Banjul – Investigators handed a long-awaited report on crimes committed under ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh to Gambia’s president on Thursday, in a move that victims hope will pave the way to prosecution.
The final report of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was originally scheduled for release in July but has been delayed several times.
Publishing the report is politically sensitive in the West African country, where Jammeh has significant support.
The nation of two million people is also in the middle of a presidential campaign in which the return of the former dictator from exile has been a central theme.
TRRC officials handed President Adama Barrow their findings in a ceremony in the capital Banjul, an AFP journalist saw.
The report comes after more than two years of truth hearings into Jammeh-era crimes.
Witnesses gave chilling evidence to the TRRC about state-sanctioned torture, death squads, rape and witch hunts, often at the hands of the “Junglers”, as Jammeh’s death squads were known.
The TRRC has not been empowered to prosecute those responsible for crimes.
But its report is highly anticipated by rights groups and victims because of the possibility it will recommend pursuing criminal charges against Jammeh.
The contents of the report will not immediately be made public.
Barrow is expected to release a white paper on how to implement its recommendations within six months, according to the TRRC.
Jammeh seized power in 1994 as part of a bloodless military coup in The Gambia – the smallest country in mainland Africa.
He then ruled with an iron fist until January 2017, when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing presidential elections to Barrow, then a relative unknown.
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