By Bekai Njie
Fatou Bom Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal court (ICC) has said that her office would be monitoring the proceedings of the TRRC with great interest to see how best her office can contribute, as President Adama Barrow officially launched the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.
She congratulated President Adama Barrow for establishing the TRRC and the attorney general and minister of Justice for his contribution.
The ICC chief prosecutor lavished praise on President Barrow, saying he has gone far in demonstrating government’s commitment to the rule of law, noting that protecting the citizenry from the scourge of war is another commitment to the rule of law.
She pointed out that the commission has an important mandate to investigate the human violations committed from 1994 to 2017,
She assured that the ICC stands right to assist TRRC Gambia in achieving its aims and objectives.
President Barrow, who officially launched the commission said that Gambians have far too long suffered from the oppressive regime of Yahya Jammeh which was supposed to protect its citizens.
The president saluted the Gambian people who stood up to the tyrant and selflessly laid down their lives for the country during the 22 years of dictatorship.
Mr. Barrow assured Gambians that the dark days for Gambians are over, noting that his government was brave enough in appointing human rights lawyers as the attorney general and the chief justice.
He pointed out that his government has set in motion a series of institutional and constitutional reforms, noting that the government has commenced a major reform for the security sector.
President Barrow stated that the TRRC was set up as a means of addressing the legacy of 22 years of former dictatorial rule, adding that it is imperative for The Gambia to carry out investigations of the 22 years of human rights abuses and violations committed by the former Gambian dictator.
The attorney general and minister of Justice, Abubacarr M. Tambadou disclosed that the consultation for the setting up of the TRRC was led by himself, noting that the primary objective of the TRRC is to investigate the 22 years of the former dictator.
He stressed that Gambians would no longer condone impunity and violation of human rights abuses and called on the perpetrators to come forward and testify before the TRRC so as to heal the wounds inflicted by the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh.
Sherif Kijera, a representative of the Victims’ Center, disclosed that the launching of the TRRC is symbolic as it marks new dawn for Gambians who have been anxiously waiting for this day.
He stated that some of the victims were summarily executed, some disappeared and some did not know how their loved ones were buried.
He further stated that the Centre for Human Rights violation has documented hundreds of cases, adding that some victims have lost everything but not because of natural disasters but by the former dictator and his cohorts.
Mr. Kijera cautioned President Barrow not to follow the footsteps of the former Gambian dictator.
“We don’t want to escort you out of the country like the former president, we do not want to have a Financial Commission, Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission set up after leaving the office” he noted.
Mr. Kijera therefore, solicited the support of all and sundry to achieve the aims and objectives of the transitional justice process.