Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou has met with dozen of victims of human rights violations of former President Yahya Jammeh amidst controversy over his planned release of Junglers.
The three Junglers, Omar Jallow, Malick Jatta and Amadou Badgie, were hit-men reportedly operating on the orders of former President Jammeh who confessed to killings of dozens of people including journalist Deyda Hydara.
Minister Tambadou wrote a letter to the army recommending the release of the three given their level of cooperation with the Commission. Tambadou’s planned release of the Junglers caused huge controversy.
On Friday morning, Tambadou meet some victims at the Victims Centre to make his case to them. Tambadou reiterated his message that his decision is in the best interest of the victims and the truth seeking process the country has embarked upon.
“It is important to encourage truth telling… When that happens, those who lost their loved ones can know their fate. But if the perpetrators come and confessed to their crimes and we arrest them, others will not come—they will be scared away,” said Tambadou.
Tambadou said the decision to release Junglers is a difficult one but it is a burden he is prepared to take.
“…There are some who have asked us to prosecute them. In court cases, you need witnesses… And if you need to prosecute anyone in the future, you need witnesses,” said Tambadou, suggesting the Junglers could be used in future state prosecutions.
He also said he is not in a position to say who carries the greatest responsibility of a particular crime if the investigation is not completed by the Truth Commission.
“People who speak the truth will be released but people who do not speak the truth, I will not release those and I am ready to take that responsibility. For those who speak the truth, I need those. This is how much I can say,” said Tambadou.
Meanwhile, the meeting with the victims was coordinated by the Victim Centre. Also in attendance was John Charles Njie, the chairperson of Tango.
Also present was Dr Amadou Scattred Janneh. For Dr Janneh, there was a flaw in the minister’s approach.
“The Minister should have seen the Victims first and have dialogue with them before taking the decision… If you take the decision without first having dialogue with the victims, it would bring problems,” said Dr Janneh.