Ex- Gambia’s Justice Minister Optimistic Dictator Jammeh Must Face Justice

By Bakary Ceesay

Abubacarr Marie Tambadou
Abubacarr Marie Tambadou

Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, outgoing Attorney General has assured Gambians that former president Yahya Jammeh will surely be in court one day to face justice for the atrocities he commit.

He advised the supporters of ex president Yahya Jammeh to wake up from dreams and move on, saying the former president will surely have his day in court one day.

Tambadou resigned as justice minister effect from 30th June, 2019 and he is expected to Join  United Nations Abubacarr  as the registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).

During a press conference on Friday to bid farewell said: “I am aware that my principled position on former President Yaya Jammeh has not endeared me to his supporters and sympathisers, and to them I say, Jammeh belongs to the past, so wake up from your dreams of a Jammeh political comeback and move on with your lives,” he said.

He accused Jammeh of causing too much pain and suffering to the people of this country throughout his 22-year reign of terror as the TRRC keeps revealing.

“He has during this period destroyed the innocence and soul of Gambian society with the sheer brutality of his crimes, and for this, he will be brought to account someday here or abroad. He will surely have his day in court.”

He therefore, assured the victims of the past regime that justice will be served.

“To the victims of human rights violations and abuses during 22 years of Jammeh’s rule, you will get justice. I have always had you in mind at every stage of our transitional justice process and I have been committed and dedicated to your cause since the first day I was appointed,” he said.

“I know that there have been difficult moments for you and your families in this process and I can only assure you that it will not have been in vain,” he added.

On my part, I have initiated and delivered on the key pillars of our transitional justice process which has now achieved global recognition by experts as being among the best models in the world particularly for its inclusiveness and originality.

During his tenure, Tambadou led the initiations of several transitional justice programs to recover wasted public funds and bring closure to the victims. These include the commission of inquiry (Janneh Commission) to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission.

The Janneh Commission, tasked to inquire into the financial corruption of former President Jammeh, allowed the government to recover over 1.1 billion dalasis so far.

“And in all of these processes, we were able to put together a team of talented and credible Gambians, and I wish to thank them for their service to the country.”

He credited himself for rebuilding a hitherto weakened judiciary, stating that the institution has now become respectable, robust and independent organ of State.

“Immediately after my appointment, I established a Criminal Case and Detention Review Panel which reviewed a total of 241 ongoing criminal cases involving 304 accused persons. I discontinued prosecutions in 36 cases involving 86 accused persons on the basis of insufficient evidence,” he said.

He also claimed that the reported incidents of arbitrary arrests, detention without trial or torture by State agents, which were a hallmark of the Jammeh days, have substantially reduced.

“Freedom of expression which was a luxury in the past is now taken for granted. In sum, The Gambia is no longer in a state of fear.

“Also, during my tenure, the Government’s commitment to international law has strengthened. We rescinded the decision by the Jammeh administration to withdraw The Gambia from the International Criminal Court, paving the way for our continued membership to the ICC.

“We signed and/or ratified a number of international treaties including the UN Convention against Torture, the UN Optional Protocol on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, the UN Convention against Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

He said the government submitted combined periodic reports for the first time since 1985 to the UN Human Rights Council on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and our combined periodic report for the first time since 1994 to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

He hints the preparation for other new bills which include a prohibition of torture bill to criminalize acts of torture for the first time in The Gambia; an international crimes bill to cover mass atrocity crimes like genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity; an access to information bill, an anti-corruption bill, and various other amendments to remove discriminatory laws against women in our society.

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