The Gambia’s Justice Minister told donor meeting in Brussels that the return of the ‘rogue’ soldiers who have left with former ruler Yahya Jammeh shows their faith in the country’s justice system.
Abubacarr Tambadou, The Gambia’s Justice Minister, has told his audience at a donor meeting in Brussels that the military leaders who have left with Jammeh have come back because they believed they will have fair trial.
About two months ago, generals Ansumana Tamba and Umpa Mendy who have left with Jammeh have come back. Their two are currently undergoing trial at a court martial where they face charges of desertion. Both denied any wrongdoing.
“Moreover, the recent voluntary return in January 2018 of two former senior officials of the Gambia Armed Forces who had followed former President Jammeh into exile in 2017 is an implicit demonstration of faith in the new administration of justice system in The Gambia.
Their voluntary return to the country indicates a degree of confidence that they will receive fair treatment and a fair trial, and further suggests a lack of fear of being tortured or mistreated upon arrest. They have since been taken into custody and are now being tried in a court martial that is open to public scrutiny. The Government of The Gambia is ready and willing to accept visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross to monitor their conditions of detention,” Tambadou said.
“Reports of arbitrary arrests by security forces have significantly reduced, and there is no more detention without trial, disappearance, State sanctioned murder or indeed torture. All of the measures described here today are concrete steps that demonstrate the commitment of the new Government of The Gambia to rebuilding robust institutions and upholding the highest standards of human rights norms.”
Following the arrival of the two generals, Jammeh’s nanny Isatou Jammeh also arrived in the country about two week ago.
Tambadou had flown to Brussels with President Adama Barrow to attend a donor conference meant to mobilize support for the country’s development plan.
Barrow was able to mobilize a donor pledge of $1.47 billion.
Gambians ended a 2-decade old-school dictatorship during which several people lost their lives and many others tortured or arbitrarily jailed. But Tambadou said the Barrow administration has enacted a National Human Rights Commission to promote and protect human rights.
“We also now have a draft anti-corruption commission bill ready for enactment before end of year,” he said.
Minister Tambadou also promised that the Government will give priority to the right to freedom of expression and assembly as they embark on their reform agenda.
“There shall be a comprehensive review of all existing criminal justice legislation with particular focus on laws intended to stifle freedom of expression and assembly in line with international best practices,” he added.