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Gambia commission recommends ex-president Jammeh be tried

December 25, 2021

A commission in Gambia has suggested that former President Yahya Jammeh be brought before an international tribunal for crimes committed during his 22-year dictatorship.

Gambia's ex-President Yahya Jammeh (C) being greeted by supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally in Brikama.
The commission said that Jammeh and his henchmen were responsible for 44 specific crimes against journalists, ex-soldiers, political rivals and civiliansImage: Marco Longari/AFP

A truth and reconciliation commission in Gambia has found former President Yahya Jammeh responsible for a spate of killings, rapes and torture during his 22-year long dictatorship and recommended that he be tried before an international tribunal.

The commission's report, which came after a three-year probe into the abuses under Jammeh's rule based on nearly 400 witness testimonies, was presented to President Adama Barrow earlier this month but was released publicly on Friday.

"Over a period of 22 years, starting from July 22, 1994, Yahya Jammeh and... co-perpetrators committed very serious crimes against the people of The Gambia," a statement from the commission said.

The commission recommended "prosecuting Yahya Jammeh and his co-perpetrators in an international tribunal" in West Africa outside of Gambia, under either the African Union or the ECOWAS regional group, the statement added.

When was the commission established?

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was established in January 2017 by Barrow, whose election in 2016 ended over two decades of dictatorship in the West African nation.

Jammeh — who clinched power in a 1994 coup — had left for exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to accept defeat in the elections.

How young people in The Gambia protect their neighbourhood

The commission said that Jammeh and his henchmen, including a personal hit squad called The Junglas, were responsible for 44 specific crimes against journalists, ex-soldiers, political rivals and civilians.

He was also responsible for the rape or sexual abuse of three women, the commission said.

The crimes also included the killing of journalist Deyda Hydara in 2004, seven civilians in 2000 and 59 West African migrants in 2005.

dvv/wd (AFP, Reuters)