Bringing Jammeh to Justice could relief his victims

Friday, May 18, 2018

It looks like there is global consensus about bringing former Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, to justice.

But the question that always lingers in our minds and remains unanswered is, in which jurisdiction could he be brought to face all those atrocities he’s alleged to have committed? Could he be extradited to The Gambia for trial? Ghana? Nigeria? or be tried in Equatorial Guinea?

However, recent revelations have signaled that there are enough evidences that could help bring him to justice. The only known survivor of the 2005 massacre of 44 Ghanaian and other West African migrants by Jammeh’s most feared hit squad, is now spearheading the campaign to bring Jammeh to justice.

Bringing Jammeh to face justice in Ghana may sound relevant, but that idea may have some stumbling blocks. Is he to be tried in Ghana because Ghanaians were the only victims? Will he really get a fair trial in Ghana? How will they extradite him from Equatorial Guinea? And if they have to try him in Ghana, lawyers must win his extradition, which sounds pretty complicated.     

“We are presenting evidence that approximately 44 Ghanaian citizens were killed by a death squad,” said Martin Kyere, a Ghanaian survivor, as he narrated how he escaped from ‘junglers’ in The Gambia.

Mr. Kyere, who recounted his ordeal in the hands of Gambian ‘junglers’ said a Nigerian who was a Muslim, began to pray “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), which annoyed ‘junglers’ and they sliced his back with a cutlass. He never raised his head again, according to BBC’s Alex Duval Smith.

In this case, Nigeria may also ask for his extradition in Nigeria, which could make it even harder to where he should be tried.

In a January 17, 2018, interview with RFI and France 24, President Obiang said in clear terms that he had given no guarantees of Jammeh’s immunity and would “analyze any extradition request with (his) lawyers.”

But after meeting with Guinea’s president Alpha Condé, who helped negotiate Jammeh’s exit from The Gambia, Obiang reversed himself on January 26 and said that he would reject any extradition request.

“I totally agree with Condé. It is necessary to protect Yahya Jammeh, he must be respected as a former head of state in Africa, because it is a guarantee that the other heads of state who must leave power will not be afraid of the harassment they may suffer later,” said Obiang.

But victims and their campaigners in The Gambia reacted sharply with indignation to a declaration by Obiang Nguema that he would “protect” the exiled leader from justice.

Now, would there be chaos if Jammeh is Jammeh is successfully extradited to be tried in The Gambia?

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

The Point