By Alf Soninke
Justice Minister Dawda Jallow in his statement delivered to release the White Paper on the TRRC Report reiterated that “the government places great importance on justice and accountability for human rights violations committed under the government of Yahya Jammeh.
“However, effective investigation and prosecution of of international crimes such as torture, mass murder and enforced disappearance is complex, and requires specialist expertise which our domestic institutions – which do not ordinarily deal with such cases and must also manage their own domestic case load – do not have the capacity or experience to undertake.
“It is, therefore, preferable to establish separate specialist accountability structures that can be annexed to or embedded into the domestic legal system and mandated to perform those functions through an effective use of relevant advocates, investigators, appropriate expert and skilled support staff.
“It is in this regard that I will be setting up a Special Prosecution Division under the Ministry of Justice to be headed by a Special Prosecutor. This division will have investigative and prosecutorial authority over all offenses recommended for prosecution by the TRRC.
“In the same vein, government intends to create a special judicial framework within the domestic court’s system for prosecution of perpetrators.
“Th court shall be located within The Gambia with the option of holding sittings in other jurisdictions based on the exigencies o each case. This option balances the need to prioritize local ownership and victim participation with security concerns and witness protection requirements.”
The Gambian Minister of Justice was speaking May 25 at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center, where the government White Paper was unveiled to the public.