Draft bill on truth, reconciliation and reparations commission concluded

By Kebba Jeffang

The Attorney General and minister of Justice Aboubacarr Tambadou has disclosed that the draft bill on the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) has been concluded and shared with the international experts for review.

He was speaking at a press conference held on 20thJuly, at the attorney general chambers.

“The Ministry has now concluded the first review of the draft TRRC bill. We have also now shared this draft bill with international experts who have acquired experience on the establishment of truth commissions from around the world,” he said.

Tambadou emphasised that while the government will seek the views of outsiders on the truth commission process, the TRRC will be designed by the people of The Gambia based on a model that fits the particular social, cultural, political and historical context of The Gambia.

“The ministry intends to lead a team on a tour of all the administrative regions of the country to engage the people in discussions about the TRRC process.

He said the touring team will be selected from a cross-section of Gambian religious, political, ethnic, civil society, professional, and youth and women communities.

“We hope to start this public engagement tour in early August 2017 so that the finalized draft bill will be tabled before the National assembly in September.

If the bill is passed into law, the recruitment exercise for positions in the TRRC will commence soon after to ensure that we remain on course to start hearings by the end of the year as planned,” he said.

He said the recruitment will be done through an open competitive process for most of the posts with a few exceptions such as direct appointments by the President.

The AG added that the ministry has already started reaching out to Christian and Islamic religious leaders for cooperation.

“This is particularly important as perpetrators and victims of abuses continue to live together in small communities with mistrust and suspicion hovering over them and that this needs to be addressed in an open, transparent and truthful manner.

“Conversely, the Ministry of Justice condemns unequivocally all acts or utterances that encourage sectarianism in this country,” he said.

He welcomes the official establishment of the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations.

Meanwhile, on asset freezing of former president Jammeh, Tambadou said they have now filed a supplemental list of assets before the High Court in Banjul for the inclusion of these newly discovered assets in the freezing order.

“So far, this new list includes 49 additional landed properties located in the greater Banjul area bringing the total number of known landed properties owned by former President Yahya Jammeh to 180 in the country,” he said.