The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) of Gambia has started hearing stories of witnesses as it investigates happenings during the Jammeh era.
Yahya Jammeh ruled Gambia for 22 years until he was forced out of power in 2017. But his country has been left in a state of bitterness due to the several reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances under that regime.
The commission’s work will primarily offer some compensation to individuals who suffered torture, molestation and other crimes including killings under Mr. Jammeh’s regime.
There are eleven commissioners who are hearing the stories of witnesses and hope to document the scale of the abuses by October 2020.
More than 1,000 witnesses are expected to testify and those include journalists, campaigners, and politicians. Hearing started on Monday.
The commission’s ongoing work was initiated by current President Adama Barrow who defeated Yahya Jammeh in the 2016 presidential election.
Over the next two years, the commission members will investigate the origin of the coup Jammeh carried out in 1994 and his subsequent actions while in office.
Baba Jallow, the commission’s executive secretary said “Today is the day, and we want to hear from every single witness and victim.”
“I am just grateful that the process … is finally off the ground,” he added.
The 11-member commission can make criminal referrals with many victims hoping Jammeh returns to Gambia to face trial for the abuses it investigates.
He is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea and the country’s President Teodoro Obiang has vowed to ensure that Jammeh isn’t extradited to Gambia.