The principle of substantive justice hinges on the notion that only those who are capable of delivering justice to conceived enemies would deliver justice to their close ones. This is the only way to safeguard a country from impunity. Once a person entertains the logic that it is just to torture or kill a person who has tortured or killed another person, the culture of impunity would never be uprooted.
The politics of transition aims to take society back to the drawing board for reshaping the destiny of a people. It calls for the putting of emotions aside and concretely facing the naked and unalloyed truth no matter how obnoxious and foul. This should enable people to focus on the action rather than the person. This is when the perpetrator of the action could be made to also question himself or herself, whether a person in his or her right senses without any extenuating circumstances would carry out such brutalities. It is then that the extenuating circumstances could be focused on as the real threat to justice and human decency. ‘Never Again,’ would then have meaning by ensuring that such extenuating circumstances are never allowed to find the light of the day again.
As the Gambian public witness the same person who does actions that defy comprehension being also subjected to brutalities which defy comprehension, the lesson should be evident that as long as wrong is doable no one is immune from suffering wrong.
Hence might is never a guarantee to secure a person from infliction of torture or death. Who then is powerful? No human being is powerful. Assuming state power could give the symbol of might but once it escapes one’s grip one must seek for mercy. Hence the politics of transition is meant to humble those who lost power and those who gain power for both will work together to fight injustice so that it would never again raise its ugly head.