By Edrissa Jallow reporting from Dakar, Senegal
The founder of the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED), Ms Nana-Jo Ndow believes that the meaningful participation of stakeholders is vital for victims of The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s (TRRC) to achieve justice.
In a first of its kind, ANEKED is currently hosting an International Conference which converged victims of the former Presidents of Chad and The Gambia, legal experts, Civil Society Organisations and Government Officials to learn from experiences and ideas gained during the prosecution of former Chad President Hissène Habré in Dakar, Senegal.
The now late former Chad President Hissène Habré was convicted in 2016 for numerous crimes against his victims and sentenced to life in prison in Senegal. In addition to this Habré was ordered to pay over 100 million Euros to his victims. The former Dictator eventually died after serving around 5 years in prison. Months after Habré’s conviction, former Gambian President Jammeh, fled to Equatorial Guinea after he lost the December 2016 Presidential Elections.
The current Government of President Barrow commissioned the TRRC to investigate Jammeh’s human rights violations and indicted him for numerous crimes in their final report. President Barrow’s government accepted the TRRC’s Recommendations and is currently in the implementation stage which includes pursuing plans to initiate the prosecution of former President Jammeh.
Counsel Abdoulie Fatty described the conference as “a great learning” tool for Gambians, during his moderation of a panel focusing on the role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the recommendation process.
Ms Ndow hopes that the outcomes of the conference will boost the efforts of Gambian CSOs, Victims and other relevant stakeholders as they march on towards justice similar to the “Hissen Habre guilty conviction”.
“It is clear that if we want to achieve justice for the victims of Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices, it is the meaningful participation of our voices that must be supported,” said the ANEKED Executive Director during her opening statement.
From left to right in the above photo: Fatou Jatta (victim of 2007 HIV treatment, Gambia), Abdourahmane Gueye (victim of Hissèn Habré, Chad), Ebrima Jabang (2016 UDP demonstration, Gambia), Sainey Senghore (victim of April 10th and 11th 2000, Gambia), Sainabou Camara Lowe (victim of April 10th and 11th 2000, Gambia), and Clement Abaifouta (Victim of Hissèn Habré, Chad).
Victims of Chad and The Gambia have expressed sincere gratitude to ANEKED for organising the initiative. Victims raised their hands to show solidarity with their colleagues after Mr Clement Abaifouta encouraged Gambian Victims to remain hopeful in their pursuit of the full implementation of the TRRC’s recommendations.
ANEKED launched a detailed analysis of the TRRC’s sessions in April 2022. April is a key month for Victims in the Gambia given the number of violations that took place in that month. The key findings of ANEKED’s publication are available in English and French and present the social dynamics, historical facts, religious and other relevant contexts of the TRRC. The publication aims to provide key facts for the consumption of the general public.