Towards transitional justice delivery


The Truth for the documenting of the historic crimes, the Reconciliation between victims and those that offended them and the Reparations to be awarded to victims of 22 years of dictatorship will not achieve the objective of justice without the most responsible being taken to trail.

Justice can’t be service without accountability and failure to take people to trail and punish them for their wrong will foster impunity, which goes against the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that The Gambia is a signatory.

The victims need to be listen to and their rights be respected by bringing those that cause them harm and pain to justice to help their healing process for justifiable forgiveness in fostering reconciliation.

We had the TRRC hearing; it wasn’t everyone’s choice of proceeding or process for justice.

Some wants a quicker most efficient delivery of justice, by utilising the available information already within public domain and build up a legal strategy to bring all the perpetrators of serious crimes to justice.

Over time, we are now moving towards delivering the justice that most of the victims were yearning for.

We took what we had to work with, the TRRC it delivered a historic report with recommendations which is overall accepted by victims and the general public and with reservations or displeasure in some quarters.

From the report, the government produced a white paper indicating their commitment to adopting almost all recommendations except about two exceptions.

The white paper is seen as progressive, but some people still have reservations on the political Will of the government to implement the proposals.

A genuine worry based on how the government dealt with the previous commission recommendations and the relations the president adopted with some of the indicted individual or their families.

Sharing my opinion on those given too much credit to the state’s publication of white or doubting the sincerity of the state to implement the recommendations of the white paper, may we remind ourselves that Power belongs to the people and YES, the country has its sovereignty but can’t isolate herself but has to abide by international laws and treaties it had ratified.

Especially, a state that depends solely on the goodwill of handouts and loans from international partners in these challenging times, doesn’t have much choice or will apart from comply with rule of the game in certifying the givers and complying with the will of the people.

The promised during the campaign period was just that, as the president would say anything to be elected knowing that he can disregard the promises after retaining the executive powers.

That was the reason why former President Jammeh himself didn’t agree to any deal as he was fully aware of the limitation of the president when it comes to crimes he was charged with and there will be no leverage to force the for president to deliver his side of the deal.

Instead there will be pressure coming from both domestic and international forces to get him to trial.

The president has chosen to reward some of the people that are accomplished in committing crimes, or gave moral support to crimes that are committed over the years by justifying it based on technical grounds.

But he can’t do the same for the people adversely mentions and directly responsible or have the highest responsibility in the crimes that are committed during the dictatorship.

Even thought the president would still not want some of these people punished due to his relationship with them (likes of Dr. Isatou Njie Saidy and Sanna Sabally) he has to been seen following the due process of the law and facilitating the exercise of rule of law.

This doesn’t guarantee that he will deliver the justice required, the only guarantee for justice delivery is the vigilantism from the Political and Civil Society with the support from the international community.

If we get distracted he will use the same tactics of applying delay with technicality to undermine the delivery of justice to his chosen people.

This reminds us of the need to be vigilant to guarantee the justice delivery for the victims and foster the fight against impunity in rebuilding our criminal justice system.

In the case of Jammeh, the president has nothing to gain to warrant him take a risk by ignoring the signed Rome Statute of the International Criminal Courts that would sever his relationship with the international community.

The people, the politicians and civil society still have an important role to play in forcing the state to expedite the process for justice to prevail, as justice delay is justice denial!

Sulayman Ben Suwareh is a social activist, security and political activist. He writes different articles in varied topics of national and global significance.

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