Government says it is studying the request by Human Rights Watch and Trail International to ask for the extradition, and trial of former Gambian leader, Yahaya Jammeh, in Ghana.
According to government, it has been informed that Human Rights Watch, in collaboration with Trial International, led by one Reed Brody, an American Lawyer, has come across fresh evidence which implicates the former Gambian Leader in the killing of the 44 Ghanaians around July 2005.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid in a statement to the press.
Reed Brody is renowned for the role he played as advocate for the victims of former Chadian leader Hisséne Habré, who was convicted of crimes against humanity, torture, sexual slavery, and sentenced to life on 30 May 2016, by the Extraordinary African Chambers within the Courts of Senegal.
“This request has both legal and international diplomatic implications. The government has therefore tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General’s Department to study the request and explore the full extent of its legal and diplomatic implications and advise the government on the way forward for this request,” Dr Hamid said.
He added that the people of Ghana would be informed on government decision as soon as it receives the reports from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Attorney-General’s Department.
“Meantime, government wishes to assure the Ghanaian people, that it remains committed to the protecting the interest of every Ghanaian. Government therefore wishes to call on the families of those who lost their lives and the Ghanaian population, to exercise restraint as it seeks good counsel on this matter,” the Information Minister stated.
It can be recalled that a powerful campaign dubbed ‘Jammeh2JusticeGhana’ was launched in Accra some weeks ago, calling for prosecution of former Gambian leader.
The campaigners avowed that bringing Mr Jammeh to trial in Ghana would be only a first step to ensure that the former Gambian strongman did not escape the wings of justice.
Chairman of the event, Emile Short, former Chairperson of the Ghana Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and former ad litem Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, highlighted the jurisdiction options available for Ghana to prosecute Jammeh.
“Given the evidence that has been compiled, and the gravity of the offences which have been demonstrated by those who have testified to it, I think that a momentum can be gathered to ensure international support for a request for extradition of Yahya Jammeh to Ghana to face trial,” he said.
In fact, the collective effort to seek justice for the Ghanaian victims started as far back as in 2007, when Africa Legal Aid, and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Africa Office, established the Gambia Task Force. Other Ghana based groups and individuals later joined the campaign.