chairman, Dr Lamin J. Sise has disclosed that the Truth, Reconciliation and
Reparations Commission (TRRC) is not a court of law and not a witch hunting
exercise against any individual or institution.
The TRRC chair made this disclosure yesterday, 11 February at the opening of the TRRC second session on the update and progress made.
He said in spite of a few technological hitches, the first session which focused on the July 1994 went very well adding that the Commission heard testimonies from 13th witnesses of which most of whom were serving or retired officers of the Gambian security forces.
He further said the evidence that came from these testimonies puts the Commission in a good position to establish a reasonably accurate historical record of how and why the coup of July 1994 happened, who the main players were, and how institutional failures and policy lapses contributed to its success.
He stated that a good picture also emerges of the nature and extent of human rights violations that occurred during and immediately after the July 22nd 1994 coup.
He averred that the Commission will spend the first days of its second session to hearing more testimonies directly relevant to July 22nd, 1994 coup, adding that the second session will focus mainly on the events of November 11, 1994 when a number of soldiers lost their lives.
The TRRC chair said the Commission is very much interested in hearing what happened in November 11, 1994, to ascertain who the main actors were, and ultimately, the whereabouts of those who disappeared.
He expressed optimism that the second session will yield invaluable insight into the true circumstances surrounding an event that, until now, is shrouded in mystery.
He called on the general public to help the Commission to get to the bottom of what happened on 11 November, 1994 in the name of justice and healing.
Dr. Sise reminded the general public that TRRC is not court of law neither is it a witch hunting exercise against any individual or institution.
He said whatever the Commission does; the Commission does it in the pursuit of its objectives as mandated by the TRRC Act.
He stated that the TRRC will remain absolutely committed to the attainment of its objectives throughout its mandate period.
The chairman revealed that the Commission has noticed an emerging trend whereby persons who feel that they have been adversely mentioned or who possess some information about matters being testified about would go to the press to make statements that are aimed at contradicting the testimony made before the Commission.
He said the TRRC ‘s provisional Rules of Procedures mandate that persons who have been previously mentioned be afforded the opportunity to state their own side of the story by way of written statement or personal appearance.
He pointed out that these persons are being directly contacted by the Commission, served with notices of Adverse Mention and formally invited to respond to the allegations.
He stated that it is not necessary for such individuals to attempt to litigate the issues in the public media.
He also said one week of each month will be devoted to committee work and review outreach activities that may not be possible during sittings.
He called on members of the public and the armed security forces who have information or are victims of human rights violations during the mandate period to come the TRRC secretariat and submit their complaints.