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GAMBIA: ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE RULES IN FAVOR OF VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE AGAINST GAMBIA GOVERNMENT

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(Banjul, 6 July, 2023) –The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, 5
July 2023, issued a landmark decision in the case of the enforced disappearance of Saul Ndow during
the regime of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The ECOWAS Court found that the Republic
of The Gambia violated the right to life and failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible in a
timely manner. The ECOWAS Court also called on the Gambian Government to implement the
recommendations of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and ordered to
submit, within six (6) months of notification of its decision, a report, among others, on the status of
the TRRC recommendations.


With legal support from the Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA),

Nana-Jo Ndow, assisted by The African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances
(ANEKED), had been pushing for the Republic of The Gambia to take up its responsibilities for the
human rights violations suffered by her father Saul Ndow in relation to his enforced disappearance
during the Jammeh regime, and the pain and injustice inflicted on his family as a result.


“After ten years since my father’s disappearance, years of li6ga6on and delays, I am happy that the
court has finally recognized our long suffering. Today’s ruling does not correct the wrong that was
done to us, but it is an important step towards accountability” – Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul
Ndow


Saul Ndow, a businessman and a critic of the Jammeh regime, was abducted in 2013 alongside
Mahawa Cham, a former member of the Gambian National Assembly and an equally fierce critic of
the regime, by the Junglers, a death squad allegedly reporting directly to Yahya Jammeh.


Since 2013, and despite the transition to the Adama Barrow Government in 2017, the multiple
appeals and efforts from the families of Saul Ndow and Mahawa Cham, the strong and credible
evidence that surfaced through investigative journalists and activists, testimonies before the
Gambian police and the TRRC, the Gambian Government has failed to conduct any proper judicial
investigations and to prosecute those responsible in a Emely manner.


“This decision further emphasizes the duty of the State to investigate human rights violations,
irrespec6ve of which Government is in power. It speaks not only for Gambian vic6ms, but also blazes
a trail of hope for vic6ms of human rights abuse across Africa”- Edmund Foley, Interim Head, IHRDA

Jammeh’s 22-year rule (1994 to 2016) was marked by systematic oppression, widespread human
rights violations and crimes against humanity, including torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced
disappearances, and sexual violence. This judgement is a milestone for the victims who still await
justice and sends a clear message to the Government of The Gambia that accountability is inevitable
and is not negotiable.


For more informa/on, please contact:
Sirra Ndow
ANEKED Gambia Country Director
Tel: +220 373 7766
sirra.ndow@aneked.org
Oludayo Fagbemi
Senior Legal Officer, IHRDA
Tel: +220 770 79 65
ofagbemi@ihrda.org
Nana-Jo Ndow
Tel: +49 176 28 233 831
nanajo.ndow@aneked.org

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