A two-day experts meeting on reparations regulations kicked-off Monday as the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is making a big push for the transitional justice process.
“The meeting is being held within the framework of the technical assistance to transitional justice and international reform processes in The Gambia, the Africa and West Asia Programme of International IDEA (AWA IDEA) said the Vice-Chair of the TRRC Adelaide Sosseh in her opening remarks.
The meeting, which is taking place at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi, is organised in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Programme – The Gambia. It is convened two months after gov’t injected 50 million dalasis into TRRC’s trust funds.
“Reparations to victims are key element of the Gambian transitional justice process. The rights to reparations for victims of gross violations Human rights is well founded in the TRRC Act,” she said.
The tiny West African nation is emerging from the shadows if two-decade long dictatorship by the former regime. Yahya Jammeh’s Rule if fear was punctuated by arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings.
She went further to say that the TRRC’s reparations put a main focus on compensation, satisfaction, restitution, rehabilitation and guarantees of non-repetition.
She then explained that the truth commission has already put in place a number of measures geared towards providing psycho-social support to victims and their family members including urgent medical care for victims who are entitled to medical assistance.
The TRRC Vice-Chair reiterated the urgent need to convene a technical dialogue on reparations regulations, saying it would help to ensure that the TRRC implements its reparations in a transformative manner through a fair and impartial criteria.
As the meeting brought together experts from South Africa, Liberia, Togo, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Columbia, the Vice-Chair of the TRRC noted that the Expert Meeting is based on comparative experiences of African countries, to contribute to the finalisation of the draft TRRC reparations regulations document.
United Nations Transitional Justice Advisor, Julien Attakla-Ayinon, said if reparations are properly conducted, it provides a sense of satisfaction.
He corroborated the argument made by TRRC second-in-command on the need to set the rules.
The UN expert expressed hope that at the end of the two-day meeting, the TRRC will be able to come up with the document that would cover the commission reparations programme.
Speaking on behalf of the victims’ centre, Kebba Johm said the center has now gained recognition with more than 900 registered victims.
Johm further stated that the victims’ centre is regularly conducting consultations with the victims as part of efforts to rightfully manage their expectations about reparations.
“We expect that the reparations policy that would be developed will be equitable and transparent,” he added while expressing hope that the formulation of the document will take into consideration the expectations of the victims.