Yankuba Touray’s refusal to testify before the Truth Commission last week Thursday has caused widespread anger in Gambia. Several people stormed the Kairaba Police Station demanding he returns to the Commission. The Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou vowed he will ‘throw the book at him’.
Yankuba Touray, a former state minister implicated in the murder of former finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay, has faced additional charge barely a day after he was charged with murder.
Touray was scheduled to appear before the Truth Commission on Thursday last week but he declined to testify, claiming he has constitutional immunity.
He was taken to court on Monday and charged with murder. Touray is implicated in several killings and torture allegations including the death of 11 soldiers on November 11, 1994.
Touray said he has immunity granted to him by the 1997 constitution which empowers him not to be questioned by any court or tribunal for any past crime that may have been committed by the soldiers in their early years in power.
Tuesday morning, the state brings additional charge on contempt of court against him. Touray was ordered arrest by the Truth Commission on Thursday but the state initially charged him with murder instead of contempt to deny him having bail.
Touray was remanded at Mile 2 following his first court appearance yesterday. He returns to the court on Monday, July 8 to take a plea on his murder charges.
Touray is being defended in court by Abdoulie Sissoho, the same lawyer who defended him on his TRRC witness tampering charges.
During the start of his contempt hearing on Tuesday, Sissoho raised issues with the High Court having the jurisdiction to hear case. Touray’s counsel also raised issues with the appearance of Justice Minister as state prosecutor in the case. The High Court makes ruling on those objections on July 23. The parties are ordered to submit a written brief before the court prior to its determination.
Meanwhile, the Justice Minister leads the state prosecutors on the Touray case, showing its significance.
Touray’s immunity claims, if it holds, is seen by many as a bad precedence that could render TRRC powerless in bringing perpetrators to its public hearing.
Meanwhile, Yankuba Touray’s refusal to testify before the Truth Commission last week Thursday has caused widespread anger in Gambia. Several people stormed the Kairaba Police Station demanding he returns to the Commission.