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UDP Questions Barrow Gov’t’s “Willingness and Readiness” To Ensure Justice For Political Party Victims Of Jammeh

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Lawyer Ousainu Darboe
United Democratic Party

By Buba Gagigo

The United Democratic Party (UDP) has questioned the willingness of President Barrow’s government to ensure justice for members of political parties who are victims of former President Jammeh.

“UDP notes with concern that several incidents have occurred since 2017 to suggest that in spite of additional scrutiny after the overthrow of the dictatorship, impunity continues to fuel the abuses of office by public officials and members of the security forces. The outcry over the comparison of President Adama Barrow with Yahya Jammeh is obviously not enough to stem abuses in the absence of accountability. The principal flaw is in the architecture of governance inherited from the Jammeh era,” the party said in a dispatch stating its position on the Government White Paper.

The UDP said nearly six years after the end of “dictatorship”, victims such as Nogoi Njie and others are still suffering from the effects of the ‘horrendous’ torture meted out to them in April 2016 and have been waiting for justice for far too long. 

The party added that the “inordinate delay” in the expeditious prosecution of the NIA 9 Case is one of the glaring rebukes to the Barrow Government and the transitional justice process.

“This puts into question the willingness and readiness of the Barrow Government to ensure that justice prevails in the cases of political party victims who paid the ultimate price for the restoration of democracy in the Gambia. Under international law, the Gambia has an obligation to prosecute serious international crimes, and all victims of such crimes have the right to an effective remedy and access to justice. Providing redress for human rights violation victims is a requirement, not an option for justice and reconciliation,” it added.

The main opposition party, based on the above, expressed concerns over the commitment of the Gambia Government to full implementation of the recommendations of the TRRC; several aspects of the White Paper’s implementation plan do not comply with international law, standards, and best practices. 

“a) The absence of accountability frameworks and the encouragement of impunity by rejecting the recommendations of the TRRC in respect of two long serving security sector leaders in the Gambia Government; b) The lack of provisions for the establishment of a comprehensive, long term and effective restitution programme for victims and witnesses; c) The lack of full consultation with political parties’ victims, Media Practitioners Victims’ Women, students, and persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups,” the party’s concerns read.

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