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Three-month sabbatical ends as Gambia’s truth commission resumes hearings

After a three-month sabbatical prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Gambia's truth commission resumed its sessions on Monday, hearing…

After a three-month sabbatical prompted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Gambia’s truth commission resumed its sessions on Monday, hearing testimonies about alleged violations during former president Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year rule.The Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) will continue from where it left off, hearing cases about alleged abuses ostensibly by President Jammeh’s motorcades and prison conditions.

On March 18, 2020, just two days into its 13th session, the TRRC suspended public hearings as thew government announced health safety regulations to stop the spread of the coronavirus in The Gambia. 

A partial lockdown and safety measures calling for physical distancing to prevent local Covid-19 transmissions meant that members of the public could not be present at TRRC hearings TRRC.

During its last session in March, only two witnesses had appeared before the TRRC which since January 7th 2019 had heard testimonies from 219 witnesses. 

The witnesses included 54 women, 40 perpetrators, alleged perpetrators and adversely mentioned individuals and a handful of expert witnesses.

Twenty-five witnesses based in the Gambian Diaspora also testified via video link during this period.

From Monday the TRRC while continuing to observe self-isolation will hear evidence about unlawful attacks against road users ostensibly by Jammeh’s convoys with a session on institutional hearings linked to the prison system and the violations of the rights of inmates and detainees also planned for June.

On 29th April 2020, TRRC presented to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice an interim report which was required by law detailing its activities for the first one year of its existence. 

It did not include findings or recommendations, efforts reserved for its final report to the government by the end of this year.

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