By Abdoulie John

As part of a broader effort to ensure that reparations take centre stage in the transition process, Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou, announced today the injection of 50 million dalasis into the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) Trust Fund. He said this ‘initial amount’ is part of government’s contribution to the fund set up by the country’s truth commission.

Aboubacarr Tambadou made this revelation during a news conference held at the Ministry of Justice, located along Marina Parade in Banjul.

Yahya Jammeh’s dictatorial regime has left a good number of victims who continue to suffer a tremendous amount of physical and psychological trauma. As the quest for justice is being amplified by disturbing revelations at the truth commission hearings, the issue of reparations is increasingly taking shape in the transitional justice system.

Mr. Tambadou told journalists that the said amount is derived from “proceeds of sale of former President Jammeh’s assets.” He then added that the decision is in line with the recommendations of the Janneh Commission.

The Janneh Commission has uncovered widespread corruption well orchestrated by Gambia’s former longtime ruler. Punctuated by a deliberate indifference, the situation led to the ransacking of public funds.

Tambadou described ex-President Jammeh as “a central pillar in the infrastructure of terror and human right abuses that were unleashed on ordinary Gambians.” He then added that the Gambia  government holds the view that it would be more judicious “that reparations should be granted directly from his (Yahya Jammeh’s) wealth and assets.”

He seized called on corporate entities and philanthropists to make donations to the TRRC Reparations Trust Fund with a view to making “reparations meaningful for the victims.”

TRRC Chairperson, Dr. Lamin J. Sise, extolled the Gambia government for taking the initiative to “assist in the healing, reconciliation.”

He reminded the gathering that the victims are the ones who suffered enormously during 22 years of dictatorship, and made it clear they deserve the kind of attention shown by the authorities.

“Our role has been to establish a record of these gross violations of human rights and abuses,” he added. “The victims needed this kind of help.”

For his part, the Chairperson of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations (GCVHRV), Sheriff Kijera commended gov’t for fulfilling its commitment towards reparations.

“With this commitment, and responsibility taken by the Gambia government, victims are well assured that  reparations is a serious business for the TRRC,” he said.

Kijera added his voice to the chorus of calls directed to Gambians from various walks of life to contribute their quota in the reparations efforts.

The event was graced by Justice Ministry officials, TRRC top brass including the Vice-Chair Adelaide Sosseh and the Executive Secretary Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow.

Ends

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