John Charles Mendy is a chief security at The Gambia International Airlines (GIA). It is a crime to lie before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission though the Justice Ministry did not say anything about Mendy’s fate so far.
John Charles has been arrested by police as he attempted to cross the border into the southern region of Senegal, Cassamance through the Giboro/Sileti border crossing.
Mendy was a witness before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) on 19 and 20 March who admitted being witness to 9 tortures but claimed he participated in only one.
He also admitted witness to three other executions but claimed he only participated in the killings at the Fajara Barracks where Abdoulie Faal and Basiru Barrow lost their lives.
Mendy was a bodyguard to Sanna Sabally, a man who is named for leading the November 11, 1994 executions of soldiers. According to previous testimonies before the Commission, Mendy took part in the killings.
He denied any involvement in any killing until his appearance before the Commission. Even then, he only admitted being involved in only one killing.
The Justice ministry said it has requested the police to arrest Mendy.
“Based on a totality of the evidence adduced before the TRRC so far, and in light of other available evidence in the possession of the TRRC, it was evident that Mr J.C.B. Mendy was “outrageously dishonest” in his testimony about his role in several incidents of violence. Mr Mendy’s “outrageous dishonesty”, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, betrayed a lack of empathy towards the families of the victims and the unwillingness to cooperate and assist in the reconciliation process in the country. Consequently, the Attorney General, in order to encourage truth-telling before the TRRC and strongly discourage any attempts to deliberately conceal the truth in the face of mounting evidence, recommended the immediate dismissal of Mr J.C.B. Mendy and requested the cooperation of his employers at The Gambia International Airlines (GIA) in this regard,” said the ministry in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Ministry wishes to re-iterate its call for all witnesses who appear before the TRRC to be truthful at all times especially in respect of their involvement in human rights violations and abuses. The country needs to establish the truth about these events and the families of the victims deserve to know the truth about their loved ones. The perpetrators are particularly encouraged to be truthful and to take advantage of the amnesty provisions at the TRRC and give reconciliation a chance. The Ministry would like to further reassure the general public that the TRRC process is not a witch hunt and that there is no need for anyone to abscond from the country, but that any attempts to deliberately conceal the truth in the face of overwhelming evidence will be regarded as an attempt to undermine the integrity of the process, and an unwillingness to cooperate and assist in the reconciliation process, and will therefore bear serious consequences.”