THE MANDATE OF THE TRUTH RECONCILIATION AND REPARATION COMMISSION.
The TRRC was established by an act of parliament to investigate and establish an impartial historical record of human right violations, but to also consider reparations for the victims of abuses, promote reconciliation and promote non-reoccurrence.
ESTABLISHING AN IMPARTIAL HISTORICAL RECORD OF HUMAN RIGHT ABUSES FROM JULY 1994-JAN 2017
The main task of the TRRC is to establish an impartial historical record of human right abuses (such as killings, disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, false HIV treatment program, Witchcraft accusation and persecutions against some communities) from July 1994 to January 2017. In doing this, the commission may gather by means it deems appropriate, any information it considers relevant, including the ability to request reports, records, documents or any information from any source, including governmental authorities, and to compel the production of such information as and when necessary. The commission may also visit any establishment or place without giving prior notice, for any purpose which is relevant to the fulfillment of the commission’s mandate. It is also mandated to interview any individual, group, members of organizations and institutions at the discretion of the commission to conduct such interviews in private.
PROMOTE HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
The will also pursue the promotion of healing and reconciliation by engaging in programs and activities that shall encourage self-healing, forgiveness as well as community and national dialogue and peace-building. Through its reconciliation Unit and reconciliation committee, the TRRC has identified different levels to the reconciliation process. Firstly, a need to help victims deal with their personal self-healing after their ordeals is deemed necessary. Secondly, the TRRC will facilitate individual reconciliation for victims and perpetrators where perpetrators have admitted to having committed human right abuses and are willing and ready to apologies to victims (who have also accepted this request from the perpetrator). Reconciliation will also focus on peacebuilding within communities that are divided over certain issues in order to reintegrate everyone in the community and help sow the seed of unity, mutual respect, tolerance and love. Finally, the ultimate of the reconciliation process is to promote national healing and reconciliation. Having both victims and perpetrators living alongside each other will invariably cause tensions and the TRRC thus aims to encourage Gambians to focus on our commonalities going forward and cast aside differences that will create tension and animosity. The TRRC will promote interest in the “common good” above ethnic and other affiliations so that we may all live in unity freedom and peace each day.
CONSIDER REPARATIONS FOR VICTIMS
Upon consideration of evidence received or obtained, where the TRRC is convinced that a person has been the victim of human rights violations, considerations will be made for the granting of reparation in an endeavor to restore the human and civil dignity of the victim. However, reparations can also be given in the for of urgent interim measures where for example victims or witnesses are in dire need of help e.g. medical support. The TRRC has already had the Ministry of Health set up a medical Board to assess victims and report on what their needs are, so that necessary steps can be taken to facilitate their treatment. Reconciliation can be in many other formats too, e.g. rehabilitation, restitution, memorialization and compensation.
PROMOTE NON-REOCCURENCE AND ‘’NEVER AGAIN’’
The TRRC also has as part of its mandate, the promotion of non-reoccurrence of the human rights violations. Alongside the truth seeking process which is achieved through the hearings, as well as the consideration of granting of reparations, the TRRC will undertake community outreach and engagement activities all of which aim to enable the nation to learn the lessons from the past and ensure mechanisms are put in place to make sure they don’t happen again. This objective will be further bolstered by the recommendations that will be included in the final report to be submitted by the TRRC at the end of its mandate. This role of the TRRC to promote non-reoccurrence (Never Again) is what will tie its work into the broader transitional justice objectives of the Gambia.