Sunday, January 26, 2020

TRRC Wraps Up Experts’ Meeting

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By Momodou Jarju

The Truth Commission (TRRC) has wrapped up a two-day experts meeting organized by the Africa and West Asia Programme of International IDEA (AWA IDEA) in partnership with TRRC, the Ministry of Justice, and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The meeting, which was held from Monday-Tuesday, was being held within the framework of the technical assistance to the transitional justice and international reform process in The Gambia.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Dr. Maurice Engueleguele, senior programme officer international IDEA, said at the end of the two days, the document looks better and calls for more work and consultation particularly with victims among others.

He said the experts meeting was a success and urged the TRRC to contact them if they need their assistance and or support.

“For international IDEA we are very proud to stay near the TRRC since its inception and I can assure you that with all the partners… we will continue to provide our technical assistance,” he said.

Mr. Julien Attakla-Aayinon, representative of the UNDP Transitional Justice Programme, said the meeting was satisfactory and it is an example of a partnership amid UN institutions and the TRRC.

“But at this particular time, it was really impressive the way that we worked together as a team, exchanging ideas, at the planning stage {and the} agenda everything looked together,” he said.

He said they are looking forward for more of this type of collaboration among partners.

“We look forward to have maybe a roadmap from the TRRC to continue the discussion and to ensure that we continue providing support to this process. I would say this is only the beginning, truth reparations is a journey.

“We are looking forward to other opportunities to interact to continue to work and to support also some of these activities including wide consultations with victims’ community throughout the country…and the experts also to fine tune the document,” he said.

With this, Mr. Julien hoped that The Gambia would become a success story and many countries would come to the country to learn reparations program.

Vice chairperson TRRC, Madam Adelaide Sosseh, said the past two days had been very productive and thanked all the participants from outside and within the country, whose inputs, she said, would ensure the Truth Commission finalizes the TRRC reparations regulations and implement its reparations in a fair and impartial manner.

She said the experts meeting has provided technical forum that has facilitated the inclusion of a reparations principles based on experiences of other countries, taking in to account the Gambian context.

“Even though a formula evaluation has not been undertaken, we can safely say that the full workshop objective has been realized. We have discussed comparative experiences from South Africa, Liberia, Togo, Morocco, and by extension Côte d’Ivoire and Rwanda. We have shared comparative experiences from Columbia as well as research from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” she said.

The draft reparations regulations has been reviewed and proposed, pages incorporated, she added.

She further said the expectations of the meeting have been achieved plus the reparations committee and the top executive of the TRRC have benefited from the exchanges and are ready to finalize the draft reparations regulations.

“There are other important follow up steps such as submitting it to the ministry of justice for adoption and thereafter hold a stakeholders’ workshop and disseminating the reparations regulations to the wider public to enhance ownership,” she noted.

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