By Alagie Manneh
After several failed attempts, the TRRC has finally submitted its final report to President Adama Barrow at State House yesterday.
The submission of the 17-volume report was delayed twice in July and in September.
The TRRC Act 2017 provides that “the commission shall submit a report of its work to the president at the end of its operations.”
The Act also provides that the commission shall identify and recommend for “prosecution persons who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations and abuses”.
“Acting in accordance with this provision, the commission has in its report identified and recommended the prosecution of those most responsible for gross human rights violations and abuses committed against Gambians and non-Gambians alike between July 1994 and January 2017,” the TRRC chairman Lamin Sise told journalists at the press briefing just after he submitted the report to President Barrow.
He said the names of those individuals recommended for prosecution have not been placed in a sealed envelope but mentioned expressly in relevant sections of the report.
He said the 17-volume report submitted to President Barrow contained:
· Compendium of findings and recommendations
· Soldiers with a difference
· November 11, 1994 attempted coup
· The unlawful killing of Ousman Koro Ceesay
· Attack on religious freedoms
· Attack on road users
· April 10th and 11th 2000, student demonstrations.
· Attack on the media and freedom of expression
· Attack on political opponents
· The junglers: unlawful killings, tortures and other human rights violations
· The president’s alternative treatment programme
· Sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and castration
· 2009 witch-hunt exercise
· The killing of the West African migrants
· Enforced disappearances
· Institutional hearings: National Intelligence Agency
· Institutional hearings: The Gambia Prisons Services
· Institutional hearings: Justice sector entities
· Reparations and reconciliation
· Annexes to the TRRC final report
Chairman Sise said the flagship volume of the final report is the Compendium which contains all the findings and recommendations as well as suggestions concerning prosecution of individuals should the government accept to do so with regard to persons found to bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations.
He said the commission outlined at least 427 findings and 218 recommendations.
He said the recommendations are:
1. Prosecution of persons who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations and abuses.
2. Further investigation of allegations concerning persons who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations and abuses with a view to prosecuting them, if necessary.
3. Banning of individuals from public service
4. Repeal of draconian laws and decrees still in the law books.
5. Legal and institutional reforms
6. Training and capacity building of security and other personnel.
The commission also indicated that the D50 million advanced to the TRRC by the government for reparations is still being distributed to the victims. “As at 24 November 2021, 671 have received reparations. The commission has also reported community reconciliation events have taken place in Sey Kunda and Jambur, as well as inter-personal reconciliations conducted at the request of individuals concerned at the TRRC premises,” Sise said.
He submitted that the violations and abuses of human rights that the National Assembly mandated them to investigate were, from the testimonies of witnesses, “so calculated and wicked that The Gambia, to paraphrase the words of Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg Trials in November, 1945, cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated.
The Gambia cannot through ‘maslaha’ or letting ‘dinding katatolu’ to do what they want, ignore the gross violations and abuses perpetrated by the Jammeh regime.”
He said to “forgive and forget” with impunity violations and abuses narrated by the witnesses to the commission could not only undermine reconciliation but also “constitute a massive and egregious cover-up of the crimes committed. Not addressing these crimes could threaten, in the long term, the stability of our country and society. The individuals involved in perpetrating the violations and abuses must be held accountable for their crimes.”