The executive director of Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) has underscored that justice should be done at home or as close to home as possible, lamenting that ideally, Yahya Jammeh should be tried here in The Gambia.
Evelyn A. Ankumah was speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the West African Stakeholders’ Consultation on Emerging Trends on Complementarity at a hotel in Kololi. The sub-regional confab was convened by Africa Legal Aid in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Chamber at the Ministry of Justice.
‘I of course welcome the Habre trail on the African continent. But ideally, the trial should not have taken place in Dakar, Senegal but in Chad. Ideally, Charles Taylor should have been tried in Liberia or perhaps in Sierra Leone but not far away in The Hague and ideally, Yahya Jammeh should be tried in The Gambia’, she said.
In essence, and for reasons of legitimacy, she added, people should think about ways, methods or plans to have trial in the countries concerned; to have trials in this sub-region to have trials in Africa.
She made reference to Habre trial, further explaining that the latter remains a major source of inspiration, as both the victims and advocates, who did not tire their request to bring Habre to justice, are indeed a source of inspiration.
“A key lesson that I learned from the Habre trial is the role of victims. Please forgive me for saying this, but in the case of Charles Taylor trial before the Special Criminal for Sierra Leone, I often had the feeling that the victims were absent. They did not seem to play a role at all. Others did. In Harbre’s trial victims were key players and they never gave up on the ideal of bringing Habre to justice and many of their compelling testimonies simply gave the judges no alternative but to decide the way they did”.
Madame Ankumah noted that it is a pleasure and a privilege for Africa Legal Aid to convene the first of its series of stakeholders meeting on emerging trends on complementarity in The Gambia and to do so in collaboration with Attorney General’s Chamber and Ministry of Justice.
Complementarity, she went on, is a term usually used in relation to the International Criminal Court, as the Rome Statue expresses it technical terms in Article 17;
‘The Court shall determine that a case is inadmissible where; the case is being investigated or prosecuted by a state which has jurisdiction over it, unless the state is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution.”