By Yankuba Jallow
Madi Jobarteh of the Association of Non – Government Organisations has indicated that civil society should not be spectators of the government but take charge of their own destiny.
He made this statements at the symposium held at the UTG Auditorium at the Faculty of Law, Kanifing on Saturday 28thOctober 2017, with the theme “Constraints, Scope, Focus and Priorities”. The University of the Gambia (UTG) and the Gambia Watch (GW) held a daylong symposium on the topic ‘Transitional Justice in the Gambia’.
Civil society has played an important role in every country that has experienced a successful transitional justice endeavour.
National NGOs have helped to initiate, advocate for and shape some of the strongest and most interesting transitional justice initiatives that have been implemented around the world. The University of the Gambia (UTG) and the Gambia Watch (GW) held a daylong symposium on the topic ‘Transitional Justice in the Gambia’.
Dilating on his topic, “the role of civil society in the Gambia’s transitional justice system”, Madi said transitional justice is rooted in accountability and redress of victims. It recognises their dignity as citizens and as human beings. He described Transitional Justice as judicial and non-judicial measures to address legacies of human right violations.
He said the role of civil society includes providing, documentation, securing witnesses because witnesses sometimes trust civil society more than public authority, conducting outreach activities to sensitise or advocate to generate public interest, support and participation in the process. He said Civil Society assists and strengthens transitional justice processes and institutions. He said they have a role of challenging public authority in its conceptions of justice and responses to violations, generating public debate on the meaning, purpose and nature of Transitional Justice and providing legitimacy and credibility for Transitional Justice norms, mechanisms and processes.
He said to address gaps in Transitional Justice and bring innovative and alternative measures, to address issues, concerns and constituencies neglected by official Transitional Justice responses and to generate autonomous space for debate and activism outside Transitional Justice processes and structures among many others are methods CS influence Transitional Justice system.
He said it is important to ensure that those who testify or victims get support and ensure legal and institutional reforms take place.
The Honourable Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou dilating on the topic “the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC)” outlined the scope, focus, challenges and priorities of TRRC. He said there will be reform in the laws such as the criminal and media laws. He said there will be reform in the criminal justice of the country. He said the TTRC has been engaging the country through a nationwide tour and have now drafted TRRC bill and will soon finalised it. He said the TRRC will grant amnesty to the witnesses and will also support the families of the victims. He highlighted some of the reparations will include supporting the families of the victims in manner that will heal their trauma that they had faced during the former regime.