ESSA FAAL v. AHMAD GITTEH: BATTLE OVER THE TRRC!
As a general rule, the Law and lawyers are concerned to establish CLARITY so that a court can decide where the TRUTH lies; Politicians, on the other hand, thrive in the fog of CONFUSION – to convince their “militants” and talibehs that the truth lies with them. Our erstwhile much-admired Lead Counsel Essa Faal, whose praises I have written here many times over the last two years, has now become a politician. He has given up the search for clarity and seems to speak more and more in the language of politicians: the truth, it seems, lies solely with him!
ESSA FAAL has publicly stated as follows in his 3-minute video below:-
“I do not hold brief for the TRRC … The TRRC should answer for itself”.
This is a brutal statement of abandonment! I can’t believe Essa would be so cruel, after Miss TRRC has given him all the fame that he is now using to pursue Miss Pressi. Let us be clear: no one would know Essa Faal if he had never been the TRRC Lead Counsel – that is an incontrovertible truth! Readers of Freedom, JollofNews and Maafanta will recall that I wrote extensively on the Uhuru & Ruto trial at the ICC: and I had never heard of Essa Faal, who was apparently Ruto’s Counsel, until Essa became TRRC Lead Counsel. Repeat: I had never heard of Essa Faal defending Ruto, nor Essa Faal defending Charles Taylor, nor Essa Faal defending Gadaffy, nor Essa Faal being in East Timor with Gambia’s own OJ Jallow – until Essa Faal became TRRC Lead Counsel. The TRRC made Essa the household name in The Gambia that he is today. Essa Faal was/is the face of the TRRC … yesterday, today and forever.
“Essa Faal Desroyed The TRRC!” says NPP’s ‘Commando’ Ahmad Gitteh!
In the Ahmad Gitteh video below, Essa Faal is accused of “destroying the TRRC”! That conclusion is very premature, but there is no doubt that Essa Faal’s foray into politics has politicised the TRRC. When someone asked Essa Faal “where were you during the struggle to remove Jammeh”, Essa replied that he was very active in the back ground, supporting and even funding the UDP’s gallant struggle against Jammeh’s dictatorship – and that is very admirable, but it brings the impartiality of the TRRC into question IF the Lead Counsel was a supporter and funder of Jammeh’s main victims, Lawyer Darboe’s UDP. Of course my good friend Baba Galleh-Jallow, the Chief Executive of the TRRC and proprietor of the much oppressed and finally burnt down Independent Newspaper, was also a victim of Yahya Jammeh and in exile in USA for over a decade. The Chief Investigator of the TRRC, a Gambian US soldier, was part of the 2014 attempted coup against Jammeh and was convicted in the USA for his part in that coup attempt. Above all, Lawyer Darboe’s relative/childhood friend from their native Bansang was appointed Chairman of the TRRC Commission (with none of the other nine Commissioners being a member of Yahya Jammeh’s minority Jola tribe). Now, I have written on Freedomnewspaper many times that Essa Faal and the TRRC did a GOOD JOB and defended the TRRC against attacks from APRC’s Samsudeen Sarr and UDP ‘Commando’ Momodou Sabally. But if a court of law were to have this evidence of the composition of the TRRC before it, the TRRC would fail the legal “appearance of bias” test.
Now, “appearance of bias” is VITAL for any TRRC’s work post-dictatorship. That is why Tony Blair RUSHED to advice President Barrow in 2017: because Blair and Bush screwed-up Iraq by condemning and hanging Saddam Hussein before a Kangaroo Court – which led to the brutal Islamic State rebellion.It is vitally important that the work of The Gambia’s TRRC is NOT seen as being biased and directed against any section of the Gambian community.
Essa Faal Was/Is The TRRC!
Essa Faal WAS the TRRC – and became a Presidential Candidate ON THE BASIS OF HIS WORK AT THE TRRC! I thought his best case for abandoning the TRRC before the Report is completed would have been to say: “I am sorry that I had to leave the TRRC before its Report was completed, but for the Victims and The Gambia, I thought it was more important for me to seek the Presidency – so that I can ensure “Justice” for the Victims“. That would have been the truthful and honest answer too. But it beggars believe for Essa Faal to now say “I do not hold brief for the TRRC”! Sorry, Essa! The TRRC is your baby. It walks like you, it talks like you and it looks like you! Own it, because you held “brief” for the TRRC from the 1st Day the Hearings began with the testimony of Ebrima Chongan, through to the last day of the Hearings when Essa Faal made that extraordinary concluding speech, to today when Essa Faal is campaigning for the Presidency based solely on his work at the TRRC and his determination “to give the victims JUSTICE”.
