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Gambia: Process underway to set up Truth & Reconciliation Commission

The Gambia has begun the process of setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TOR) to investigate crimes committed during the lifespan of the previous government led by Yahya Jammeh, a senior official in Banjul has disclosed.In a speech the contents of which were seen by APA on Friday, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ba Tambedou said the role of the commission would be to investigate serious human rights violations including crimes such as arbitrary killings, tortures and disappearances thought to have taken place during Jammeh’s 22-year rule.

He said prospective members of the proposed commission are being sought, could begin work within six months and start hearings as early as next year.

Mr Tambedou said the TRC would be hearing testimonies from both victims and witnesses of violations at the end of which it would publish its recommendations to new President Adama Barrow on how to proceed with its findings.

He said there would be a public campaign driven by the government, encouraging potential witnesses, perpetrators and victims to cooperate with the commission’s investigations.

The Gambian Justice minister was speaking amidst widespread calls among Gambians demanding that those found culpable be punished and their victims compensated.

On top of the commission’s list of priorities will be the death of opposition electoral reform activist Solo Sandeng, allegedly tortured to death by then National Intelligence Agency operatives last year, the disappearance of journalist Ebrima Manneh, missing since 11 July 2006 and the assassination of Point newspaper editor Deyda Hydara, shot dead in his car in 2004.

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