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Victims Reparations Bill 2023 Passed by the National Assembly of The Gambia

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Dawda A. Jallow, Minister of Justice at the National Assembly during the debate

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

The National Assembly of The Gambia passed the Victims Reparations Bill 2023 on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023, after a heated debate among members.

The bill, which was tabled by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Dawda A. Jallow, during the first extraordinary session in the 2023 legislative year, aims to establish a fund for compensating victims of human rights abuses and violations that occurred between July 1994 and January 2017.

The bill successfully passed through all three stages of the National Assembly after a vigorous debate among its members regarding the bill’s urgency. Attorney General and Minister of Justice Hon. Dawda A. Jallow presented the bill to the lawmakers, outlining its objectives and rationale.

The primary goal of the bill is to establish a reparations commission responsible for reviewing reparations provided by the TRRC (Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission), making necessary adjustments, identifying new victims not previously recognized by the TRRC, maintaining an updated victim database, and formulating and publishing guidelines and procedures for granting reparations.

Responding to concerns raised by the National Assembly members during the debate, the Minister of Justice emphasized the bill’s widespread support. He clarified that the decision to hold an extraordinary session and expedite the bill’s passage was reached in consultation with the National Assembly service and was considered essential. 

The Minister also highlighted that the commission would determine the cost of reparations, establishing objective criteria for evaluating victims and their entitlements. Furthermore, he pointed out that reparations extend beyond financial compensation, encompassing various other aspects.

Following a spirited debate, every member of the National Assembly in attendance cast their votes in favor of the bill, securing its passage.

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