TRRC chairman: We have no choice but to order Yankuba Touray’s arrest
By Sainey Darboe:
The chairman of Gambia Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Lamin Sise, has conceded that they were left with no choice but to issue order for arrest of former army Junta member Yankuba Touray for refusal to testify before the commission.
Addressing a packed conference room following an hour of drama between commission and Yankuba Touray, chairman Sise rationalized the thrust of their ultimate move:
“The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission has issued multiple subpoenas to Mr Yankuba Touray to appear before the commission to testify as a person adversely mentioned for his involvement in human rights violations between 1994 and 1996.All those subpoenas were postponed and the last subpoena was issued on the 24th day of June 2019 for his appearance and testimony before the commission today.
“During a meeting this morning between Mr Touray, the chairman and the commission’s staff members, Mr Touray indicated his refusal to honour the subpoena. He is presently within the premises of of the TRRC but as just been seen, he has clearly refused to appear and testify before the commission pursuant to the subpoena”.
Mr. Sise indicated that Yankuba Touray’s grasp of protections afforded him by Gambian law are fundamentally flawed, adding that even if they were not,he had an obligation to appear and testify under oath before the commission tasked with investigating human rights violations committed under Jammeh from 1994 until his defenestration in 2016.
“Mr Yankuba Touray claims that he has immunity from prosecution for all human rights violations that occurred between 1994 and 1997. It must be noted however that even if this immunity claim were to be accepted which is not the case, he cannot lawfully refuse to appear before the commission and answer questions that do not directly violate the immunity he claims.
Mr Yankuba Touray has also been informed on several occasions that failure to respect a subpoena issued by the TRRC constitutes a contempt of court and is therefore liable to be referred to the high court for prosecution. In the light of this, the commission has to act firmly and within the parameters of the law to ensure that actions of this nature are dealt with with the full force of the law. I therefore have no choice but to order the immediate arrest of Mr Yankuba Touray pursuant to Section 15, 1(A) and 15, 2(B) of the TRRC Act of 2017.”