Your Excellency Kadré Désiré OUEDRAOGO
Your Excellency Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh
Head of State
Republic of the Gambia
We are concerned about the Gambian government’s continuous non-compliance with the decisions of the Community Court of Justice. The Gambia has refused to respect the decisions of the Court in two cases litigated against it by the regional Freedom of Expression organization, Media Foundation for West Africa – (Chief Ebrima Manneh and The Republic of the Gambia), (Musa Saidykhan and The Republic of the Gambia)
Although The Gambia is a signatory to the ECOWAS Protocol establishing the Community Court of Justice, it has to date refused to comply with the rulings on both cases.
Recognizing the negative impact of non-compliance on the reputation of the Community Court and the pursuit of regional peace and stability, we plead with Your Excellency and the esteemed Commission to take immediate action to ensure that member states comply with the Court’s decisions.
We add our voice to calls for the inclusion of the Implementation of the Regional Court’s decisions in the agenda of the upcoming Heads of State Summit in 2013.
July 7, 2013 marked exactly 7years since Chief Ebrimah Manneh, a reporter of the pro-government newspaper, Daily Observer, in the Gambia disappeared. Chief Manneh was on July 7, 2006 arrested by officers of the Gambia National Intelligence Agency (NIA) following an attempt to republish an article he downloaded from the internet, which was critical of President Yahya Jammeh’s administration.
He has since been globally regarded as a victim of ‘forced’ disappearance because the Gambian government continues to deny custody of him and has clearly refused to conduct any investigations into his whereabouts.
Within the period (July 2006 – July 2013) Gambia’s senior government officials, including President Jammeh, Marie Saine-Firdaus, the former Minister of Justice, Edward Gomez, former Attorney General, Yankuba Sonko, Inspector General of Police have made conflicting statements about his whereabouts.
For instance in 2009, Firdaus told the Gambian National Assembly that Manneh is not in the custody of the state. However, in a 2011 interview with the Daily News, Gomez claimed that Manneh was alive, pre-supposing that the State has information on the whereabouts of Chief Manneh.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in 2007, litigated against the Gambian government, the case of Manneh’s arrest and disappearance at the ECOWAS Court. The Court in a ruling the following year, (June 2008) declared Manneh’s arrest and detention illegal and ordered the Gambian government to release and compensate him with an amount of US$100,000.
However, the Gambia has, to date (5years since the ruling), refused to respect the Court’s ruling.
The MFWA, on the occasion of the 7th year of his disappearance calls on the ECOWAS Commission to compel the Gambian government to respect the ECOWAS Court’s ruling on Manneh.
We are, therefore, entreating all Gambians, International and regional human rights groups and activists, governments, inter-governmental bodies/agencies to join the campaign, calling for The Gambia to respect freedom of expression and comply with the ECOWAS Court’s decisions.
Join the campaign to ensure The Gambia respects and complies with the regional Court’s decisions. Kindly sign (write name & country) on the draft petition below and send to the following email addresses: