ICJ Official Describes Massacre of Migrants as Jammeh’s Worst Crime


By: Kebba AF Touray

Mr. Reed Brody, an Official of the International Commission of Jurists, has described the massacre of 59 migrants in 2005 as the worst massacre of Ex-President Jammeh’s career against migrants.

Mr. Brody made this remark on Wednesday 17th November 2021, during the conference called from truth to justice, the implementation of TRRC recommendations on prosecutions, on the sub topic what kind of accountability mechanism is best suited to the Gambia situation.

He said that they believe that 59 West African Migrants, were killed with over 40 from Ghana, 9 from Nigeria, 3 from Senegal, 2 from Togo, 2 from Cote D’ Viore, 1 from Liberia, 1 from Sierra Leone and 1 from Congo.

He said that ECOWAS will be an appropriate partner for trial of a case of such crime, adding that the massacre involved seven ECOWAS states who were killed during the massacre

“The President of Equatorial Guinea has said that he is going to protect Yaya Jammeh. It is going to take a lot of mobilization and political will. But if we get Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria, it will be very difficult for the President of Equatorial Guinea to say no to bringing Jammeh to justice”, he said.

Mr. Howard Varney, Senior Program Advisor, ICTJ, observed that most perpetrators do not face justice in conflict situations, with reference to the case of the President of Liberian National Bar Association.

He said that countries with specialized approach are likely to achieve considerable success compared to those countries without dedicated capacities that do not have such approaches in terms of prosecuting the perpetrators to justice for having committed crimes.

He said countries ought to provide strong material and political support for the entity that is established to prosecute perpetrators of crimes, to enable them conduct prosecution led multi-disciplinary investigation, with close collaboration between investigators and prosecutors under one roof, for the prosecution of the cases of violations.

Stephen Rapp, former United States Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, said that it is valuable to have an international court which they cover an internationalized budget, adding that such internationalized courts can have more influence in terms of getting Jammeh from Equatorial Guinea.

He said that there is the need to have a will to follow up these cases for prosecution of perpetrators for the crime committed.

Dr. Salieu Taal, President the Gambia Bar Association said that the type of accountability that is suited for the Gambia, in relation to according justice to the victims of the past violations, the entire accountability process must be victim centered.

“It must have local ownership and to have legitimacy, it has to be local driven, without which it will not be legitimate and sustainable, so that we can all drive and sustain it. Since we are talking about accountability, it must bring about justice to the victims”, he proffered.

Salieu Taal Photo credit Chronicle

He said ideally, there is the need to have the robust court systems to take down all stream boxes, the attainment of which he said is fall short even in the advanced countries, adding that the nation’s court system does not have space for victim, stressing that the victim is seen as a mere witness.