Yahya Jammeh, the ex-Gambian dictator who ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years is currently in touch with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in relation to serious allegations of human rights violations including murders, extra judicial killings, disappearances and tortures.
Point following reports that the ICC is currently pursuing the former dictator to stand trial, revealed that after the acceptance of the recommendations of the Gambian Truth Commission by President Barrow’s administration, it is now vital to formally contact the accused person or his representatives.
According to Barrow’s administration, if the suspect is available, he could be transferred to the ICC.
An official who is familiar with the matter noted that Yahya Jammeh who went into hiding in Equatorial Guinea is yet to respond. His prosecution is the only way to reconcile and reunite Gambians and not any form of covering or whitewashing.
It also disclosed that “the ICC is currently gathering and compiling evidence and identifying all the suspects the Court can investigate and where warranted, prosecute and try individuals if the State concerned does not, cannot or is unwilling to do so genuinely. That is exactly what we are trying to establish”.
Yahya Jammeh who withdrew from the ICC fearing that he would be a target of future prosecution is currently at the epicentre of it; thus, when he assumed office, President Barrow, found it crucial to reengage the Court.
International human rights organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch noted it “sent a strong message of support for the Court and victims of grave international crimes”.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres commended The Gambia’s decision to re-join the ICC and “remains confident that State Parties will continue to further strengthen the Court through a constructive dialogue.”
The European Union (EU) also applauded the decision by President Barrow to honour a “pledge made during the election campaign… ” The EU added that the “ICC embodies universal norms and values… The victims of international crimes deserve justice, wherever they live”.
Recently, senior advocate and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, personally urged the Africa Union (AU) “to take immediate action on the recommendations by Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRCC) that Yahya Jammeh, be prosecuted.