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GAMBIA – Former Minister Ousman Sonko referred to Swiss court for crimes against humanity

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Article by our special envoy Ngoya Ndiaye from Dakar

A former interior minister of former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh (1994-2017) was referred to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court “for crimes against humanity”. The information was provided by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday 18 April 2023.

After an extensive investigation that lasted more than six years, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPC, Public Prosecutor’s Office) filed its indictment against Ousman Sonko with the federal criminal court on Monday, he said in a statement. He is accused of “supporting, participating and not opposing systematic and widespread attacks carried out in the context of repression by the Gambian security forces against any opponent of President Yahya Jammeh’s regime”.

The MPC reproaches him in particular for having participated, ordered, facilitated and/or failed to prevent murders, acts of torture, rapes and unlawful detention in five events between 2000 and 2016″. Mr. Sonko has been in pre-trial detention since his arrest on 26 January 2017 in Switzerland, where he applied for asylum after being dismissed from his position as Minister of the Interior, which he held for 10 years until September 2016. The investigation involved numerous hearings of the accused, about forty hearings of complaining parties, persons with information and witnesses, as well as 6 trips to Gambia by the Directorate of Procedure in the context of a mutual legal assistance obtained from the Gambian authorities.

Mr. Sonko’s arrest in 2017 followed a criminal complaint filed by the Geneva-based non-governmental organization Trial International, which is fighting impunity around the world. Since 2011, Swiss civil justice has

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GAMBIA

GAMBIA – President Barrow says Gambia has gone through a national socio-political crisis

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Gambian leader Adama Barrow said that The Gambia had moved from a national socio-political crisis brought about by undemocratic tendencies to a chain of global crises that have a revealing effect on well-being.be, the economy and the development prospects of the nation.
He added that, as a result, the evolution of its administration during these years was marked by the implementation of unplanned but pragmatic crisis management strategies, alongside a determined and successful execution of well-defined and impactful national initiatives.

He made this statement during the 2023 State of the Nation Address to the National Assembly in Banjul on Thursday, where he said that “As serious as the situation may be, my Government has successfully met national and international challenges to achieve remarkable achievements in various aspects of nation building.” “Infrastructure development, social services, digitalization, production, vulnerable groups (especially women, youth and people with disabilities), employment, trade, food security and energy are among the many issues that my administration places a sustained focus and priority on.

All are alive in my speech. We will strategically focus on people to build on our achievements,” he said. He added, “Indeed, 2022 has been eventful, especially for the Legislative Assembly, as it has led to the composition of the diverse Assembly we have today. The loss of a vice-president, seventy innocent children and other dear citizens are among the tragic events of the year. We pray that the departed souls will continue to rest in peace.”

President Barrow added, “Politically, like all other countries, we share global concerns about internal security and crime, the cost of living, stability, employment, public service and productivity.” He noted, however, that the most critical factor threatening peace and development is disunity. “As I always observe, we may belong to different political parties, religious denominations or other social groups, but we must unite as a nation to achieve our national goals.”President Barrow told the Gambians in his address on the state of the nation.

He added that “the fundamental mandates of the executive, the legislative and the judiciary are intertwined and require us to work together in harmony.” “No one is an island and no unit in an interconnected structure can function in isolation.” He said, “Once we have a common goal, such as the development and progress of the people we serve, there will always be a need to unite and a way to do so.”

Fortunately, we subscribe to democracy and can collectively come together around its principles to merge our programs in the national interest; that is, if we sincerely commit to supporting the people and acting on their behalf. “If democracy is not seen simply as a political tool to gain an advantage over others, but applied as a transformative social construct, our communities, institutions and the nation will fare better, and we will all live in peace. », he stressed.

President Barrow added that the recent local council elections provided a golden opportunity for the nation to put these democratic principles into action and to rise again in the global political landscape. He called on the hon. members of the House to dialogue and to initiate bipartisan cooperation in the exercise of their functions, in the exercise of their functions, in a positively democratic manner. This would allow you to raise questions not only from the point of view of political parties, but also from the truly patriotic point of view and through the lenses of the people.

