A call has been made for the extradition of former President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to be tried for murder.
“We need the governments of Ghana and Gambia to work towards extraditing Jammeh for trial. The Coordinator of the Jammeh 2 Justice ghana Campaign, and Executive Director, Africa Center for International Law and Accountability, William Nyarko, said this in Accra at a conference dubbed, “Bringing Yahya Jammeh to Justice for the Deaths and Enforced Disappearance of approximately 44 Ghanaians Migrants in the Gambia.”
He observed that whilst former President Jammeh had some protection from the Gambian constitution in the form of an immunity clause, “there is no perpetual immunity from prosecution for crime.”
Mr. Nyarko said whilst the former Gambian President could be tried in Gambia, he still wielded some measure of influence over there, considering the fact that he had been president for over two decades and had only recently been voted out of office.
He said this made Ghana the ideal place for Mr. Jammeh to be extradited to and tried, especially considering the fact that an estimated number of 44 Ghanaians were among the victims.
Mr. Nyarko noted that whilst there appeared to be a few obstacles in the way of Jammeh’s trial quest, such as authorities in Equatorial Guinea’s unwillingness to lend in to Mr. Jammeh’s extradition, those seeming obstacles could be dealt with if a more concerted effort was made by all stakeholders.
He said other African countries whose nationals fell victim to the situation for example could come together and make a strong case for justice to prevail, and that would impact strongly on making a case for Mr. Jammeh’s prosecution.
Mr. Nyarko said the former Gambian president could be tried for murder, torture and forced disappearance, because by the final findings and report on the incident, the killings were absolutely illegal.
A former Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Justice Emile Short, chaired the program and said for concrete results to be achieved towards putting Mr. Jammeh on trial, the concerted efforts of stakeholders such as Civil Society Organisations and the media would be needed.
He said pressure from the governments of the affected African countries was also most needed, and urged the government to reach out to the families of the victims.
According to Human Rights Watch and Trial International, a para-military unit, controlled by then Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, summarily executed more than fifty Ghanaian, Nigerian and other West African migrants, in July, 2005.
Witnesses said the migrants, including some 44 Ghanaians, were arrested in July 2005, and taken to the naval Head Quarters in Banjul, the capital of Gambia.
Gambian security officials then divided the migrants into groups, and turned them over to the junglers, an armed unit directly connected to then President Jammeh, who summarily executed the migrants near Banjul and along the Senegal-Gambia border.
Mr. Jammeh is currently in exile in Equatorial Guinea, after ruling Gambia for twenty two years.