As former President Yahya Jammeh prepares to leave the country that he ruled brutally for 22-years, human rights campaigners are demanding that the former strongman is held accountable for crimes against the state and human rights abuses.
But Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has indicated he is “not talking about prosecution here” but a truth and reconciliation commission.
“We aren’t talking about prosecution here, we are talking about getting a truth and reconciliation commission,” Barrow told the AP. “Before you can act, you have to get the truth, to get the facts together.”
Barrow said Jammeh will not be prosecuted but he will fully implement the recommendation of the truth and reconciliation commission.
The new president had offered an olive branch to Jammeh severally to cede power and live as a former head of state in the country, offers the former dictator ignored.
Human rights groups accuse Jammeh of alleged abuses, including torture, extrajudicial executions, and detention of opponents. A 2012 execution of nine death row inmates brought him to the international spotlight.
Journalists and human rights defenders were arbitrarily arrested and detained and restrictive laws curbed the right to freedom of expression.
Human rights and pro-democracy activists were very instrumental in the campaign to end Jammeh’s rule.
Jammeh lost elections last month and his refusal to cede power saw a renewed wave of repression and crackdown on dissenting voices, activists and radio stations.
Tens of grassroots campaigners demanding Jammeh leave power were arrested, a handful of their leaders went into exile, dozens of soldiers reportedly loyal to President Barrow detained and at least four radio stations closed.
A deal was reached late Friday after a long day of mediation by Guinea’s Alpha Conde and Mauritania’s Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz for him to stand down.