The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability’s Engagement with The Gambia

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The Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA) has recently begun an engagement with the government and the judiciary of The Gambia regarding justice and reconciliation issues and policies in the country. 

Current chairman of The AGJA and former chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, was appointed by Gambian President Adama Barrow as Chief Justice of The Gambia.

Following its democratic transition earlier this year, The Gambia embarked on a remarkable political journey. In order to ensure that its transition leads to a stable, democratic, and just society, it has been recognised that justice and accountability for previous human rights vio- lations must be achieved. From the outset, the new government of President Adama Barrow has pledged to institute a programme of transitional justice.

The government committed itself to the International Criminal Court and withdrew the previous notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute. It also began a number of investigations into alleged abuses under the previous regime of Yahya Jammeh.

In July 2017, the AGJA signalled its interest and commitment to offering assistance and expertise to The Gambian government during its period of transition. Members of the AGJA were subsequently invited by the government of The Gambia to comment and give advice on the “Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission Bill, 2017” as well as to provide recommendations on how the bill could be strengthened. A report from the AGJA was sent earlier this month to the government and the Africa Group looks forward to continued engagement regarding the truth commission in the coming weeks and months.

On 9 October, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Aboubacarr Tambadou, has disclosed the terms of membership of the Truth, Reparation and Reconciliation Commission (for more information click here). The AGJA commends and welcomes Banjul’s firm commitment to justice and accountability. It looks forward to continuing its engagement with the government, the judiciary and representatives from civil society and to providing its expert advice and assistance on issues of justice and accountability as well as constitutional reviews. Plans are proceeding for a delegation of AGJA members to visit The Gambia during October, 2017 for meetings with members of the government, the judiciary and civil society who are involved with the programme of transition.