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Former Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko convicted in Switzerland with Crimes Against Humanity

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The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations (the Victims’ Center) has welcomed the conviction and sentence to 20 years of former Interior Minister, Ousman Sonko by the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona, Switzerland. He was charged with Crimes Against Humanity.

Ousman Sonko was accused of being involved in multiple human rights violations from 2006 to 2016 which involved killings, rape, torture and arbitrary arrest, among several other rights violations.

Sonko’s verdict is another milestone in the pursuit for justice for victims of human rights violations in the Gambia. He is the second former minister to be convicted for his role in the crimes against the Gambian people, following the conviction of Yankuba Touray for the
murder of Ousman Koro Ceesay. This was followed by the conviction and sentence in Germany of Junglar Bai Lowe. The latest conviction is an indication that the long arm of the law is gradually catching up with former President Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices in Equatorial Guinea and other parts of the world.
This brings hope and closure to the victim’s community and at the same time to remind the Gambia government to ensure that other perpetrators face similar sentences, based on the gravity of their violations. From the case of Bai Lowe, who was given life imprisonment, this is another welcomed development in the pursuit of justice in the ongoing Transitional Justice process in the Gambia.  

The long arm of the law is gradually catching up with Yahya Jammeh and his accomplices around the world. Jammeh’s henchmen have been arrested in Germany, Switzerland and the United States and the Gambian Truth, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission in its Final Recommendation Report, has called for prosecution of his accomplices in The Gambia and of Jammeh himself, currently in Equatorial Guinea.

The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations(Victims Center) commends the efforts of the Swiss authorities and the international community for helping to bring justice to the victims of Ousman Sonko. We also commend the efforts ofMOJ, CSOs, NGOs, Victim-led-organizations as well as other partners for their help in bringing justice to the victims of Ousman Sonko. 

The Victim’s Center will continue to fight and advocate for the rights of Gambians and Non-Gambians alike to ensure peace, justice and promote the NEVER AGAIN SLOGAN.

Dated 15th, May 2024

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