Essa Faal Calls for Accountability After Ousman Sonko’s Conviction

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Essa Faal

By: Alieu Ceesay 

Following the conviction of Ousman Sonko by a Swiss court and his subsequent 20-year prison sentence, Gambian legal authority Essa Mbye Faal has made an emphatic appeal for increased accountability regarding the atrocities perpetrated during the oppressive regime from 1994 to 2016. Faal, renowned for his work in human rights advocacy and legal processes of transitional justice in The Gambia, underscores the importance of this recent event in the ongoing quest for justice for the victims of the past regime.

Faal commends the tireless efforts of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in uncovering the violations that led to Sonko’s conviction, stating, “The wheels of justice for the atrocity crimes committed in our country have started moving.” He underscores the importance of accountability and urges the government to fully implement all recommendations of the TRRC, a beacon of hope for the Gambian people, to honor their pledge and show respect for the victims. 

Furthermore, Faal expresses deep concern over the sluggish pace of domestic accountability processes, questioning the political will to bring the architects and major perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice. 

He warns, “If Gambia does not prosecute, there are other states or institutions out there which would prosecute, including the ICC.” Faal urgently urges the government to expedite the establishment of an effective mechanism for accountability and prosecution, stressing the need to cease “dillydallying and feet dragging” in order to deliver justice and uphold the aspirations of the Gambian people. 

In conclusion, Faal reaffirms his hope for justice and calls for continued action and vigilance to pursue accountability for past atrocities, declaring, “We still have hope.” 

The conviction of Ousman Sonko marks a significant milestone in the quest for justice in The Gambia. However, as Faal emphasizes, there is still much work to be done to ensure accountability for all those responsible for human rights violations during the former regime.

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