The Gambia’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) released this statement on 16th October 2021 pledging to allocate an additional D150 million to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s (TRRC) process of paying Reparations to victims. Below is the press release from the Ministry of Justice.
#NEVERAGAIN MARCH: GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO THE COURSE OF THE TRRC
On the occasion of the #NEVERAGAIN March organised by the Victims Centre and TANGO, the Ministry reiterates its continuous support for all victims of human rights violations and its commitment to the course of the TRRC and Justice.
The government of The Gambia in January 2017, under the leadership of President Adama Barrow, embarked on a Transitional Justice program aimed at, among other things, rebuilding Gambian society through reconciliation and the maintenance of peace, in accordance with the rule of law, justice, and accountability.
Through the transitional justice program, the government established the Truth, Reconciliation & Reparations Commission (TRRC) after an unprecedented nationwide consultation and has fully resourced it with over GMD 200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Dalasi) since its inception to date. Between the month of August 2021 and now, government has allocated an additional GMD13, 000, 000.00 to assist the TRRC complete its report.
With regards to the victims of human rights violations, government in 2019 made an initial disbursement of GMD 50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Dalasi) to the TRRC for initial payment of reparations to victims. Currently, the Ministry of Justice and the Victims Centre are jointly setting up a victims-led taskforce for the drafting of legislation to set up a Victims Compensation Fund to succeed the TRRC Reparations Committee. The government of The Gambia has already committed over GMD 150,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Million Dalasi) in the draft 2022 Budget Estimates, to be utilised as part of the reparations fund.
The Ministry of Justice is also working with the UN and other multilateral and bilateral partners on securing additional funds for the post-TRRC activities which includes finding the best route to achieving justice for the victims.
All the above and many other undertakings by the government are done in good faith and are sufficient demonstration of the commitment of this government to the principles and objectives of the TRRC. Therefore, comments about government’s lack of commitment to implement the recommendations of the TRRC upon submission of its report are at best premature and speculative.
The office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice wishes to assure all the victims, the Gambians, and partners alike that the government of The Gambia remains fully committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the TRRC in the best interest of the Gambian people without fear or favour.
END of Press Release
It’s true that the Gambia Government ‘allegedly’ paid D50 million to the Commission back in 2019. On that same day, the Government promised to make a second payment of D50 million to the Commission. However, after two years, Commissioner Ms Adelaide Sosseh, in charge of Reparations announced that the Government failed to fulfil its promise to pay another D50 million to the Commission.
At the same press briefing held in July 2021, the Commission informed the media that it had committed to pay a total of D205.8 million in reparations to victims. Commissioner Sosseh told members of the press that the Commission had spent D13 million (from the D50 million paid) on Interim Reparations, leaving only D37 million to pay some 1,000 qualified victims.
If D37 million is removed from D205.8 million, this leaves some D168.8 million outstanding in reparations payments, this was confirmed by Commissioner Sosseh at the press briefing in July 2021.
Therefore, even if the government fulfilled its promise to pay D150 million to the Commission for Reparations, it will not cover the outstanding D168.8 million in reparations to some 1,000 qualified victims.
Besides the outstanding D168.8 million, the TRRC has committed to pay an additional D32 million to family members of some 54 West African Migrants killed in The Gambia in 2015. This means that the total outstanding reparations to be paid by the Gambia Government is over D200 million.