In its planned activities outlined in the implementation plan on the recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), the government of the Gambia has unveiled a time line for the prosecution of former president Yahya Jammeh and ex Junta members.
The following Junta members Yahya Jammeh, Edward Singhateh, Sana Sabally, and Yankuba Touray are scheduled to be prosecuted by 2025 under the Ministry of Justice’s Special Prosecutor’s Office for ordering unlawful arrests, detention and torture of Omar A Jallow, M.C. Cham and others held at Fajara Barracks, all which happened during the 1994 coup d’état.
In his statement, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Dawda A. Jallow said “Justice and Accountability form the cornerstone of our implementation plan. We recognize that reconciliation and healing are essential, but they cannot come at the expense of justice.”
He said the first 15 themes “of the plan are all about prosecuting the perpetrators of these past atrocities, putting an end to the culture of impunity, and ensuring non-recurrence of such violations.”
The government plans on investing a total of $43 Million on justice and accountability.
“Underscoring the importance of accountability, we plan on investing $43 million towards the cause of justice over the span of the implementation process. These funds will be invested in creating a Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and prosecute offences, enhancing forensic capabilities to identify the remains of disappeared persons, and establishing an internationalized Court with adequate infrastructure to try perpetrators both within and outside The Gambia.
Prosecuting Perpetrators for murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay
In the same year of 2025, the government of the Gambia plans to prosecute former President Yahya Jammeh and co perpetrators Edward Singhateh and Peter Singhateh for the murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay, former Finance minister who according to the TRRC Investigations was killed by members of the ‘junta’ in Yankuba Touray’s home.
Yankuba Touray, who was said to be part of the killing is currently serving death sentence for his involvement of Koro Ceesay’s murder at the Mile II Prison. Investigations by the TRRC has it that Yankuba Touray did not only participate in the killing of Koro Ceesay but also disposed the deceased’s body by burning in his official car at the time.
The government of the Gambia plans to start proceedings for the extradition of Yahya Jammeh and former Junta member Edward Singhateh and brother Peter Singhateh in the first quarter of next year 2024, all of which will fall under responsibilities of Special Prosecutor’s Office.
April 10/11 Student Demonstration
In light of the death of 14 students during a nationwide student demonstration in the year 2000, the government plans to prosecute Yahya Jammeh under command responsibility for all atrocities committed against the students.
This will be done using Principle of Command and Responsibility under International Criminal Laws of principle which states that the person in command must be held responsible if their subordinates commit crimes and they do nothing to prevent, stop, or punish those crimes.
Accountability for Death of Deyda Hydara and Other Media Practioners
Under TRRC investigations, the former President and his ‘Junglers’ are responsible for the death of journalists Deyda Hydara of the Point Newspaper, the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh, and torture of other mentioned media houses. As such, the government will Prosecute Yahya Jammeh and the junglers for the participation in these instances between the years 2024 to 2025.
Deyda Hydara was a prominent Gambian journalist and editor, who was murdered on 16 December 2004 driving home, after having celebrated 13 years of The Point newspaper. He had long been a critic of the government and had been warned by the authorities for taking a hostile tone against the government in his column “Good Morning Mr. President”.
An initial investigation was set up by the police which under the orders of Yahya Jammeh, was then taken over by the then National Intelligence Agency (NIA) now State Intelligence Services (SIS).
The NIA delivered an interim report 18 days later. However, court rulings issued on June 10th stated that there was a climate of impunity in the Gambia which stifled freedom of expression.
The deceased’s son Baba Hydara, was at the Celle Regional Supreme Court in Germany in June last year serving as a witness in the trial of Bai Lowe, one of ex-President Jammeh’s hit squad for his involvement in the death of Deyda Hydara.
Bai Lowe is accused of crimes against humanity, murder and attempted murder including helping to stop Hydara’s car and driving one of the killers in his own vehicle.
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