Wednesday, November 30

Justice Minister Vows Prosecution for “Some” Perpetrators

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By Mustapha Jallow

Dawda A. Jallow, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on Tuesday disclosed that ‘some’ of the perpetrators who were adversely mentioned by the Truth Commission for committing crimes against humanity during the regime of former president Jammeh, will be prosecuted.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice made this disclosure during a four day training for legal staff from his Ministry on “international criminal laws and international human rights.’’

Held at the International conference centre on 19th April 2022, the session was organised by the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA).

In a document provided by the Truth Commission, most heads of security agencies, Ministers and senior Government officers, have been adversely mentioned as perpetrators of heinous crimes under the Jammeh administration, but still continue to serve the current Government of president Adama Barrow. However, Justice Minister Jallow said ‘some’ of these adversely mentions persons at the just ended Truth Commission, will be prosecuted for the crimes they have committed during the reign of former president Jammeh.

“We have close to seventy or more recommendations contained in the Truth Commission report for prosecution. So there is no doubt that ‘some’ of those who were adversely mentioned will be prosecuted in order to pay for what they have done, as clearly indicated in the TRRC Act,’’ Justice Minister Jallow said.

According to the Justice Minister, from the policy perspective, they want the process to be done in such a way that they will maximize its residual impact within the country; that his Ministry is working closely with partners to enable them design what is going to be the best approach for Gambians.

“We want the process to live as much benefit as possible for the country. This is not also going to be only in material form, but the human capacity has to be developed in this direction. We received a lot materials from the TRRC but the way and manner these materials were admitted by the investigative commission, falls short of the standard of presenting it in a Court of law. So as a Ministry, we have a lot of work ahead. We have to analyse the materials and develop case files for each and every charge that will be taken to Court by the Government,’’ he said. He said it is also known to all that most of these crimes especially the ones that are international in nature, were not known within our jurisdiction because they are not contain in the country’s penal code and Gambia is not use to prosecuting them.

“We are in a transitional process. We have had other exercises that were done and we have completed the truth telling and established the fact. We have received the report of the Truth Commission and Government is working on the white paper. Now what happens after the white paper is simply the position paper of the Government,’’ the Justice Minister indicated.

Meanwhile, during the session, Justice Minister Jallow tasked participants that they may be prosecutors or lawyers in their own right but have never practically investigated and prosecuted such offences.

‘‘So even if you have studied this at University level, you do not understand their practical dimensions yet. So you will be listening to practitioners because we are preparing you for the work ahead,’’ he said.

For the information of the reader, the Government of President Adama Barrow has faced growing pressure from both domestic and international human rights organisations, victims of crimes against humanity by the former regime of Yaya Jammeh, lawyers, diplomats and civil society organisations, to ensure that the report of the TRRC is fully implemented by bringing perpetrators to book, including former president Jammeh.

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