The former president of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh has been recommended for prosecution before an international tribunal.
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRCC) made the recommendation in a report released on Friday, December 24, 2021.
The commission was tasked to investigate allegations of abuses and other atrocities committed under the Jammeh regime which lasted for 22 years.
Details of the report from the commission released in the capital, Banjul is now been made public after it was submitted weeks ago to the government.
Hundreds of witnesses offered testimonies about death squads, rape and witch hunts under Jammeh between 2019 and 2021.
Yahya Jammeh was linked to numerous grave crimes while in office. Human Rights Watch said in May this year that these revelations “should be followed by criminal accountability.”
Victims and former government officials who testified at the hearings, tied Jammeh to the killing and torture of political opponents, the murder of about 59 migrants from Ghana and other West African countries, and “witch hunts” in which hundreds of people were arbitrarily detained, among other crimes.
They also alleged that Jammeh raped and sexually assaulted women brought to him and personally ran a sham treatment program that forced HIV-positive Gambians to give up their medicine and put themselves under Jammeh’s personal care.
“Witnesses with firsthand knowledge have implicated Yahya Jammeh in murder, torture, rape and other terrible crimes,” said Reed Brody, senior counsel at Human Rights Watch who works with Jammeh’s victims.
For many human rights activists the recommendation on Jammeh for him to be prosecuted should spark moves towards bringing justice to victims of abuses under his regime.
But some are not very confident that the government under Adama Barrow will follow through on the report’s recommendations after he struck an alliance with Jammeh’s party too win this month’s presidential election.
President Barrow has six months to respond to the TRRC report. He has promised justice, but also urged victims to be patient.