By the way, TRRCs are was never about “justice”!
TRRC, as the name suggests, is about TRUTH, RECONCILIATION & REPARATIONS. “Justice”, which Essa Faal emphasises in this video at the Victim Centre, was not and is not the TRRC’s aim. (“Justice” in the sense of criminals being brought to court and tried is a matter for the ordinary law and the courts – not the TRRC. That is why we have Yankuba Touray and the NiA 9 being tried in the criminal courts). The TRRC’s job is first and foremost to ESTABLISH THE TRUTH and then, on the basis of the TRUTH, RECONCILE the Nation and, finally, ensure REPARATIONS which simply means COMPENSATION for wrongs suffered. Whether in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Kenya or The Gambia, that is the remit and limit of TRRC’s.
“Justice and accountability” are matters for the ordinary laws of the country – not the TRRC. Furthermore, “justice” is not about the generalities and hypotheticals we saw so much of at the TRRC. “Justice” is about the facts of a particular case, facts that have to be established “beyond a reasonable doubt”. For that, “justice” will require a full and fair hearing before a court of law where facts must be establish using fair procedures and processes under the “Rule of Law” principles … where, unlike the TRRC, the accused will, nay MUST, be allowed legal representation. I would disagree with Ahmad Gitteh and say that Essa Faal’s sin is not in “destroying the TRRC”, Essa Faal’s sin is in making the TRRC appear to be what it was not for Essa’s own political purposes: a vehicle for establishing TRUTH in an effort to lead to RECONCILIATION and REPARATIONS has been turned into a “Justice” Gele Gele for Essa’s Presidential campaign.
Sadness – After TWO Years of Admiring Essa at the TRRC
One can only be saddened by the level to which Essa Faal has descended in his campaign for the Presidency. He becomes truly political when he says in this three minute video: “It is the NPP who have been putting out all this nonsense about me abandoning the TRRC”! Sure, Ahmad Gitteh is NPP, but he is not completely devoid of truth just because he is from another political party! Or to put it another way, it is not only a politician you support that has all the truth on his side! What’s more, Musa Jeng of “For The People By The People”, who asked the same questions that Ahmad Gitteh asks, is NOT a member of the NPP by any stretch of the imagination! And neither is Dida Halake! We can’t just “cancel” everyone, as Essa Faal and the UDP are doing with Fatunetwork, because journalists are asking difficult questions: REAL journalists ask DIFFICULT questions!
Essa Faal says “the TRRC should answer for itself”! Answer what for itself? The fact that the TRRC has missed TWO deadlines to deliver its Report to the President? Unfortunately, many would blame Mr. TRRC himself Essa Faal for abandoning ship before the Report was completed as I argued below in the Freedomnewspaper story entitled CAPT. ESSA FAAL SHOULD BE COURT-MARTIALLED – FOR LEAVING ‘HMS TRRC’ TO FLOUNDER! But Mr. Essa Faal, being a defence lawyer, cites in his defence a “Thank You Letter For A Job Well Done” from the same government he now condemns in this video for planning to ditch the TRRC Report … a Report that has not seen the light of day BECAUSE Capt. Essa Faal abandoned ship BEFORE “the job was done”! But, if the Barrow government is as dastardly as Essa Faal says in this video, it begs the question: Is the letter from Barrow’s Attorney General praising Essa Faal worth the paper it is written on? Essa can’t have it both ways! One could argue that at best the Attorney General’s letter of praise for Essa Faal was premature – because Essa’s absence has resulted in the TRRC ship floundering on the high seas (Ahmad Gitteh claims, prematurely, that the TRRC ship has already sank – thanks to Essa!).
Essa’s 3-minute video is here:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoPw-6StIbE&ab_channel=DidaHalake
Essa’s in-law Ahmad Gitteh is outraged that Essa Faal has treated his sister so shabbily: “You destroyed Miss TRRC’s reputation!” charges Gitteh.
