Jammeh To Justice coalition disappointed with reparations allocated to victims
The Jammeh To Justice Ghana Coalition, says it is disappointed in the amount of money allotted by the Gambian government to families of victims who were killed under ex-Gambian president Yahya Jammeh
The Jammeh To Justice Ghana Coalition, says it is disappointed in the amount of money allotted by the Gambian government to families of victims who were killed under ex-Gambian president Yahya Jammeh.
The coalition, made up of Ghanaian civil society organizations seeking accountability for crimes and human rights violations committed in 2005 in the Gambia, says the Gambian government ought to increase the amount.
The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), the independent body set up to investigate series of alleged crimes committed during Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years in power in the Gambia, held the ex-president responsible for the crimes.
In its report that was released on November 25, 2021, the TRRC found Yahya Jammeh and 13 others responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and false disappearance of about 67 West African nationals, a number that includes about 44 Ghanaians.
The TRRC also recommended for financial compensation of about 32,400,000 Gambian dalasi, which is about 612,000 United States dollars.
In justification for their demands, the coalition cited cases where the Ecowas Court of Justice awarded more amounts in compensation than had been allotted to families of victims in the TRRC report.
“So for example in the Musa Saidykhan case, this is the former editor of the Independent Newspaper of the Gambia, he was detained and tortured for 22 days. He filed an action also spoted by the Media Foundation for West Africa. And the Ecowas Court awarded him $22, 000,” William Nyarko, human rights lawyer and convenor for the group said at a press conference in Kumasi to respond to the release of the TRRC report.
“Again in Chief Ibrahim Amana case of the Daily Observer, he was a reporter who was detained, subsequently disappeared. In 2006, the Ecowas Court awarded compensation of 100, 000 United States dollars. So I mean, even on these bases, when we have victims of various categories, people who have died, people who have been detained for eleven months without trial, people who suffered direct torture like in Martin’s case. We welcome these recommendations, however, the matter of the amount of money that has been recommended, we ask that the Gambian government increases the amount significantly.”
Spokesperson for the victims and the only survivor among the West African nationals that were killed in the Gambia, Martin Kyere mentioned that the compensation was unacceptable.
“We want to say something like $15 million as compensation to the families of those here in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and elsewhere. This is the coalition, we are speaking on behalf of everybody. We don’t want to see nothing below $15 million as compensation to the families,” said Martin Kyere.
The Adama Barrow government has until May to release a white paper, in response to the TRRC report.
Mr. Nyarko says he hopes by then the government would consider increasing the amount.
“And so the recommendation by the TRRC about the amount is not the end. The Barrow administration before it releases its white paper can actually increase the amount. And I think it's the right thing to do."