The former boss of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) of Ghana, Justice Emile Short, has on Thursday urged president Ado to seek extradition of Jammeh to Ghana to face justice.
A coalition of activists and human right lawyers who have built a case against former president Yahya Jammeh are now calling for his extradition to Ghana to face justice over the killings of their 44 nationals in Gambia in 2005.
Migrants who were reportedly mistaken for mercenaries were rounded up and shot by a paramilitary hit-squad on the orders of Jammeh, the investigators have uncovered.
Activists told a press conference on Thursday that they have had a compelling case sufficient to put away the former dictator.
“I was in Ghana on the 18 of April and met with civil society activists in the country and also the families of victims in Kumasi… We have had a whole day meeting with the victims’ families,” said Ayesha Jammeh, from the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations.
Ayesha, whose father Haruna Jammeh was also reportedly murdered by the former ruler, was in Ghana in April this year to meet president Nana Kufor Ado over the issue.
The current president of Ghana Ado was the foreign minister of the West African country at the time of the incident in 2005.
Ado came to the Gambia on orders of his government at the time but the case was solved politically through diplomatic means.
“We also met the Ghanaian president which was very important. He has key interest in the case and we told him that we have new evidences in the case… He said his Government will get back to us,” Ayesha said.
The case is now gaining interest in both Ghana and Gambia.
On Thursday, the former boss of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) of Ghana, Justice Emile Short, has told local media that president Ado should seek extradition of Jammeh to Ghana to face justice.
Short said the former Gambian dictator has to face consequences for the murder of 44 Ghanaians in the Gambia.
“The courts in Ghana, the Attorney General can invoke in order to bring Yahya Jammeh to justice. Because the last hurdle is the extradition,” Short said.
“We have to get Jammeh into this country and that also is a political matter. But it is my hope that if government takes seriously, and I hope it does, that the president will do well to make sure that Yahya Jammeh is extradited into this country to face the law.”
Marion Volkmann, an international lawyer who has worked on many similar cases including that of the former Chadian dictator Hussein Habre, said they are hoping that Ghana will reopen the case.
Already the natives of Ghana Town have vowed to cooperate with the Human Rights Watch and TRAIL International, two institutions playing a leading role in the investigations.
Michael Davies, representing the Ghanaian community, said at the press conference that they “want all the bodies to be exhumed and transported to Ghana for proper burial”.
“The community is willing to support every effort by the Human Rights Watch and TRIAL International and whatever assistance is required, we are ready to provide it,” Davies said.
Jammeh, wanted for several crimes in Gambia, is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea. His host Teodoro Obiang has categorically stated that he will not cooperate with any attempt to extradite him.
However, activists are positive he can only protect him for a while. “We can raise the cost for Equatorial Guinea to keeping Yahya Jammeh…,” Volkmann said.
“This is a responsibility we owe to ourselves… From a moral and legal point of view, every Gambian has a responsibility to ensure that this country is cleansed from such crimes committed in our name, through our institutions using our resources. For me, Gambia’s soul is in prison and we need to free it by making sure that those who committed these crimes are brought to justice,” said Madi Jobarteh, coordinator of Jammeh-to-justice campaign and executive director association of Gambian NGOs.
Meanwhile, the activists criticized the retention of some key members of Jammeh’s security forces in the police, intelligence agency and the army.
Marion Volkmann said the headquarters of the country’s spy agency that is controlled by the same people who were there under Jammeh is a “crime scene” and evidence there could be tampered with.
The Jammeh-to-justice campaign has started little over a year ago led by a lawyer for Human Rights Watch, Reed Brody and victims centre.