By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia Government has not been acting as fast as other governments when it comes to prosecuting persons it finds most responsible for human rights violations as recommended by the now-defunct Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). However, other countries like Germany, Switzerland and the United States are not waiting to prosecute persons the TRRC recommended should face justice. The Gambia Government accepted most of the TRRC’s Recommendations to prosecute numerous perpetrators and is currently in the process of coordinating with the National Assembly to table the Special Prosecutors Office Bill and the Special Accountability Mechanism Bill that should establish the framework to hire the Special Prosecutor to facilitate recommendations for prosecution.
In the meantime, Bai Lowe, a “Jungler” Assassin Driver who confessed to driving members of former President Jammeh’s killing squad dubbed the Junglers that reported to General Tumbul Tamba who reported to former President Jammeh was found guilty by a German Court in Celle in late November 2023. This has been followed up by the prosecution of the former Minister of Interior and Inspector General of Police Ousman Sonko in a Switzerland Court in Bellinzona for crimes against humanity including, killings, torture, rape and much more. This most recent case commenced in January 2024 and is set to continue through March 2024.
After the Bai Lowe case was concluded there were rumours that the Judge in Germany claimed that Gambian Authorities did not provide sufficient support in the prosecution of Bai Lowe who has been handed a life sentence for the killing of Doyen Journalist Deyda Hydara, Military Personnel Dawda Nyassi and the assassination attempt of Lawyer Ousman Sillah. Given that another case is expected to commence in 2024 in the United States to prosecute former Jungler Samuel Correa our reporter questioned the Counsel from the Ministry of Justice on the level of support the Gambia Government is giving Switzerland and the United States to prosecute Ousman Sonko and Samuel Correa.
Counsel Saffie Nyang revealed that the MoJ has “been providing mutual legal assistance by some of the treaties we have been party to. In terms of the Swiss Authorities, I remember as far back as 2022 they would come to the Ministry, and we would give them space to carry out the investigations that they were doing. Remember the case is just proceeding now but the investigations have been ongoing. I can report that I’ve witnessed it, I’ve participated to some extent in facilitating some of the witnesses and I believe the Ministry of Justice has given them adequate support. The same thing is happening with the US Authorities as well”.
Responding to the rumours that a Judge in the Bai Lowe case in Germany claims insufficient support from the Ministry of Justice Counsel Saffie Nyang says “I cannot make much comment because as far as I’m concerned (Mutual Legal Assistance’s) MLA’s were sent and those acted on. So, I have personally made steps to get a copy of the judgement but I’ve been informed that it is not out yet. So maybe we can all wait until we get the actual judgement from the judge then we will be able to ascertain if the statements attributed to him were statements that he made. For others, we have been supporting and coordinating and cooperating with them”.
It must be noted that the Gambia Government was forced to prosecute Yankuba Touray who was a member of the Junta that overthrew the Government of Jawara together with second President Jammeh who is currently in exile. This was after Yankuba Touray refused to testify at the TRRC. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging (effectively life in prison) for his role in the murder of former Finance Minister Koro Ceesay back in 1995.