I have no regrets giving Mafugie Sonko land- Faal Tells Journalists

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Barrister Essa M. Faal has disclosed that he did not regret giving Mafugie Sonko a piece of land and that he did it to encourage values of giving and kindness.

Barrister Faal made this declaration yesterday at the TRRC during press briefing organised to update journalists’ understanding of what is going on in the TRRC domain.

Lead Counsel Faal said he did not regret giving Mafugie Sonko a piece of land, adding that the presentation of money to the witness was done in good faith.

He revealed that people live in a society where people criticize things and that that gesture isn’t worth the criticism.

He disclosed that the arrest of JCB Mendy was done on the instructions of the attorney general and minister of Justice.

He further disclosed that the minister of Justice has the powers and discretion to order for certain crime to be investigated.

He asserted that the fact that a witness had lied doesn’t mean that the witness is a liar or be termed that the witness had lied about everything.

Barrister Faal disclosed that lately, the Commission has received a number of requests from interested Gambians for clarification of some of the procedural arrangements of the TRRC.

He underlined that the rules of Procedure of TRRC dated the 7th January, 2019 are still provisional.

He noted that the objective and mandate of the TRRC is a truth-seeking exercise, citing Section 13 of the Act.

He further noted that TRRC is not a witch hunting exercise, but a victim centred process aimed at establishing the truth about the violations and abuses of human rights.

He underscored that the TRRC is not a criminal trial and that the Commission has endeavoured to remove many of the features that would liken the process to a court.

He said the Commission encourages all witnesses including perpetrators to speak the truth and nothing but the truth.

He cited section 19 of the TRRC Act which recommends the granting of amnesty under certain terms and conditions to perpetrators who make full disclosure of their involvement in human rights violations and express remorse for their act or conduct.

He said section 15(2) b makes it a criminal offence to intentionally provide misleading or false information to the Commission.

 He noted that the mode of questioning of witnesses depends on several factors and that the legal team tries to elicit the truth from witnesses in a very respectful manner.

He disclosed that the recent visit of TRRC officials to both Jeshwang and Janjanbureh prisons had made the PRO of the Prison service to organise a press conference in which he lambasted the Commission for what he termed an “unethical and uncalled for” visit.

Barrister Essa Faal stated that the language of the PRO was unnecessarily harsh and disrespectful adding that the visit was accordance with section 15(1)(b) of the TRRC Act.

Author: Bruce Asemota