Justice for Jammeh victims: Big challenges for the judiciary and law enforcement

Justice for Jammeh victims: Big challenges for the judiciary and law enforcement

Barrow’s predecessor Yahya Jammeh has been accused of several human rights abuses but the new administration has always emphasized reconciliation instead of prosecuting people responsible for certain crimes.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has hinted the new Chief Justice Hassan Jallow that his institution will have to deal with the difficult task of ensuring justice with respect to crimes that were allegedly committed under former President Yahya Jammeh.

Chief Justice in The Gambia is the head of the judiciary, president of the country’s Supreme Court and also responsible for assigning cases to judges.

Though they pledged truth and reconciliation, Gambia’s interior minister Mai Fatty has already given a directive for police to investigate the cases of people who went missing under President Jammeh.

Since the fall of the dictator, who is accused of killings and enforced disappearances during his twenty-two-year rule, Gambians who have lost their relatives have been inquiring the whereabouts of their loved ones through filling a Complain Form from the Major Crimes Unit of Gambia Police Force.

“Twenty-two years of injustices and abuse of power require knowledge to ensure that justice is seen to be done as well as reconciliation to give peace a chance,” said President Barrow.

An anonymous police source said that the missing cases’ list is close to 30 people and many who have not seen theirs are worried that they are dead.

And Barrow appeared to have insinuated that certain people might be prosecuted saying Jallow’s “experiences gained during his services under the International Criminal Tribunal in Africa and beyond will be useful in The Gambia.”

“We can forgive but we cannot forget in ensuring that justice prevails,” Barrow said.

The Gambia is going through a historic transition in establishing a modern democracy where respect for human rights and dignity of person is the norm, says the new leader.

Mustapha Darboe is an award-winning Gambian journalist – a former news editor at Today News and senior reporter at the Standard Newspaper. He currently reports for the Anadolu News Agency. Follow him on his blog: The Torch

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