The Gambia Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is to commence its first public hearings of cases of abuse on 7 January 2019 its Executive Secretary, Baba Galleh Jallow, said in a statement.
The TRRC was set up by the new government of President Adama Barrow to look into various forms of human rights abuses perpetrated during 22 years rule by his predecessor Yahya Jammeh.
Since its launch on 15 November 2018, the TRRC has seen no major activity.
“Finally, we have a date: The TRRC will hold its first public hearing on Monday 7 January 2019. The decision was finalised at a meeting of the commissioners and senior staff of the Secretariat at Dunes Resort on Wednesday, December 5. We are confident that all necessary logistics will be in place and tested before January 7,” Jallow said.
According to Jallow, the TRRC’s Research and Investigations Unit and legal team have prepared the witnesses who will first appear before it.
He said the first hearings will focus on the 22 July 1994 coup that brought Jammeh to power and circumstances surrounding it.
He said his team has also started working with supposed witnesses of the 11 November 1994 abortive coup.
Jallow said after these hearings the commission’s focus will shift to 1995 and look, among other things to the death of former Finance minister Ousman Koro Ceesay.
“At this point, we ask all victims of human rights violations of the 1994 coup to please come to the TRRC headquarters. If they are unable to do so, they may call so that arrangements will be made to take their statement,” the TRRC head requested.
He called on all and sundry to furnish any information to the commission’s outreach programs meant to reach out to all victims of human rights abuses since 1994.
“Some of this outreach could be done by reaching out to the various victim representatives in all the regions and asking them to help amplify the message. The objective is to give all victims of 1994 and every year within our mandate period a chance to share their statement if they so desire,” Jallow explained.