Following consultations with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) will today resume its public hearings with continuation of witnesses testifying on road attacks by former President Yahya Jammeh’s motorcade and conditions at Gambia’s prisons.
The TRRC suspended public hearings and face-to-face outreach activities on March 18 following government’s announcement of an initial three-week suspension of public gatherings in response to the covid-19 crisis. The end of that initial three-week period coincided with the beginning of the Commission’s Ramadan break. The Secretariat, however, remained partially open as staff came in as they could but mainly worked from home. The Research and Investigations, Victim Support, Finance, and Human Resources units continued their work without much interruption, while other units scaled down operations.
In light of the current State of Emergency and covid-19 rules and regulations, the TRRC assures that seating arrangements for commissioners and staff at the hearing hall would be reconfigured to accommodate physical distancing and other precautionary measures.
“It is also anticipated that only a few family members or close relatives of witnesses will be allowed in the hall, in addition to essential TRRC support staff including interpreters, sound engineers, psychosocial and medical support workers, security officers and media personnel. While all media houses will still be able to cover the proceedings, measures will be put in place to ensure that social distancing and other covid-19 rules are observed.”
The truth commission further indicated that the resumption of the public hearings is in accordance with the Commission’s schedule and work plan for 2020.
“It would also mean that the Commission would have lost only two weeks of hearings. In that case, public hearings will be projected to end during the last, rather than the first week of November 2020 as initially planned.”