Gambia


    Week in Review: Victims still waiting for justice in Gambia, Sri Lanka and Laos
    17.11.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.Net

    This week JusticeInfo.net took a closer look at transitional justice issues affecting Gambia, where civil society is campaigning to bring ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh to justice, and Sri Lanka, where the government is dragging its feet on promises of justice for victims of the civil war. We also looked at human rights in a forgotten country, Laos. In Gambia Baba Hydara, son of journalist Deyda Hydara who was one of the suspected victims of Jammeh’s 25-year dictatorship, explained his fight to get justice. The journalist was assassinated on December 16, 2004, with Jammeh’s death squad widely...

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    “Many options” to bring Jammeh to justice, says murdered Gambian journalist’s son
    10.11.17
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    Baba Hydara is the son of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, who was assassinated in 2004. The former regime of President Yahya Jammeh is widely suspected of being behind his murder. Baba Hydara has been fighting ever since to get justice for his father, who was one of the many victims of the Jammeh regime that ruled Gambia with an iron fist for nearly a quarter of a century. So it is natural that he is part of the new “Jammeh2Justice” coalition, which wants Jammeh tried for his crimes. The former dictator finally stepped down in January 2017 after being beaten in elections by current...

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    Lawyer who felled Habré to pursue Gambian Yahya Jammeh
    30.08.17
    Pierre Hazan

    Human rights lawyer Reed Brody became known for working with the victims of General Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier. More recently, Brody was counsel for victims of former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, who, after an interminable struggle, was sentenced by a special African court in Senegal to life in prison. Now, returning to Human Rights Watch after a  one-year absence, Brody is lending his support to the victims of Gambia’s ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh.  Jammeh ruled with an iron fist for 22 years before stepping down under popular...

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    Two charged for 2004 murder of Gambian journalist Hydara
    19.05.17
    AFP

    Two fugitive former army officers have been indicted over the 2004 murder of prominent Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara, judicial sources said. The court in Banjul also separately issued an arrest warrant for ex-interior minister Ousman Sonko over the death of former intelligence chief Daba Marenah. Hydara, 65, an outspoken critic of then president Yahya Jammeh, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in his car on the outskirts of Banjul in December 2004. He was the editor and co-founder of the independent newspaper The Point and a one-time Gambia correspondent for Agence France-Presse...

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    Gambia's 'broken' justice system struggles with victims' ire
    12.05.17
    AFP

    Gambians want swift justice for the crimes of fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh's regime but the new government faces an uphill battle to jail the most prolific abusers. Silenced for 22 years, victims shot or tortured by Jammeh's security services are now speaking out, along with families whose loved ones have been pulled from recently found unmarked graves. But the cash-strapped government refuses to put anyone else in the dock, burnt by a high-profile, politically charged case this year that has run into procedural and systemic problems. "In terms of prosecutions, we are not at that...

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    Swiss extend detention of Gambian ex-minister
    03.05.17
    AFP

    Switzerland said Wednesday it has extended the detention of former Gambian interior minister Ousman Sonko after "progress" in a crimes against humanity probe. Sonko was a top lieutenant of The Gambia's fallen dictator Yahya Jammeh, who was forced from office in January by west African powers after he refused to accept defeat in a December election. Sonko has been accused of overseeing and committing torture while heading the interior ministry from 2006 to 2016. He fled to Sweden after Jammeh sacked him in September, before arriving in Switzerland in November. Swiss authorities...

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    Gambia: Justice for Jammeh-Era Abuses Crucial
    21.04.17
    Human Rights Watch

    New Government Should Develop Roadmap for Prosecutions (Nairobi) – Gambia’s government should act to prosecute those responsible for grave crimes committed during the 22-year rule of Yahya Jammeh. Fair trials are crucial for victims and their families and for building respect for the rule of law in the country. In a March 6, 2017 letter to Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou, Human Rights Watch encouraged the new government of President Adama Barrow to develop a strategy detailing how it intends to hold to account those implicated in the arbitrary arrests, torture,...

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    Week in Review: Gambia searches for justice, while Mali struggles with reconciliation
    17.04.17
    Ephrem Rugiririza, JusticeInfo.Net

    This week, JusticeInfo looked at the first steps being taken by judicial authorities in The Gambia to deal with the innumerable crimes committed under the long rule of Yahya Jammeh, who is now in exile. Meanwhile,  people in Mali suspect that the new government has been formed not to push the stalled peace and reconciliation process forward but to prepare the re-election in 2018 of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and his political clan. New Gambian president Adama Barrow, who has vowed to make his mandate a three-year transition, has no time to lose. Three months after his investiture, his...

