ABOUT OUR WORK
How does the TRRC work?
The TRRC is mandated by the TRRC Act 2017 to carry out investigations into human rights violations, to help promote reconciliation, to deliver reparations to victims and to foster a unified and shared commitment amongst citizens that ‘Never Again’ will Gambians experience dictatorship and grave human rights violations.
Details on how we approach this work are found here;
HOW WE DO OUR WORK?
Taking statements from victims, perpetrators, witnesses and experts will be one of the main activities of TRRC work and the primary source of investigative materials. Statement taking will be conducted in local languages at commission headquarters or at regional offices, and by a team of mobile statement-takers. The TRRC approach to taking victim, witness and perpetrator statements will be carefully adapted to local considerations to ensure the process does not negatively disrupt communities or accidently expose cause undue harm to victims.
A national reparations program will be informed by TRRC investigations and community outreach. The reparations program will be based on broad consultations with the victims’ community, civil society and experts. In many cases, reparations will take a symbolic and community-based form such as assistance with medical needs, educational opportunities, memorialization and community services rather than cash sums. To the fullest extent possible, TRRC will help ensure the Gambian government makes these reparations available to victims and their close relatives in a timely, equitable and consultative manner.
Investigators will gather evidence, verify testimony and conduct detailed investigations into selected cases. In other instance, the goal of investigations is to understand and establish wider patterns, causes and consequences of human rights violations. The TRRC may conduct research on thematic topics such as underlying causes of conflict, economic and social impacts of the dictatorship, women’s experiences and issues affecting children and youth. Investigations will be the basis for commission findings and recommendations of the TRRC as well as the basis for recommending prosecutions and amnesties.
Supporting reconciliation between individuals and at a national level is a long-term goal of the TRRC. Achieving reconciliation is a long process that will be led by Gambian citizens. Reconciliation cannot be imposed on the anyone and it cannot be premised on insisting victims forgive those who wronged them. What reconciliation means to Gambians and how it will be reached cannot be decided on behalf of victims nor of the country at large. It is a road we must walk together. TRRC will work with communities to support community reconciliation, memorialization, local memory and dialogue initiatives according to the expressed wishes of the community itself. The commission will seek assistance of traditional and religious leaders to facilitate reconciliation and healing.
reporting & recommendations
At the end of its work, the TRRC will present the President will a report detailing its operations, findings and recommendations. The recommendations of the TRRC will be the result of thorough, objective and methodological research and investigations. This report will include recommendations regarding prosecutions and amnesties, institutional and judicial reforms, memorialization and civic education programs. Such recommendations also aim to prevent perpetrators of gross human rights violations from staying within the public service or holding important public office. The recommendations may also include the establishment of institutions to build upon and implement important aspects of the truth commission findings after the commission itself is dissolved.
recommending amnesties and prosecutions
Prosecutions of persons who bear the greatest responsibility for human rights violations is a goal linked to the TRRC mandate. The TRRC will be responsible for evaluating perpetrator testimony and recommending prosecutions or amnesty based on accounts of victims, perpetrators and witnesses as well as thorough investigations into these cases. The TRRC may recommend amnesty to a person making a full disclosure of his or her involvement in human rights violations or abuses. Amnesty will only be applied in consultation with victims of the applicant’s crimes and cannot be applied to grave violations of human rights such as torture, forced disappearance or severe acts of sexual violence.