Statement by Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch on the resignation of Gambia Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou to become Registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals:
Abubacarr Tambadou was the right man at the right time for Gambia’s democratic transition.
Tambadou was the architect of Gambia’s far-reaching transitional justice policy which has featured a dynamic truth commission examining the crimes committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh, an inquiry to recover Jammeh’s ill-gotten assets and a draft constitution more protective of human rights. He defended women who came forward to accuse Jammeh of raping them, helped the United States arrest one of Jammeh’s hit men, and made clear that if Jammeh tried to return to Gambia he would be arrested on atrocity charges.
We didn’t always agree with Tambadou, but he always listened to human rights advocates and especially to Yahya Jammeh’s victims.
What was particularly exceptional, though, was that Tambadou stood up for abuse victims not only in his own country but thousands of miles away in Myanmar. Gambia’s bold decision to take up the cause of the downtrodden Rohingya minority by suing Myanmar for genocide at the International Court of Justice demonstrated the kind of international solidarity we don’t see very often these days.
Thanks to Tambadou, little Gambia spoke with a very big voice in the defense of global human rights.
Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch works with the victims of Gambia’s former dictator Yahya Jammeh.
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists