There has been a major breakthrough in efforts to secure reparation for journalist victims of Yahya Jammeh’s reign of terror as the new government in The Gambia has paid 50% of the compensations to the families of two of the victims, Ebrimah Manneh and Deyda Hydara.
The government of former President Jammeh had refused to abide by the ruling, rejecting repeated calls to do so.
However upon assumption of office in January 2017, the new government led by President Adama Barrow expressed his government’s commitment to comply with the Court’s judgement. This commitment was further reiterated at a ceremony to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2, 2017, The Gambian Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure and a senior official of the Ministry of Justice affirmed the government’s commitment to paying the compensations to the families of the three victims.
Working with its national partner organisation, the GPU and with financial support from IFEX, the MFWA subsequently presented a legal position paper to the government urging them to comply with the Court’s decision. Following this, the MFWA and the GPU facilitated meetings between the Ministry of Justice and the families of Manneh, Saidykhan and Hydara to discuss and negotiate the payment of the compensations. At the meetings, the government representatives promised to make an initial 50% payment in the first half of 2018 and pay the rest by the end of the year.
The eventual fulfillment of this pledge is a major achievement in the long fight for justice for the victims as it comes during the 10th anniversary of the ECOWAS court ruling on the Manneh case. The government’s decision also amply demonstrates the goodwill of the new government in The Gambia and its commitment to justice, reconciliation and respect for human rights in the country.
The MFWA hails the progress made so far and reaffirms its continued commitment to supporting the process to ensure that the Gambian state’s outstanding obligations in respect of these emblematic cases are redeemed.
While we applaud the new government for this gesture, we call on the government to use today, June 5, 2018 being the tenth anniversary of the judgement of the ECOWAS Court to once and for all disclose the whereabouts of the disappeared journalist.
Culled from www.mfwa.org/