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    Judging crimes of the Jammeh era poses challenge in Gambia
    12.04.17
    Maxime Domegni, West Africa correspondent

    Gambia is awaiting the creation of a transitional justice mechanism promised by the new government to help heal wounds after 22 years of dictatorial rule under former president Yahya Jammeh. In the meantime, police and judiciary have opened a series of investigations into forced disappearances under the former authorities. The task is not likely to be easy, especially since there are still people close to the former regime in the administration and judiciary. According to a police official quoted by Agence France Presse, 33 files have so far been opened on forced disappearances under the...

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    Barrow appoints Gambian UN prosecutor as chief justice
    15.02.17
    AFP

    President Adama Barrow appointed a Gambian UN prosecutor as chief justice of the Supreme Court on Wednesday, ending a series of controversial foreign appointments to the position by former leader Yahya Jammeh. Hassan Bubacar Jallow has served in the appeals chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and as a prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. Barrow's government had vowed to implement a "Gambianisation" of the justice system after Jammeh named several chief justices from Pakistan and Nigeria. Foreign judges were regularly accused of kowtowing to the regime because their contracts could be easily terminated, and some were hired to hear a...

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    Gambia: Will justice one day catch up with Yahya Jammeh?
    06.02.17
    Maxime DOMEGNI, regional correspondent

    It was under threat of a military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia for 22 years, finally decided to cede power to the winner of the December 1, 2016 election. Jammeh, who is now in Equatorial Guinea, is counting on the protection of his host country to avoid accountability for the many crimes and human rights abuses committed under his regime. As he went into exile on the night of Saturday January 21, Yahya Jammeh left behind him a wounded nation whose scars will take time to heal. Under the regime of the man who...

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    Week in Review: Tests for international justice in Switzerland and France
    30.01.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The arrest of a former Gambian Interior Minister in Switzerland this week is a test of the reach and limits of international justice, as is the earlier arrest in France of an ex-Prime Minister of Kosovo. Ousman Sonko, who is being held in Berne for suspected “crimes against humanity” was Interior Minister for 10 years under Gambia’s brutal and capricious former dictator Yahya Jammeh. He was arrested under pressure from Swiss NGO Trial International which filed a criminal case against him for torture. “As Interior Minister of The Gambia from 2006 to 2016, Sonko was head of the police and he...

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    Arrest of Gambian ex-minister in Switzerland an “important sign” for torture victims
    26.01.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo

    Just days after long-time Gambian President Yahya Jammeh went into exile following electoral defeat and the threat of regional military intervention, his former Interior Minister Ousman Sonko has been arrested in Switzerland. This comes after Geneva-based NGO TRIAL International filed a criminal complaint to the authorities in Berne, where Sanko had applied for asylum. Sonko was Interior Minister from 2006 until he was dismissed by Jammeh in September 2016. So what are the allegations against him? JusticeInfo spoke to Bénédict De Moerloose, head of the Criminal Law and Investigation division...

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    African “withdrawals” from the ICC produce a new twist…
    09.12.16
    Pierre Hazan

    At the end of October, three African countries announced with fanfare that they were leaving the International Criminal Court (ICC). They slammed it for lack of legitimacy, unjustified attacks against Africans and neo-colonialism. But it is intriguing to note the developments in these three countries (Burundi, South Africa and Gambia) a few weeks later. There may yet be some strange twists to the story, including Gambia’s likely imminent return to the ICC.  The world is decidedly unpredictable. That is certainly what Yahya Jammeh, the autocrat who ruled The Gambia for 22 years and warned...

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    Week in Review: New African blow to the ICC, and Tunisia prepares for victim hearings
    31.10.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    The Gambia may be a small West African country that rarely hits the headlines, but this week’s announcement that it is pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirms the malaise between the African continent and the Court in The Hague. After Burundi and South Africa, this decision raises fears of a new string of coordinated withdrawals that could become an epidemic as the ICC Assembly of States Parties (members) takes place in November. This unexpected announcement by The Gambia is all the more spectacular because ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is herself Gambian and a former...

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    Gambia becomes latest African nation to quit ICC

    The Gambia has become the latest African nation to announce its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, accusing the war crimes tribunal of "persecuting" Africans. The shock move announced late Tuesday was condemned by rights groups as a "drastic blow" for victims of serious crimes across the world. Banjul's decision follows similar action by South Africa and Burundi this month that have shaken the only permanent international war crimes court. Gambian Information Minister Sheriff Bojang charged that the ICC had been used "for the persecution of Africans and especially their...

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    Gambia to withdraw from International Criminal Court
    26.10.16
    AFP

    Gambia has announced its withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, accusing the Hague-based tribunal of the "persecution and humiliation of people of colour, especially Africans". The announcement late Tuesday comes after similar decisions this month by South Africa and Burundi to abandon the troubled institution, set up to try the world's worst crimes. Information Minister Sheriff Bojang said in an announcement on state television that the court had been used "for the persecution of Africans and especially their leaders" while ignoring crimes committed by the West. He singled out...

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