Amnesty International has issued a statement on Monday welcoming the start of the Commission’s hearing as an “important initial step towards securing justice, truth and reparations in Gambia and shows a strong commitment by the government to break with a past of systematic human rights violations”.
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission of the Gambia (TRRC) established to probe the human rights violations of former dictator Yahya Jammeh has began hearing on Monday.
The first session of the commission is looking into the chain of events that led to the toppling of the constitutional order by Jammeh.
Ebrima Chongan, a police commander at the time of the coup who trained former ruler Jammeh, was the first witness before the Commission.
Chongan was among the first 29 senior security officials who were detained by the Junta for over 45 days incommunicado.
A commander of the armed wing of the Gambia Police Force call the Tactical Support Group, Chongan narrated the perceived dissatisfactions in the army that led to the coup and the failure of institutions that made it easy to come through.
In September, Chongan and several others were subjected to a mock execution. He narrated the horrible conditions under which they were detained at State Central Prison, Mile 2.
“I was coughed at the back and Sana Sabally was kicking me,” he said. “These were very difficult moments.”
Meanwhile, several other top Government officials, diplomats and victims have attended the opening ceremony of TRRC.
Abdou Karim Jammeh, one of the students who were shot on April 10 during a student demonstration, told Kerr Fatou that the day means everything to them.
“This is important because it will help us to understand who ordered for us to be shot,” said Jammeh.
“This is the most significance day of our transition… This gives us an opportunity to have a new beginning—it is an opportunity to correct the wrongs of the past two decades,” Pa Samba Jawo told Kerr Fatou.
Jawo however said there should be judicial justice.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has issued a statement on Monday welcoming the start of the Commission’s hearing as an “important initial step towards securing justice, truth and reparations in Gambia and shows a strong commitment by the government to break with a past of systematic human rights violations”.
“We hope that the testimonies and the information collected during these hearings will enable the truth to be known and made public and contribute to a renewed commitment to justice and accountability for all those Gambians that have been victims of human rights violations for more than 22 years,” said Amnesty on Monday.
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was established and launched on 5th October 2018 to look into alleged human rights violations during the 22-year rule of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.