“The legal frameworks, policies and programs developed and mentioned in my speech are relevant and powerful enough to guide people towards success,” he said. He said their effective implementation relies on professionals and their agents of action, but that this Assembly and the public have a facilitative role to play in the process. I assure you that the Puli Service Ministry also has all the policies and will monitor their implementation.

Source: PANAPRESS

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GAMBIA

GAMBIA – Lawsuits against Yahya Jammeh demanded

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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was tasked with investigating the crimes and abuses committed by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh from 1994 to 2016, demanded on December 24, 2021, the trial and conviction of the former dictator and all his accomplices. According to the Commission, the former head of state should be prosecuted for “murder, arbitrary detention, disappearances.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, tasked with investigating former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, presented its report on Friday, 24 December 2021. One of the Commission’s strong recommendations is the continuation of the Gambian politician and the holding of his trial outside Gambian territory. The Commission wants a trial “in a West African country other than The Gambia, under the aegis of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and/or the African Union.” For 22 years at the head of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh was accused of being responsible for the death of several citizens of the country as well as the disappearance of many others. Openly abusing his power, the former president terrorized the Gambian people with a clear and unprecedented violation of citizens’ rights. .” For a period of twenty-two years, from 22 July 1994, Yahya Jammeh and her colleagues [members of the APRC, the presidential party] and other co-authors committed serious crimes in The Gambia,” the report said.

The report, written in seventeen volumes, has been in the hands of the current Gambian President, Adama Barrow, since 25 November 2021. The Commission has apparently forgotten nothing, it has listed all the crimes and crimes committed by Yahya Jammeh during the 22 years spent at the head of the supreme judiciary: assassinations, acts of torture, enforced disappearances, rapes and castrations, arbitrary arrests, witch hunts, until the forced administration of a fake AIDS treatment. 

The Gambian Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow, said the government is committed to implementing the recommendations of the Commission’s reports. In fact, a white paper on these same recommendations is expected to be published before May 25, 2022.

The truth and reconciliation commission was established in 2017. From January 2019 to May 2021, she interviewed more than 393 witnesses, victims and former «junglers» («broussards»), members of the regime’s death squads, who came to expose what they had to do under the presidency of Yahya Jammeh. Atrocities and unspeakable acts of torture that have often offended the sensibilities of Commission members. The report indicated that between 240 and 250 people died in the hands of the state and its agents.

The American lawyer, Reed Brody, who worked with the victims, also highlighted the urgent need to hold a trial that was so much demanded by the victims and by the entire Gambian people. “After the powerful public testimonies before the TRRC that deeply affected the Gambians, there will be a lot of pressure in The Gambia and abroad, so that justice can be done without delay for the victims who have already waited five years and sometimes longer.” ,” he said.

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GAMBIA

GAMBIA – Adama Barrow to run for second term

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The Independent Electoral Commission of the Gambia announced on Sunday, December 5, 2021, the victory of outgoing President Adama Barrow in the presidential election on Saturday, December 4. Yahya Jammeh’s rookie in 2016 will run for a second term at the head of the Gambia with 53.2% of the vote, according to the overall results.

Adama Barrow will lead The Gambia for a second five-year term. His victory was announced by Alieu Momar Ndjie, the president of the Electoral Commission, who puts the politician ahead with 458,519 out of some 900,000 voters, or 53.2%. Its main rival, Ousainou Darboe, follows far behind with 238,253 votes, or 27.7%. Activists of the National People’s Party (NPP), party of President Adma Barrow, met in the center of the capital, next to the presidential palace, to celebrate the re-election of Yahya Jammeh’s executioner in 2016.

The announcement of the results was slightly delayed since the tradition in The Gambia is to announce the results 24 hours after the elections. The opponent, Ousainou Darboe, made a statement from his home, along with other unhappy candidates, to criticize this slowness in the publication of the results but also and especially to castigate, According to him, the scandalous organization of the election and the shameful candidacy of the outgoing president.

It should be noted that five years ago, Adama Barrow, a 56-year-old former real estate developer, thwarted predictions and defeated dictator Yahya Jammeh. His election put an end to more than twenty years of a regime characterized by a multitude of atrocities committed by the State and its agents: assassinations, enforced disappearances, rapes, acts of torture… He also promised to serve only one term as head of the country, but he still ran in that election.

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