Feb 22, 2017, 10:40 AM
Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations is deeply worried and concerned with the recent audio message of former President Yaya Jammeh,
in which he reaffirmed to his supporters and party militants of his return to The Gambia, citing an agreement he claimed was signed between himself, the
Government of The Gambia, the United Nations, The African Union and ECOWAS in
January 2017 to end the month-long political impasse triggered by his refusal
to step down after he lost the elections.
Former president, Yaya Jammeh’s rule in The Gambia was a tyrannical and brutal dictatorship, he is a fugitive from justice and a subject of serious allegations of human rights violations , as evident in the on-going TRRC. He is accused of mass killings, sexual abuses, disappearances, maiming, torture of Gambians, Senegalese, Ghanaians’, Nigerians and citizens of The United States of America, which destroyed the lives, hopes and aspirations of so many people. Therefore, the Government of the Gambia should arrest him if he steps foot in The Gambia.
The Janneh Commission which look into the financial dealings of former President Yahya Jammeh and his close associates has shown that Former President Jammeh stole a billion dalasis, over 304 million Dollars, Over 29 million Euros, and Over two-million-pound sterling’s from The Gambia. This man’s crimes to the Gambia are many, thus, we call on the Government of The Gambia to issue a warrant for his arrest.
If former president Jammeh is authorized to return to The Gambia without being arrested, charged and prosecuted for his crimes or transferred to another state for him to face justice, it would be a big failure on the part of the Government of The Gambia to uphold its duty to the people of Gambia, as well as its international obligation to provide an effective remedy to victims as well as holding perpetrators of human rights violations accountable. Furthermore it will send a bad message to the victims of the 22 year Jammeh rule, who have gone through so much within that period, and within the transitional justice process having to deal with the repercussions of publicly telling their stories.
As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, The Gambia is obliged to prosecute serious human rights violations and to provide effective remedy to victims. This goes beyond mere truth seeking but rather involves holding those bearing the greatest responsibility to account. Therefore, if former president Jammeh steps foot in The Gambia he must be arrested to face justice before a national, regional or international body.
This year, The Government of The Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the ICJ over the genocide against Rohingya in a bid to end impunity. It is in the same spirit that we call on The Gambia Government to clearly affirm its commitment to cooperate with Victims of the Jammeh regime and clearly affirm that former president will be arrested and prosecuted for his crimes, should he step foot in The Gambia.
The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations will continue to work with relevant partners to facilitate justice to victims, through national, regional and international mechanisms to ensure that peace continues to prevail in the country. Not only must justice be done it must also be seen to be done.
Dated 13th January,2020.