The justice minister, Abubacarr Tambadou, has expressed concerns that honoring a closed-door hearing for certain witnesses at the Commission of Inquiry probing ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh could set a bad precedent that can dent the credibility of the proceedings.
Tambadou, who was answering questions from journalists at his ministry on Monday, nevertheless added that he has faith in the leadership of the Commission and its ability to make its own decisions.
“Personally, I share the concern of the counsel Amie Bensouda that it has potentials to set a dangerous precedent if we allow in-camera proceedings in this commission because it will open the floodgates,” he said.
“Although, this is not to say that the commission, which is been chaired by a very experienced legal practitioner in the country cannot make its own determination as to the circumstances which they may or not allow in-camera proceedings.”
The inquiry, which is now dubbed the Janneh Commission has been set up by local authorities to look into alleged financial misappropriation of Jammeh and his dealings with public institutions as well as his associates and family members.
However, during the hearings, some top witnesses at the Commission have requested an in-camera hearing on claims of personal security.
Such request made by Muhammed Bazzi, a top Jammeh associate, has received tough criticism from Gambian activists, who say granting the likes of Bazzi closed-door hearing will dent the image of the Commission.
(Reporting and Writing by Mustapha Darboe; Editing by Sam Phatey)