Banjul – Gambia’s truth commission into crimes committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh will hand its findings to President Adama Barrow this week, investigators in the tiny West African nation said on Tuesday.
The final report of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was originally scheduled for release in July.
But publication of the findings – which are politically sensitive in a country where Jammeh retains support — has been delayed several times.
On Tuesday, the TRRC said that it would hand its report to President Adama Barrow on Thursday, followed by a press conference.
TRRC spokesperson Essa Jallow told AFP that the contents of the report will not be made public, however.
Styled after South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRRC heard testimony from nearly 400 people from January 2019 to May 2021 on Jammeh’s 22-year dictatorship.
Witnesses gave chilling evidence 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.
However, its final report is highly anticipated by victims and rights groups because of the possibility it will recommend pursuing criminal charges against Jammeh.
TRRC spokesman Jallow said that after receiving the report, Barrow will have six months to release a white paper on how to implement its recommendations.
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.
The 56-year-old ex-dictator retains considerable political support in the nation of two million people, however, where some want him to return from exile.
His opponents have called for him to be returned home for prosecution.
Jammeh’s future role in The Gambia is a central theme in the runup to a presidential election on December 4.
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