By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is an independent body enacted by Gambia’s Parliament to investigate the human rights violations of former President Yahya Jammeh and his regime. TRRC Commissioners were sworn in sometime in March 2018 and have been conducting public hearings, reconciliation, interim reparations and currently implementing reparations.
TRRC Vice-Chair Ms Adelaide Sosseh promised to compile “a note and send it to all media houses” at a press briefing on Friday 16th July 2021. At this point in time, the Commission must be extremely busy preparing their report to be submitted to President Barrow on 30th July 2021.
One week has elapsed since without the memo from the Commission. It would be highly welcomed to receive the TRRC’s memo on reparations to help guide the public. As highlighted by Ms Sosseh “we really want [the media] and us to be on the same level of understanding in terms of the payment of reparations, but not only you for the general public as well. You are the conduit between us the TRRC and the people out there and of course the victims.”
Until the TRRC memo on Reparations is released here are some of the main points gathered from the press briefing.
Purpose of Reparations
Vice-Chair Sosseh also Chairs the TRRC’s Reparations Committee and explained that “we cannot bring back a life and there is no payment on this earth that can bring back a life. Or reduce the pain in the heart. So reparations are strictly SYMBOLIC.”
At the presser, Ms Sosseh announced that the “total Reparations to be paid is D205,820,780“.
She went on to explain that the Commission received D50 million from Government and spent D13 million on “urgent interim Reparations”.
Unfortunately, the Gambia Government failed to honour its promise to make a second payment of D50 million to the Commission.
Still on the TRRC’s income, after the D13 million spent the Commission had D37 million to spend on 1,000 victims said Ms Sosseh.
Vice-Chair Sosseh detailed that the D37 Million will be spent on Reparations as follows;
198 victims to be paid D50,000 and below will receive full payment. Vice-Chair Sosseh says for these set of people Government owes no more money as they will be paid in full.
758 victims to be paid over D50,000 in instalments with Government paying the remaining instalment later. The highest payment is D600,000 for unlawful killings.
Gainako can confirm that victims have started receiving their payments from the Victim Support Unit.
For the outstanding payments, Ms Sosseh says the total shortfall owed by the Government is D168.8 million.
An additional payment is to be made to the 54 West Africans killed in the Gambia in 2005. These payments are not included in the D206 Million says TRRC Chair Dr Lamin J. Sise.
It must be noted that a Human Rights Watch publication states that in 2009, the “Gambia paid US$500,000 in compensation to Ghana, which gave 10,000 Ghana cedis (roughly US$6,800 at 2009 rates) to each of the approximately 27 victim’s families.”
According to Chairperson Sise, these payments will be handled between the Gambia Government and the Governments of the various victims.
For the 54 West Africans Vice-Chair Sosseh says Government owes D32 million. By Gainako’s calculations D600,000 x 54 is D32.4 million.
This means that the Gambia Government will pay a total of D205.8 million to 956 victims which is close to the 1,000 victims the TRRC made reference to.
If the 54 West African Migrants are added to the tally the total number of victims climbs up to 1,010 victims and the total grand total of Reparation Payments is in excess of D238.2 million.