Gambia: Govt Warns Will Not Condone TRRC Mockery, Intimidation

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Banjul, Gambia
20 January 2020

Attorney General and minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou, said the government continues to demonstrate its commitment to the welfare of the victims by making an initial payment of 50 million dalasis to the TRRC Victims' Trust Fund, part of which was used to provide overseas medical treatment for some victims.

"Let those who mock at or use threatening or abusive language against the victims be warned, do not test the limits of our democratic tolerance or confuse our respect for the rule of law with weakness," he said during the opening of the Legal Year 2020 at the High Court Complex in Banjul

"We will not, under any circumstances, accept the intimidation or harassment of victims and witnesses by anyone. The change in December 2016 is as much about sensitivity to the plight of Jammeh's victims as it is about our collective destiny as a people."

Nevertheless, he continued, "great care must be taken not to undermine or be seen to undermine all the efforts invested in the transitional justice process. We have all worked too hard to throw it all away on the altar of political expediency. History will not judge us kindly if we engage in acts that undermine public confidence in these processes and ignore the pains and sufferings of the victims and their families."

The Justice minister maintained that the country still has too many challenges and "we cannot in just three short years resolve all those challenges to the satisfaction of everyone."

"So, our transition from dictatorship to democracy will continue to be fraught with challenges especially in governance but we are determined to succeed. We are on course to set a solid foundation for a modern democratic society anchored upon respect for the rule of law and human rights," he stated, adding "we will do everything possible as a responsible government to consolidate these new found freedoms and democratic gains which too many have fought and died for."

The past year, he explained, has been an eventful one especially with respect to the transitional justice processes. "The Janneh Commission submitted its comprehensive Report on the financial corruption of former President Jammeh and his close associates and the government issued its White Paper in reaction to the report," he reechoed.

The government, he continued, has since started implementing the recommendations of the Commission for the recovery of stolen and misappropriated monies. The sale of assets and of former President Jammeh's properties is currently on-going in phases and has already generated hundreds of millions of Dalasis and more is expected in the coming months.

"We will intensify our recovery efforts in the course of this year by using all legal means at our disposal including civil and especially criminal proceedings against uncooperative culprits."

One of the biggest challenges to our democratic reform process, Tambadou said, "lies in our security sector reform. There is continuing mistrust between ordinary citizens and our men and women in uniform in spite of the best efforts of individual law enforcement agencies to change their approach to law enforcement in the country."

"Therefore, it is clear that there is an urgent need for a coordinated, efficient and quick security sector reform process and we encourage the general public to exercise more patience and understanding as this is a complex process that requires tact, professionalism, and care."

"We must also recognize that a complete institutional transformation of our law enforcement agencies will require a longer and more focused effort but we are determined to see this reform through."

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