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TRRC hears 188 victims

Dec 23, 2019, 3:37 PM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

At least 188 victims (witnesses), including 51 women, 35 perpetrators, alleged perpetrators and adversely mentioned persons, and 23 Gambian Diaspora witnesses have testified before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), according to its executive secretary, Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow.

He added that some alleged witches, one closed-door hearing and two protected witness hearings were held during this period.

“From the very start, the TRRC has operated on the principle that the ultimate rationale for its establishment and the establishment of all truth commissions is to prevent a recurrence of human right violations that happened in the past,” Dr. Jallow said.

He was speaking during a press briefing, in which he acknowledged before journalists that the TRRC also operated on the conviction, based on verifiable evidence, that truth commission’s reports and recommendations alone do not necessarily prevent recurrence.

For that reason, he said the TRRC adopted an operational strategy that allowed the commission to investigate the past and create an impartial historical record of human rights violations. This was done with a view to making recommendations to the government at the end of its mandate. It also  at the same time conducted outreach activities that address those causes and enablers of dictatorship and political impunity that lie outside of any institutional, administrative and legal reforms that the commission may recommend in its final report.

“In line with our dual process approach to the work of truth commissions with hearings on one hand and outreach activities on the other; TRRC units have conducted close to 100 town hall meetings, village dialogues, women’s and men’s listening circles, and school visits across the country since October 2018. In essence, the TRRC has consistently worked as a Janus-faced commission that, while investigating and recording past human rights violations, has its sights firmly set on helping build a Gambia in which citizens are empowered enough to hold their government responsible and to say no to any signs of dictatorship or human rights violations.”

He indicated that the TRRC is lucky to be one of very few truth commissions in the world to be given the power to grant reparations to victims; adding that most truth commissions can only recommend reparations.