“The Swiss prosecutors are wrapping up their investigation in the Ousman Sonko case and that an indictment is to be expected soon. It can be a matter of day(s) now,” a source told The Point.
Former Interior Minister Sonko has been imprisoned in Switzerland for many years as a number of witnesses before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission have implicated him in a number of crimes. He is accused of ordering the torture of opposition members when he was interior minister under Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Sonko, who was suspected of crimes against humanity, in 2021, had his appeal rejected by the Swiss Federal Criminal Court after he was ordered to stay in jail.
Sonko was arrested in a Swiss asylum centre in January 2017 and has been in jail ever since. This preventive detention has to be confirmed periodically by a court, as investigations continue. The case was referred to Swiss authorities by Geneva-based NGO TRIAL International.
Sonko could be the second person brought to trial in Switzerland for international crimes after Liberian Alieu Kosiah, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for war crimes in June 2021. Under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity can be tried even if the accused is not a national and the crimes were committed in another country.