The victims of a former Chadian dictator, Hissene Habre, who has been given a life sentence by a Senegalese court last year, have met victims of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to share experiences.
Gambia’s former President Jammeh has been accused of dozens of disappearances sand killings in his 22-year rule and his victims have formed an association a month ago to seek for justice.
Saul Mbenga, a Gambian political activist who is part of the movement, said the coming of Habre victims to Gambia was a ‘blessing.’
“Their visit is more than a blessing for us because they experienced what we are going through. We will learn from their mistakes— what they did wrong and what they did right and we take it from there,” Mbenga said.
The Habre victims have been joined by lawyers from the TRIAL, an International non-governmental organization fighting impunity for international crimes and supporting victims in their quest for justice.
Victims of both autocratic rulers have had time to explain their various stories, and also expressed views on how they intend to seek justice.
Victims of the Chadian dictator have explained how they eventually succeeded in seeing Habre in court, after 25 years of fight.
Reed Brody, American jurist for the International Commission of Jurist, who worked with Habre victims said the geopolitical context of Jammeh and Habre’s cases given their countries of residence, Equatorial Guinea ruled by a dictator and Senegal makes them different.
Senegal, where Habré took refuge, is a democratic country, and the victims agreed he would be judged there.
Equatorial Guinea is not democratic, and Gambians will want Jammeh to be judged in the Gambia.
Activists hope Jammeh’s victims will understand that though it may take time, but with perseverance, justice will eventually be delivered.