The government says it is studying a request by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International for the extradition and trial of Yahya Jammeh in Ghana.
“Government has been informed that Human Rights Watch, in collaboration with Trial International and led by an American lawyer, Reed Brody, has unearthed fresh evidence which they believe ties the former Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, to the killing of 44 Ghanaians on or about July 22, 2005,” a statement signed by the Minister of Information, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, said.
It said in view of the legal and international diplomatic implications of the request, the government had tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department to study the request and explore the full extent of its legal and diplomatic implications and also advise the government on the way forward for the request.
“Government shall inform the Ghanaian people of its decision in respect of this matter as soon as it receives the reports of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department,” it said.
The statement assured Ghanaians that the government remained committed to protecting the interest of every Ghanaian.
“The government, therefore, wishes to call on the families of those who lost their lives and the Ghanaian population to exercise restraint as it seeks good counsel on this matter,” it added.
The Daily Graphic, in its May 17, 2018 edition, carried a report of the campaign to get Mr Jammeh extradited to Ghana to stand trial for the gruesome murder of some 44 Ghanaians in The Gambia in 2005.
The move, led by international human rights groups HRW and Trial International, followed new evidence gathered by the two bodies which point to the fact that former President Jammeh was complicit in the murder of the 44.
The latest revelation stands in sharp contrast to a report by a joint Economic Community of West African States/United Nations (ECOWAS/UN) team which, though not made public, concluded that The Gambian government was not “directly or indirectly complicit” in the deaths and disappearances but rather that “rogue elements” in The Gambia’s security services, “acting on their own”, were probably responsible.
However, HRW and Trial International, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, said a paramilitary unit controlled by the then President Jammeh summarily executed more than 50 Ghanaians, Nigerians and other West African migrants in July 2005.
Addressing the media at an event to officially announce the quest to have Jammeh extradited for trial in Ghana, Mr Brody, a lawyer at HRW, said following the exit of ex-President Jammeh, the organisation had interviews with 30 former Gambian officials, including 11 officers directly involved in the incident.
At the launch of the campaign on May 16, 2018, Martin Kyere, the sole known Ghanaian survivor, the families of the disappeared, the family of Saul N’dow, another Ghanaian killed under Jammeh, as well as a number of Ghanaian human rights organisations, called on the Ghanaian government to investigate the new evidence and potentially seek Jammeh’s extradition and prosecution in Ghana.
The leading organisations are the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Perfector of Sentiments Foundation (POS), the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Amnesty International and the Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA).