ECOWAS Parliament Rejects Draft Decision For Special Tribunal For Gambia

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has refused to adopt a draft decision on the establishment of a special tribunal for The Gambia, and the adoption of the tribunal’s statute under the watch of the ECOWAS.

The 6th parliament in a resolution marked: ECW/PARL/RES.004/JULY/2024, deliberated and reached the resolution to reject the draft decision on Friday in Abuja during the ongoing 2024 first ordinary session.

The joint committee on legal affairs and human rights, political affairs, peace, security and APRM, social affairs, gender and women empowerment of the Parliament had submitted a report on Thursday in which The Gambia had sought the collaboration of ECOWAS to set up a tribunal to try human rights abuses in the country.

The Resolution was that while The Gambia has the sovereign right to set up a tribunal to try past crimes, right abuses and atrocities perpetrated especially during the reign of former President Yahya Jammeh between 1994 and 2017, ECOWAS should not be part of the tribunal in the country.

After the resolution, the parliament requested the Speaker, Memounatou Ibrahima to transmit it to the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray for onward transmission to the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Yusuf Tuggar.

The Gambia established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) in 2017 to investigate and document human rights abuses committed in the country between July 1994 and January 2017. This covers the period Jammeh ruled the country when he allegedly committed atrocities against his own people and even other Africans.

The parliament explained in the resolution that the draft decision under consideration was not submitted to it within the time frame required by its Supplementary Act, therefore members did not have adequate time to thoroughly examine it.

The parliament noted that it was also mindful of Article 9 of the supplementary act relating to the enhancement of the powers of the parliament, which specifies areas in which it must be consulted in community texts adoption process.

Part of the resolution reads:

The ECOWAS Parliament “Deeply is concerned about peace and stability in West Africa, and about the impact that the establishment of the special tribunal for The Gambia under the leadership of ECOWAS could have on peace and security in The Gambia and the region.

The Parliament “Recognizes the right of The Gambia to establish a special tribunal for the purpose of prosecuting crimes, serious human rights violations committed on its territory between 22 July, 1994 and 21 January 2017, in order to fight against impunity, deliver justice to the victims and preserve respect for the rule of law in the country.

The Parliament therefore “overrules the idea of establishing the said special tribunal under the leadership of ECOWAS.”



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