Gambia Launches Truth Commission into Ex-Dictator’s Abuse

The tiny West African state of The Gambia on Monday swore in an 11-member commission tasked with shedding light on summary executions, disappearances, torture, rape and other crimes under ousted dictator Yahya Jammeh.

President Adama Barrow hailed the panel as a vital step towards national healing.

In a tweet, he said: “Let us stand together to say: ‘Never again shall a few people oppress us as a nation. Never again shall the beautiful Smiling Coast experience a tyranny of the minority against the majority’.”

Inspired by South Africa’s investigation into the apartheid era, the commission will hold witness hearings into Jammeh’s 22-year era of oppression.

The goal is to open the way to prosecuting those responsible and offering victims and their relatives the hope of closure.

“Gambians who were tortured or raped in prison, who were shot for peacefully demonstrating, who were forced into Jammeh’s phony HIV ‘treatment’ programmes, whose family members were killed or who were targeted in literal witch hunts will all be able to come forward,” said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“When the truth commission is finished hearing from all the victims we should have a complete picture.”

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