Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) will submit its report cataloguing 22 years of human rights violations to President Adama Barrow at State House in Banjul on Thursday.The report contains details of egregious state-sanctioned human rights violations during former President Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years in power.
Incompletion was to blame for the delay in submitting the report which was originally scheduled to be handed to the government two months ago.
The TRRC took two years to investigate crimes and conducted public hearings where both alleged victims and perpetrators made testimonies about abuses that happened between July 22, 1994 when Jammeh came to power in a military coup and January 2017 when he vacated the presidency.
Some 400 people had appeared before the commission including those witnesses based outside The Gambia.
There were spine-tingling testimonies of torture, rape, killings and forced disappearances apparently at the behest of the state under then President Jammeh who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing the 2016 presidential polls.
Testimony after testimony conjured up chilling scenes of killings ostensibly carried out by Jammeh’s hit squad referred to as Junglers.
There were special hearings on how some 44 West African migrants mostly Ghanaians were summarily gunned down by elements of the Junglers.
The victims were accused of a botched coup against Jammeh who allegedly ordered their execution.
The TRRC which came into being by an act of The Gambian National Assembly was tasked with probing and establishing “an impartial historical record of human rights violations, but to also consider reparations for the victims of abuses, promote reconciliation and non-recurrence”.
Although the TRRC’s mantra is based on ensuring transitional justice was served to both victims and perpetrators in the aftermath of its investigations, it is not clear how President Adama Barrow’s government will react to the report.
Mr. Barrow is expected to scour the report before coming up with a six-month schedule on how to implement its recommendations which may include prosecuting some alleged perpetrators and compensating victims.
He may release copies of the report for public consumption including in the country’s National Assembly and international organisations such as the United Nations.