By Nelson Manneh
The Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Monday 12 October, 2020, began its 16th three-week session of public hearings.
The Commission suspended its public hearings on August 4, 2020 due to the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Dr. Lamin J. Sise the Chairperson of TRRC said the decision to resume public hearings was taken in the light of the Commission’s belief that the Covid-19 situation in the country is less intense than it was back in August.
“We also resume today bearing in mind the fact that exactly two years ago on October 15, 2018, Commissioners of the TRRC were sworn in by the President of the Republic and set about plans to begin public hearings,’ he said.
He said as at the time of the second suspension of public hearings in August, the Commission had heard testimonies from 261 witnesses. Of these witnesses, 195 were male and 66 were female.
“Out of the total number of witnesses appearing before the Commission so far, 166 were victims and 46 were self-confessed perpetrators and adversely mentioned persons,” he said.
Dr. Sise said twenty-five witnesses testified via video link from the Gambian Diaspora. These hearings also included several protected witnesses and in-camera testimonies.
“This 16th session will open with a continuation of our hearings on the former president’s alternative HIV/AIDS and other diseases treatment programme during which several people suffered human rights violations and abuses,’ he said.
Sise said as they resume their public hearings, the Commission assures the Gambian public and their international partners that it remains fully inspired, committed and determined to complete the mandate entrusted to it and to submit its final report and recommendations sometime in 2021.