By Omar Bah
The United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances supports prosecution of crimes committed under former president Yahya Jammeh. The group also demands a new international inquiry into the 2005 massacre of more than 50 West African migrants.
The chairman of the Center for Victims of Human Violations, Sheriff Kijera said the UN body’s decision to support prosecutions for crimes under Jammeh few hours after President Barrow visited Kanilai is a welcome move and clear manifestation that impunity will not strive.
“The process must go beyond truth-telling and perpetrators must be brought to justice,” the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) said in its report.
Kijera said the UN body’s commitment has once again demonstrated that Jammeh will not evade justice and that his immunity doesn’t rest in the hands of President Barrow or any future Gambian president.
The report underlines the importance of the work of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), as well as the need to prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed under Jammeh.
The UN body makes concrete recommendations for next steps, such as the conduct of criminal investigations into the grave human rights violations, notably enforced disappearances, that were uncovered during the TRRC sessions, and the establishment of specialized hybrid courts to try those alleged responsible for these violations.
The WGEID specifically looks at the 2005 massacre of more than 50 West African migrants. “Given the confirmation of the involvement of the Gambian state in the killings and enforced disappearances of West African Migrants in July 2005 at the TRRC hearings, the WGEID supports the call “for the establishment of an international investigative team on the matter “
“We welcome the UN’s call for the establishment of an international investigative team on the disappeared migrants,” said Emeline Escafit, legal advisor for TRIAL International.
A coalition of 11 human rights organizations had called for such a new investigation in July 2020.
“This is a strong signal that the international community is concerned about accountability for serious crimes in The Gambia,” Kijera added.