By Omar Bah
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, has said that those found to be behind the perpetration of gross human rights violation in The Gambia must be prosecuted.
Speaking at the launch of the TRRC yesterday, Fatou Bensouda said as mandated the TRRC is envisaged to investigate the alleged human rights violations in the past regime and identify those responsible for the purposes of holding them accountable.
“But when confronted with atrocious crimes that shock the conscience of humanity, however, there is no justifiable reason to look the other way or to entertain immunities,” she warned.
She said the perpetrators of serious crimes if so identified through credible investigations must face justice in a credibly constituted court of law.
Madam Bensouda said her office stands ready to assist The Gambia in this noble effort in anyway deemed helpful or feasible with full respect for respective and independent mandate.
She said President Barrow and his team have demonstrated their commitment to reconciliation, rule of law and strengthening of the accountability mechanism not only in words but in real action.
“We recall that it was not long after Barrow was sworn-in as president of the country that the country was recommitted to the international criminal court as a state party to the Rome Statute. It was a complete commitment of the Gambia to the rule of law and accountability for atrocious crimes,” she said.
Adding that it reflected not only the government’s recognition of the vital role that the court plays in the independent and impartial fight against impunity, “but it also demonstrated the country’s resolve to pursue a part of justice, where the rule of law and the respect for human rights steer its course”.
“The launching of the TRRC is yet another tangible expression of that leadership with a clear belief and the recognition that in order for the country to move forward to greater height it must reconcile with its past,” she said.
The commission, she added, has an important mandate to investigate human rights violations and abuses committed between July 1994 to January 2017 in order to foster social cohesion and encourage national reconciliation amongst Gambians.
“This is needed for Gambia to write a more promising chapter since independence in 1965. An objective and professional internal inquiry is required to ensure the truth is established through an authoritative historical record of what transpired during the past two decades. Wrongs identified and then acknowledged and wounds heal so as to secure the country’s internal harmony and avoid instability and conflict,” she stressed.