Gambia: No One Should Tamper With the Independence of the TRRC

Section 6 of the TRRC Act states,

"The Commission shall-

(a) be impartial and fair in the performance of its functions; and

(b) not be subject to the direction and control of any person or authority."

Section 29 of the same Act indicates what should happen when the TRRC completes its investigations into violations and abuses of human rights. It states,

"The Commission shall submit a report of its work to the President at the end of its operations.

(1) The report shall state the findings of the Commission and shall make recommendations concerning the reforms and other measures needed to achieve the object of the Commission.

(2) The report shall include-

(a) measures aimed at reconciliation and peace building

(b) individual collective reparation of victims; and

(c) recommendations that include initiatives on human rights and peace building studies for children."

It must therefore be questioned whether testimonies would not be affected if those testifying do so with the threat of being removed, suspended or alienated in any way from their jobs.

The objective of setting up the TRRC is to be able to adduce voluntary confessions without any fear so that the truth will be known. The TRRC should therefore be concerned with the aftermath of the testimonies of their witnesses. Due process is an important element in the dispensation of justice.

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