TRRC hearings set for January 7


By Baba Sillah The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission, the body set up to investigate the atrocities, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations committed under the exiled former president Yahya Jammeh on Monday engaged the media and the public about the preparations ahead of the public hearings scheduled for 7 January. The communications specialist at the commission Essa Jallow explained the arrangement put in place for the media. Mr Jallow said there is a very limited place to accommodate the general public and the media as well. “If a journalist is late and wants to cover proceedings and the space provided is full, then he/she will use the public gallery,” Mr Jallow said. He further revealed that the commission had hired a media partner that will record the entire proceedings of the hearings and therefore no journalist is allowed to take videos, record or take pictures during and after the hearings. “Journalists are only allowed to use their notepad to cover proceedings of the commission but they are free to approach the Communication Unit for more information such as videos, audio and pictures,” Mr Jallow explained. Mr Essa Faal, the lead counsel revealed that the hearing would be in a chronological order and there are already witnesses lined up for the hearings starting from July 1994 when the military junta took over. Mr Faal cautioned journalists to be responsible in their work, stressing that the commission may sometimes issue orders for the restriction of certain information when the need arises. Barrister Faal appealed to the media to protect the identity, safety and security of witnesses that may not want to disclose their identity. He went on: “There would be victims/perpetrators hearings, institutional hearings and thematic hearings respectively. The commission has no mandate to grant amnesty but could make recommendation for such person or persons to be granted amnesty upon application after meeting certain conditions.” Other speakers included the deputy chairperson of the commission, Mrs Adelaide Sosseh and Ebou Waggeh head of video documentation and processing who assured the media of their support and cooperation during the entire proceedings.]]>