Gambia on Monday launched an 11-member Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) tasked with probing the atrocities committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
The commission is expected to investigate atrocities and recommend prosecution of individuals involved.
“The TRRC serves as an opportunity of a rebirth and healing to the nation and to the victims, it provides an opportunity to establish the truth with regards to what they went through,” Gambian President Adama Barrow said.
Barrow pledged that the commission will have a complete independence from the influence of the executive.
“Let us stand together and say: ‘Never again shall a few people oppress us as a nation[…] Never shall this beautiful Smiling Coast experience the oppression and tyranny of the minority against the majority’,” he added.
Gambia’s former ruler has been in power for 22 years during which he was accused of several rights violations — including summary executions, disappearances, torture and rape.
Madi Jobarteh, a leading rights activist in Gambia and country director of Westminster Foundation, told Anadolu Agency the commission faces high expectations of justice from the people of the country.
Lamin J Ceesay, the chairman of the commission, who along with other members of the commission took oath on Monday, was a former executive assistant and senior adviser to late UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, and top UN officials also attended the oath taking ceremony.
Bensouda, a Gambian herself, said the ICC will be keenly following the developments at the commission.
Jammeh currently lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea