President Adama Barrow said the Truth Commission gives Gambians a “historic opportunity to rewrite our history” and bequeath a far safer place to her future generations.
Gambian President Adama Barrow has on Monday sworn in eleven commissioners as he launched the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission to probe the past atrocities committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
The commissioners who took oath on Monday are Lamin J Sise as chair, Ms Adelaide Sosseh as deputy chairperson, Ms Anna Ngalu Jones, Mr Mustapha Kah, Mr Abdourahman Sey, Ms Ma Nyima Bojang, Ms Amie Samba, Mr Lang Kinteh, Mr Jammeh Ceesay, Bishop James Yaw Allen Odico and Imam Ousainou Jallow.
The Commission is expected to investigate the past human rights violations of the former ruler and recommend prosecution for some allege violators and also issue reparations where necessary.
Barrow said the TRRC would give the country an opportunity to heal following its decades of repressive rule.
“The TRRC serves as an opportunity of a rebirth and healing to the nation and to the victims, it provides an opportunity to establish the truth with regards to what they went through,” said Barrow.
“We must forge on as one people united in our diversity with the common plea that we can set aside our differences and confront our past while holding onto the promises of a brighter future”
Barrow promised that the Commission will have a complete independence from the influence of the executive or any institution of Government.
He said the Commission gives Gambians a “historic opportunity to rewrite our history” and bequeath a far safer place to her future generations.
“Let’s us stand together and say never again shall a few people oppress us as a nation… Never shall this beautiful smiling coast experience the oppression and tyranny of the minority against the majority,” added Barrow.
Gambia’s former ruler has been in power for 22 years during which he was accused of several rights violations.
Madi Jobarteh, a leading rights activist in Gambia and country director of Westminster Foundation, told journalists that the Commission faces high expectations of justice in the country.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, and top UN officials have attended the occasion.
Bensouda, a Gambian herself, said the ICC will be keenly following the developments at the Commission.
The chairperson of the Commission Lamin J Ceesay, who among eleven other commissioners took oath on Monday, was a former Executive Assistant and senior adviser to late Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Other speakers at the ceremony were Baba Galleh Jallow, the executive director of the TRRC; Sheriff Kijera and Muhammed Ibn Chambas, among others.
Dr Jallow said the Commission will succeed because it simply has no reason to fail.
Jammeh currently lives in Exile in Equatorial Guinea.