By Yankuba Jallow and Kebba Touray
Truth, reconciliation and reparations commission to be established
Attorney General Tambedou said they will establish a truth and reparation commission whose principal objective will be to give the victims of abuses a voice by allowing them to share their stories, give perpetrators the opportunity to tell the truth about these abuses in a manner that normal criminal proceedings will not permit and to give appropriate compensation to the victims for loss or injury suffered as a result of the abuses.
He opined that the process will lead to a healing on the part of victims and ultimately reconciliation across a broad spectrum of Gambian society who has been affected either directly or indirectly by the events of the past 22 years.
“As a government, we have a responsibility to actively foster social cohesion and encourage national reconciliation” he said.
He added that he and his colleagues went on a study tour in Sierra Leone and they have special interest in their version of their truth and reconciliation commission which he said is with him under review.
He also said that there is a draft Bill for the establishment of The Gambia Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission which will be presented at the National Assembly as soon as it is finalised by the Ministry and approved by the Cabinet. He averred that they will ensure documentation of an accurate historical record of the past abuses so that appropriate lessons can be learned to put in place mechanisms to prevent recurrence.
He held that there must be a post-mortem of the past starting July 22, 1994, in order to understand how we come to this point and how the infrastructure of terror was created. He warned that perpetrators who fail to come to tell the truth will face prosecution whilst those who come will have benefit which includes guarantees against future prosecution in appropriate cases.
He promised that there will be justice for all those who suffered during the past 22 years. He advised that the people should continue to demonstrate maturity in their actions as a nation and in particular in their quest for justice.
All of ex-president Jammeh’s Assets Frozen
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ba Tambedou said the assets of the former president Jammeh are been frozen on court order.
The frozen assets includes 131 landed properties and companies directly associated with him, 88 different bank accounts, 14 companies purportedly belonging to him and a number of animals and livestock all purportedly belonging to the former leader Yahya Jammeh.
He said that the freezing order made at the court came about when discovery was made of unauthorized withdrawals of millions of dalasis and foreign currencies by the former leader. He disclosed that the Order is therefore meant to prevent the former leader from liquidating or dissipating assets held in his name or his assets held in the name of his close associates or agents so as not to cause prejudice to the state should there be adverse findings made against him by a court of competent jurisdiction which may require the recovery of assets and monies from him by the state.
He added that if any other assets are found belonging to the former President or to companies or organization directly associated with him in this country which are not included in the Freezing Order they will take appropriate measures about that.
He warned that any person in possession of assets purportedly belonging to the former leader and fails to disclose it may be committing an offence.
In his final remarks, A.G. Tambedou said they are finalising the draft terms of reference for the establishment of a commission of enquiry to look into the financial and business related activities of former President Yahya Jammeh.
Three Important appointments
The Hon. Attorney General revealed that three assistants have been appointed who will assist him in fulfillment of his task.
The three assistants are Hussein Thomasi as Special adviser to the A.G, Cherno Marena as the Solicitor General and Legal Secretary and Katherine Muhren who will assist the Ministry of Justice with complex international commercial agreements.
He promised that his office will continue to attract highly qualified and competent personnel to the Ministry by improving the conditions of service among other measures in order to meet the growing demand of their work.