Gitteh’s 7-minute video response is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ8kp_wON7Q&ab_channel=DidaHalake
Notting Hill, Lodnon.
CAPT. ESSA FAAL SHOULD BE COURT-MARTIALLED – FOR LEAVING ‘HMS TRRC’ TO FLOUNDER!October 5, 2021
I use the phrase “court-martialled” in jest, but I am surprised to learn that Essa felt “disrespected” by Musa Jeng of “For The People, By The People” show raising the question of whether Essa should not have waited until the TRRC Report had been completed before “jumping ship”. Musa Jeng’s is a highly legitimate question, more so in the circumstances where the TRRC (without its Captain Essa Faal) has failed TWICE to present its report to President Barrow.
Essa Was The Life-Blood Of The TRRC!
Essa was not just the Lead Counsel. To many people Essa was the TRRC itself … and Essa’s extraordinary, powerful and well-received Final Speech on the last day of the TRRC Hearings is evidence of that. In that speech Essa actually set out the conclusion of the TRRC as far as Yahya Jammeh was concerned: Essa meticulously set out the TRRC case for the ICC to charge Jammeh. By contrast, Lead Counsel Bensouda never took such a high profile position in the Janneh Commission – and she certainly did not make such a “concluding speech” on the last day of her Commission’s hearing.
Is It Any Wonder That The TRRC Is Struggling Without Essa?
I would not be surprised if the twice-delay of the TRRC Report is due to Essa’s absence. Nobody, not even the Commission Chairman or any of the other TRRC lawyers, would have the ability to complete the TRRC Report as Essa Faal would have done. I mean nobody. Essa was the most experience, the most educated, and the most able individual at the TRRC Commission. No doubt about that. Essa was also the single individual with a full 360 degree view of “the field of battle”: Essa was the Field Marshall of the TRRC!
The Field Marshall Essa Faal left his post before the battle was over!
As things are, we don’t know whether the TRRC Commission will be presented to President Barrow soon, or whether a third extention to complete the Report is needed. Further, we don’t know what the Report would amount to without the input and guidance of Essa Faal … how much the Report would suffer without Essa Faal is anyone’s guess.
Thus, Musa Jeng is fully entitled to ask whether that was wise.
Ahmad Gitteh attacks Essa Faal, says he saw him as man with ulterior motive from the start
Fatunetwork, OCTOBER 13, 2021
Prominent NPP member Ahmad Gitteh has stuck the knife into Essa Faal saying the former TRRC lead counsel had an ulterior motive from the beginning.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Fatu Network, the sharp-tongued Gitteh went after Mr Faal over his visit to the victim centre.
Gitteh said: “Essa is the number one spoiler of this TRRC. Because the fact that Essa Faal paraded himself as the lead counsel, a man that is supposed to be neutral between victims and perpetrators, Essa’s stance, Essa’s personality is very critical in what happens when it comes to the outcome of this TRRC.
“Now I as a supporter of President Adama Barrow, I am seeing Essa as a man with an ulterior motive from the beginning. He has used it as a political platform and in fact treating certain individuals in some very terrible way.
“Before Essa came out, I am one person who never met Essa Faal and I am one person that was very careful. I told this to someone that will be watching me. [That] I am not comfortable with the way Essa Faal is conducting this TRRC. Essa insulted Imam Fatty here. Essa has disrespected religious scholars here, Essa has disrespected certain members…
“We have some lawyers here who went to the TRRC, that helped Jammeh a great deal. The way Essa treated them… Some of them, he did not even want to be at the panel. The Essa we know would always go for the big fishes. Any time there is a critical person, any time there is an important person who played a huge, Essa would be the one to take the seat.
“We had a former justice minister here, Essa was no where to be seen. We had a very very powerful person here who helped, drafted six decrees and gave some very powerful guidance to the junta, Yahya Jammeh and his men. Where was Essa? He ran away to Dakar. For the fact he has declared his intention [to run], I said ‘Essa, you have destroyed this TRRC. And it’s a big big issue.
“Essa Faal defended war criminals, so if Essa Faal is talking about morality. You have defended people who when you combine have killed almost a million innocent souls. That’s not a problem in morality. You’re coming here and bragging about Yahya Jammeh facing justice?”