Campaigners want Jammeh to face justice over 44 massacred Ghanaians

Monday, May 21, 2018

Campaigners and right activists say so far they are enough evidences linking the former President Yahya Jammeh to the killings of 44 Ghanaian migrants and other nationalities in 2005.

An International Human Rights Lawyer and Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Right Violations among others are now demanding for The Gambia government to help in this endeavour to bring Jammeh to face justice in Ghana.

These remarks were made at a press conference convened by The Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations held on Thursday, which also saw the launch of a campaign dubbed ‘Jammeh 2 Justice.’

A founding member of Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Ayesta Jammeh, said prosecuting former President Jammeh will be one step forward for Gambian victims. “Right now The Gambian Justice system is not that much strong to get Jammeh to justice. However, when Ghana dose, it will be one step for Gambian victims to have evidence against him with a view to bringing him to Gambia to be tried for the atrocities he committed during the past 22 years in The Gambia”.

An International Human Rights Lawyer, who worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and also did several Commissions of Inquiry in DRC, CAR and Mali, Marion Volkmann-Brandar, said from a legal point of view that it is easier for the Ghanaians to ask for his extradition for crimes committed.

She noted that another option that may be a better one would be to have Jammeh extradited to Ghana, and have him tried for the atrocities and be in safe place in Ghanaian prison, rather than been in a palace in Equatorial Guinea. In this case, she said, The Gambia would be able to build strong evidence against him and to have a space for the country’s justice system to be rebuilt and strengthened.

Marion Volkmann-Brandar maintains that they have enough evidence that the former Interior minister, Ousman Sonko, who was then Inspector General of Police, was the one who coordinated the massacre of the Ghanaians. “He was the guy who gave information to Jammeh that the migrants have arrived in Barra. He was present when the migrants arrived and for sure he plays a crucial role in that awful night.”

Commenting on the D500, 000 US Dollar given to the families of the massacred migrants, Volkmann-Brandar, said former President Jammeh made it clear during a television interview that the monies were a humanitarian gesture.

The programme manager of Tango, Madi Jobarteh, said there has to be accountability for any human right violations. However, he stated that The Gambia as a country in terms of ‘our legal, security structures and institutions’ do not have the capacity to bring Jammeh to face justice in The Gambia.

He emphasised that the demand is for The Gambia government to give the necessary support to this initiative to have, Yahya Jammeh, extradited to Ghana to face justice. “We have dictators, but probably Yahya Jammeh’s case is the first where you have a large number of non-citizens massacred in this country”.

He observed that this large number, where citizens have been killed in such a magnitude goes to show the extent of atrocities committed by Yahya Jammeh and for which, he should be held accountable.

The parliament, he believes, has a fundamental role in this campaign to put the necessary pressure on ‘our executives’ to play their rightful role to see that The Gambia government provides all forms of cooperation and assistance to the Ghanaian government.