TRRC expert meeting on Reparations Regulation underway

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in partnership with the Africa and West Asia Programme of International (AWA IDEA) yesterday started a two-day expert meeting on Reparations Regulation.

Among the key stakeholders are the former Liberian president, Prof. Amos Sawyer and Johnney Delange, former deputy minister of Justice, Republic of South Africa.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at Kairaba Hotel, Maurice Engueleguele, senior programme officer, AWA IDEA expressed delight and highlighted that the first components of reparations in transitional justice is to promote accountability.

He added that the meeting was timely, having gathered stakeholders and engaging them in meaningful discussions on reparation.

“There are different types of reparations and it’s important for the experts to sit, discuss and share ideas,” Maurice stated.

Julien Attakla-Ayinon, UNDP Transitional Justice advisor also buttressed the importance of reparations, saying it is sensitive as it touches victims and families.

He said reparations can put the transitional justice process on hold if not handled properly.

Making reference to one of the witnesses’ statement at the regional hearings in Sibanor, he quoted the said witness as saying: “The TRRC is healing because as I narrate my story, I am healing.”

According to him, this indicates that some victims are not asking for money, but instead healing from things troubling them.

The expert further argued that reparations are a relief for victims and when it is properly done, it helps the society and victims to settle happily.

“Reparations are a long journey and are necessary to set the role. We hope that some years to come, other countries will come and learn from The Gambia,” he concluded.

Kebba Jome, the representative of the Victims’ Center expressed joy to be part of the policy regulations for the victims, saying he was looking forward to very good recommendations.

“The victims have raised concerns about the release of the ‘junglers’ and perpetrators that are in the system. That is the fear of the center,” he emphasised.

The vice chair of the TRRC, Adelaide Sosseh, acknowledged the support of the UN to the TRRC; adding expectations of the families are high.

“Government gave D50 million to the TRRC for reparations of the victims,” Sosseh disclosed.

She said that reparations are key in transitional justice, adding that is in the TRRC Act and is well respected.

The expert meeting will provide a technical forum to facilitate dialogue between the TRRC representatives with processes and various Gambian stakeholders, such as representatives of affected communities and civil societies on reparations principles based on experiences in other countries, and taking into account the Gambian context as well as the TRRC’s draft reparations regulation.

Author: Pa Modou Cham