EYEAFRICA TV:Victims of Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh 22-year regime have protested against Justice Ministry’s decision to release some members of Mr. Jammeh’s hit-squad; the junglers who confessed to their participation in mass killings before the country’s truth-seeking commission; TRRC.
The victims who now created a pressure group call Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations have asked the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to report the self-confessed killers, Malick Jatta and Omar A. Jallow to the country’s Justice Ministry for committing perjury.
On August 10, Gambia armed forces released Omar Jallow, Amadou Badgie, Malick Jatta and Pa Ousman Sanneh who were members of the hit squad “junglers” from their custody after Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambedou had a meeting with victims who rejected the decision.
They had earlier testified before the TRRC where they admitted their participation in some heinous human rights violation, including torture and murder of civilians and security personnel on the orders of former president Jammeh.
In July, justice minister Tambedou held a press briefing where he defended the decision to release the men in what appears to be a reward for testifying before the TRRC regarding the crimes against humanity they committed against civilians and security personnel during the Jammeh era. Minister Tambadou claimed that although Malick Jatta and Omar A. Jallow had committed heinous crimes, it was only fair to release the men as they had assisted the TRRC to establish the truth.
“We contend that the Minister’s statement is misleading as during their testimony in July, Malick Jatta and Omar A. Jallow provided untruthful testimonies regarding the execution of the West African migrants in 2005. Malick Jatta claimed that he killed only one migrant in 2005, while Omar A. Jallow assured the TRRC that this was a lie as Jatta had killed several people and that nobody had escaped on that occasion.”
The victims argued that the testimony of the two men also differ from the credible report published by TRIAL International and Human Rights Watch in May 2018 in several aspects.
As per the TRRC Act, “a person who intentionally provides misleading or false information to the Commission shall be deemed to be in contempt of court and may be referred to the High Court for trial and punishment.”
They said the Commission and the Minister of Justice have also on several occasions declared that lying before the Commission has consequences, which led to the arrest of Lamin Senghore, alias “The Assassin” and subsequently charged with perjury.
“Another argument made by the Minister to justify his flawed decision was that the men who had been detained for two and a half years by the Military Police could not be charged with any crimes at this moment because the TRRC has been mandated to identify for prosecution only those who bear the greatest responsibility for the human rights violations and abuses.
The victims who personally suffered former President Jammeh’s brutality or their family members also argued that justice minister Tambedou’s statement that the work of the TRRC could not be pre-empted by taking action against anyone at this stage was a clear contradiction of actions taken by his Ministry, saying since the beginning of the TRRC hearings, three individuals, Lamin Senghore, John Charles Mendy and Yankuba Touray who appeared before the Commission have been charged with murder.
They appealed to the International Community who is supporting The Gambia in its democratic transition to hold the Justice Minister Tambedou accountable, saying his reasoning is dangerous. They said this will ensure that the generous funding is appropriately used and does not validate actions that result in impunity in The Gambia.