Three civil society organisations have written an open letter to the government claiming that they have denied victims and survivors under the former Jammeh administration justice.
ANEKED, the Victim’s Centre and the Solo Sandeng Foundation claim that the withdrawal of the case against eight former NIA operatives charged with participating in unlawfully burying Solo Sandeng tantamount to lack of political will in pursuing justice. They regard the actions of the government to be inconsistent. “This new setback in the fight against impunity, is the latest in the long series of delaying tactics by the Government,” the release asserted.
As far as they are concerned, “…truth alone is not enough! Separating the promotion of reconciliation from the promotion of justice simply undermines both. The prescription for the TRRC [the truth commission] to be the only option for victims to seek redress raises concerns for notable reasons.”
They asserted that there are enough funds from funding agencies to build the capacity of the judicial system and proceed with the trial of alleged perpetrators of crimes against the victims and survivors under the former Jammeh administration.
The three CSOs made the following recommendations:
- Government should conduct itself in such a manner as to reassure survivors and families of victims that it cares about the remaining evidence of crimes committed in the past. In particular they want government to take steps to secure the NIA archives to avoid tampering with evidence.
- They also want government to suspend all perpetrators within the security forces identified by victims as having taken part in torture.
- Thirdly they want the government to put in place a small unit of capable and vetted police officers, to start objective and independent investigations, because they do not expect a thorough and impartial investigation to be conducted when alleged perpetrators are still serving in the same force.
The release concluded thus: “The government needs to show the victims that it has the political will to take these actions and lack of capacity or resources are not acceptable or justifiable anymore. The pain suffered by victims will simply not be disappearing anytime soon if justice is not served.”
Foroyaa will get in touch with the government and the TRRC to get their take on this.