Top human rights organisations and other civil liberty advocacy groups have applauded the recent conviction of the murderers of Solo Sandeng, prominent Gambian activist and a senior member of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).
They described the judgement as “one of the most important verdicts against impunity and free licence to kill innocent citizens by former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh and his henchmen”.
Nonetheless, right groups also demanded that the administration of President Adama Barrow must “courageously and fearlessly…and to the best of its ability make sure that Yahya Jammeh be brought to justice without further delay.”
Similarly, they believe that for “sustainable and viable peace” to be maintained, “Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done…”
The death sentenced delivered by Justice Kumba Sillah-Camara, against former director of the defunct National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Yankuba Badjie alongside Sheikh Omar Jeng, Baboucarr Sallah, Masireh Tamba and Lamin Darboe is not only a “deterrence but also a clear message to other criminals who intend to inflict harm on fellow Gambians”.
Responding to this correspondent, Reed Brody, a highly respected human rights lawyer, currently supporting the Gambian victims, noted that the verdict “is hugely important for the unspeakable torture and murder of Solo Sandeng”.
Reed Brody, commonly known as the “dictator hunter”, also stressed that it is “one of the most emblematic crimes of the Jammeh era, a crime which galvanised opposition to Jammeh and helped lead to his defeat and exile and to the return of democracy to Gambia”.
The human rights lawyer, who is extremely devoted to assisting the victims of Yahya Jammeh added: “Justice is slowly catching up to Jammeh’s henchmen, one by one, in Gambia and around the world…”
Further reacting to the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) evidences, Brody added: “After the powerful public testimonies at the TRRC which deeply impacted Gambians, there is strong expectation, both at home and abroad, that the government will now put together a more comprehensive framework to bring to book Jammeh himself and those around him who are the most responsible for the atrocities of his regime”.
It is vital to note that the cowardly murder of Mr. Sandeng, by ferocious and unruly officers in 2016 resulted in an international uproar across the world.
However, instead of apprehending the perpetrators, they were “protected and encouraged by the administration of Yahya Jammeh”.
Thanks to the “incredible testimonies at the TRRC and international outcries for justice as well as the determination of current government of President Adama Barrow, who took the bull by the horns for justice to prevail”.
Similarly, the European Union earlier outlined that the “Government of The Gambia took a decisive step on its road towards justice and accountability for human rights violations perpetrated during the regime of Yahya Jammeh (1994-2016)”.
In response to the final report of the (TRRC), it added that the “Government announced a robust, measurable roadmap for the implementation of the near entirety of the Commission’s recommendations. This is unprecedented in the history of truth commissions and welcomed by the EU”.
The EU added: “There can be no impunity for human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The EU stands ready to support The Gambia in implementing the measures announced, including the establishment of a special judicial framework…The EU is confident that The Gambia’s continued political commitment to the process will culminate in a resilient nation, reconciled communities and guarantees of non-recurrence”.
On its part, the US government, noted that the TRRC’s report, “published on December 24, provided detailed accounts of the Jammeh government’s wrongdoings, highlighted witness testimony describing the harms caused by the former government, and proposed recommendations to hold alleged perpetrators accountable”.
It concluded: “The comprehensive and specific document also acknowledged the obstacles facing efforts to obtain both accountability and reconciliation. Observers generally considered the TRRC to be independent and effective…”