By Kebba Secka
The Executive Secretary of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, disclosed that the TRRC was not set to witch-hunt or prosecute any alleged perpetrator(s), but can make recommendation for prosecution against those believed to have committed such crime(s). “We are not witch hunters of perpetrators including the alleged Chief perpetrator, Yaya Jammeh. We are independent investigators and we are free from external influence. We do not prosecute but can make recommendation for prosecution,” said Jallow.
Describing the components of the TRRC and how they will operate, Dr. Jallow said they have a Secretariat and a Commission; that each section operates within their mandate. He said the Commission section of the TRRC, comprises different committees such as the Child Protection and the Human Rights Committees, to name a few; that the Secretariat comprises of different units such as statements takers unit, victim support coordination unit, and the women and youth network coordination and communication outreach unit, which is meant to reach out to the public to facilitate their understanding and cooperation with the TRRC. He expressed the hope that the mandate of the TRRC will be extended considering the time frame given to the institution against matters to be heard.
On earning the trust of the public on the work of the TRRC, Dr. Jallow said: “There are forty Truth Commissions around the globe and we have learned from the successes of some of them,” he explained. Reacting on whether all hearings would be heard in public, Dr. Jallow said: “Not all hearings would be done in public.” He cited that some testimonies that may have to do with juveniles, women or in situations where it is not deem fit to be heard in public, will be heard in camera. Dr. Jallow informed the public that TRRC does not assure monetary compensation to victims adding: “Even if the need arises, what they can do is to recommend to Government.”
On Reparation, the TRRC Executive Secretary said they have started reparations when they have not even started hearing testimonies. According to him, they have started sponsoring student victims of human right violations and have urged the Ministry of Health to institute a Medical Board to enable victims secure either overseas or local treatment. “The TRRC Act has mandated us to provide preparation at any point in time, provided there is funding,” he said. According to him, some of the reparation for the victims need less cost and this is affordable.