By Abdoulie John Veteran Gambian journalist has questioned whether President Yahya Jammeh government will abide by the decision of West Africa Regional court over the assassination of Deyda Hydara, saying “they would ignore it.”
“While I welcome the ruling, but I feel that it is still far from enough. In fact knowing the attitude of the Gambia government, I am almost quite certain that they would ignore it,” Demba Ali Jawo told this reporter.
On June 10, 2014 the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice ruled that “Gambian government failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara”, and maintained that Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was “not an impartial body to conduct the investigation”. Subsequently, the court awarded US$50,000 to Hydara’s family as compensation for the government’s failure to effectively investigate the murder, and US$10,000 for legal costs.
Demba Jawo, who co-authored a book dedicated to the life of Deyda Hydara, a Gambian journalist killed on December 16, 2004 by gunmen who are still at large, cited the way the government of the tiny West African State has turned a deaf ear in previous ruling passed by the same court involving journalists Musa Saidykhan and Chief Ebrima Manneh, who went missing since 2006.
“The very fact that the Ecowas court has no enforcement mechanism means that despotic regimes like the Gambia will continue to ignore its rulings with impunity,” he said. “We can understand when the court said there is no proof that the government had a hand in Deyda’s killing because the court does not have the means to investigate the murder to determine who killed him, that should have been done by the Gambian security agencies. Therefore, all that the court can judge is how the investigation or lack of it was handled.” Gambia is being ruled by President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in July 1994.
Over these past two decades the country has been put in the spotlight by international civil society activism. The Jammeh regime is often accused of gross human rights violations including summary executions, arbitrary arrests and detention without trial.