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GAMBIA: PRESIDENT ADAMA BARROW VOWS TO IMPLEMENT TRRC WHITE PAPER

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By Landing Ceesay 

The President of the Republic of the Gambia His Excellency Adama Barrow vowed to implement government white paper on the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission  (TRRC) in a “transparent manner.” 

“Over the years, my government took giant strides to uphold good governance, democracy and the rule of law, especially with regard to the separation of powers between the three organs of government. In doing so, we have accomplished a lot towards the establishment of justice and the provision of legal services through the Ministry of Justice. 

“Specifically, my government considers the White Paper on the finding of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) as a major part of our national transitional justice process, and we hold ourselves duty-bound to implementing it in a transparent manner,” President Barrow said. 

The Gambian Leader said they are working with relevant stakeholders and partners to establish a prosecution system to impartially try the “perpetrators” of human rights abuses and violations mentioned in the report.

President Barrow said the White Paper also contains the Government’s expressed decision to set up a “Special Prosecution Office” mandated to investigate and prosecute accused persons within its terms of reference.

He said the prosecution of crimes, such as torture, enforced disappearances, and crimes against humanity, are not specifically provided for under Gambian law. 

“To deliver justice, therefore, we propose to develop a special judicial framework and create a hybrid court to try perpetrators whose offenses amount to international crimes. We will pursue this in agreement with our obligation under customary international law,” he said. 

President Barrow made these remarks at the official opening ceremony of the 2023 Legal Year on Sunday, held at the High Court of the Gambia complex in Banjul. 

Talking about his government’s establishment of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Gambian leader said the decision has already gotten international approval. 

President Barrow said the Commission has attained an A-status accreditation with the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. 

The Gambian President said that achievement is a historical milestone in the country’s transitional justice process.

“At home, in observance of best international human rights standards, the Government has stepped up engagements to respect, protect, and promote the fundamental human rights of people, with specific focus on women, children, and marginalised groups. Through the Ministry of Justice, cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence are diligently prosecuted to discharge justice for the victims. Likewise, to reduce crime and violence, thorough investigations and proper procedures precede the prosecution of all suspects brought before the law,” he said. 

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