TRRC: Essa Faal v. Spitting Cobra Sam Sarr!
Essa Faal is quoted (by The Standard) saying as follows:-
“Questions have been asked as to why the commission did not make the 30th Decemberattack a theme for investigations … 30th December … the attack was a crime and our mandate was not necessarily to investigate crimes but human rights violations and therefore we cannot really focus on 30th December attack just like we did not on the Farafenni attack or the Kartong attack.”
I can see that this line of thinking from Essa Faal, which is legitimate vis-a-vis the mandate of the TRRC, will infuriate Jammeh’s Lawyer Sam Sarr, who will no doubt be typing a 10,000-word bazooka-of-a-response to Essa at this very moment! Sam Sarr is quoted as follows (also by The Standard):-
“The TRRC they (the Victims Centre) are relying on to justify their existence and legitimacy is by my standard outrageously flawed and shouldn’t be used by any sane person as a barometer to judge my moral, political or intellectual obligations. Most of them to me behave and speak likequintessential hustlers who without this job have nothing to offer the poor Gambia”.
Sam, here is an introduction to my lesson on TRRCs world-wide for 16 year oldCitizenship pupils; as you can see, at an objective Global level, Essa Faal’s take is correct:-
What are Truth and Reconciliation Commissions?
- Define. Explain to the students that a truth commission or a truth and
reconciliation commission (TRC) is created to discover and reveal past wrongdoing by a government, in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past. TRCs allow victims of human rights violations to come forward and tell their stories.
The perpetrators of the violence may also provide testimony and are sometimes permitted to request amnesty from prosecution. A TRC public hearing provides a forum for people to tell their experiences during the conflict and allows people to reveal the truth, air their grievances, ask for forgiveness, andpromote reconciliation.
A TRC is not a court of law; appearing before it will not lead to imprisonment. Rather, a TRC is an independent committee that is in place to record abuses that occurred during a particular period of time as well as to promote healing for both victims and alleged perpetrators. While the goals of each TRC are different, they often seek to create a historical record, prevent repetition of the violations, address impunity, promote reconciliation and healing, and address the needs of victims.
TRCs will often conclude by making recommendations to the government regarding their findings. Ask the students if they can name any countries who have gone or are presently going through this process?
Finally, Yankuba Touray is not on trial due to the TRRC. Touray is on trial because enough evidence was put before the TRRC by witnesses to implicate him in a crime. The TRRC did not prosecute Touray; it is the Attorney General who prosecuted Touray. What the TRRC could have done, had Touray agreed to testify and apologise to victims, was ensure that his trial was stayed until after the TRRC produces its report.
I hope this helps, Sam Sarr. If you still don’t understand, I would have to ask the Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher next door to find a desk for you in her class.
Notting Hill, London.