paid or some instances if it is a community the government will either return it to them or the ministry of lands to use it for public purpose,” he stated.