The president of the Gambia Bar Association has strongly recommended a regional-backed hybrid court to try the Jammeh-era crimes but insists that Gambians must own the process.
Salieu Taal was addressing an international conference of human rights lawyers and activists discussing the implementation of Gambia’s TRRC recommendations on prosecution.
“Any recommendations by the TRRC for the prosecution of abusive officials should be followed by a process of criminal accountability,” Taal said. Adding that internationalisation could provide more capacity and give victims a greater role in trials.
Taal’s position conformed with Adama Dieng, the special adviser to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who said,
“if the Gambian government is unwilling or unable to prosecute Jammeh-era crimes, the ICC in conformity with the principle of complementarity in international criminal law may do its part in investigating and prosecuting those most responsible.”
Adding that “legal responsibility for prosecuting these crimes rests in the first instance with the government of the Gambia. We hope and we expect that the Gambia will be able to effectively prosecute these crimes either alone or with the support of regional or international partners.
However, whether it is in The Gambia, or another African country, before a special court, or at the ICC, justice must happen, and justice will happen.”
The Senegalese-born lawyer, who was addressing the meeting via a video link from his base at The Hague, revealed that “Impunity is not an option in The Gambia.